Angel Muela— 17 February 2003 — in Harpy Eagle Conservation and Research Share
With so many chicks we faced new challenges. We had to speed up our plans to release these birds and also find the biologists that could monitor the birds once they were released.
With the help of the National Environment Authority of Panama (ANAM) we established a release site in Soberania National Park, close to the Panama Canal Watershed. We constructed two hack boxes, which are modified chambers that will allow the birds to get used to their new environment while at the same time allowing biologists to monitor and feed them without being seen. At fledging age, which is about six months of age, and after just a few weeks in the hack boxes, the eagles are set free and they begin to explore their surroundings, always returning to the hack box to feed.
We will continue releasing young, naive birds in Soberania, where it is “relatively easy” for our biologists to keep track of them. Once the eagles start hunting and become independent of our care, they will be trans-located to more remote areas where daily monitoring will not be necessary and where their chances of surviving to breeding age will be greater.
Our long-term plan is to continue the releases throughout the Harpy’s former range in Central America. Our team visited Belize in December 2002, and we now have the support and enthusiasm of government and non-government groups and individuals in that country and plan to start releases there in the near future. We are aiming at moving the first eagles to Belize at the end of March.
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