Peru releases condors with satellite trackers

For the first time in Peru, scientists have implanted tracking devices in a pair of Andean condors to be released back into the wild, according Jessica Galvez, director of Wildlife Sustainable Management at the National Forestry Service, or Serfor.

condor-peru2The birds, ages 35 and 40, were released recently in San Antonio de Chaclla, in the Andean highlands near Lima, where mountains rise more than 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) above sea level.

Dubbed Huascar and Atahualpa and each weighing about 11 kilos (24.2 pounds), the birds were found with symptoms of poisoning in March 2013 near San Mateo de Huanchor, also in the Lima highlands.

While the birds recovered at a condor nursery, experts implanted the devices that will allow them to tracked via satellite.

The homing beacons were donated by the U.S.-based Peregrine Fund.

Thanks to the tracking system, Galvez said, Peruvian scientists will be able “for the first time to learn about the resting areas, nutrition and nesting of a species threatened with extinction.”

The most recent data indicates the condors remain in the highlands near Lima and are behaving normally.

Until now, Peru lacked sufficient knowledge about condors in their natural habitat to determine whether birds released in the past survived, Galvez said.

Galvez urged the local population “to be aware of the importance of protecting” condors.

“People in the region kill condors because they usually believe they are birds of prey that might snatch their cattle, but in reality condors are carrion birds, they feed on dead animals,” she said.

Serfor plans to conduct in 2016 a census of the Andean condor population in Peru, which is currently estimated at between 600 and 2,500 birds.

Andean condors can be found also in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia and Venezuela.

Their continued survival is threatened by poaching, poisoning and degradation of the habitat.

Sources | laprensasa.com | EFE

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