Famous Harpy Eagle, 'Ancon,' Returns to Panama
22 October 2001Espanol
After a ten-year absence, the famous Harpy Eagle, "Ancon," makes a triumphant return to Panama. "Ancon," and other Harpy Eagles helped scientists at The Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey develop captive breeding techniques for the endangered species. "Ancon" and nine other Harpy Eagles will form the core breeding stock at the new Neotropical Raptor Center in the City of Knowledge.
"Ancon" hatched in the wild in1985 and was loaned to The Peregrine Fund by the Government of Panama in 1991. For the past ten years, "Ancon" and his mate, "Olafa," have been the most productive pair of captive Harpy Eagles in captivity. They are responsible for eight of the 15 young that hatched during that period.
"The Government of Panama entrusted us with "Ancon" and I am very pleased that we can fulfill our promise and return him to the people of Panama," stated Dr. Bill Burnham, President of The Peregrine Fund. "After a ten-year absence, it is appropriate that "Ancon" is one of the first eagles at the Neotropical Raptor Center. Since many of the world's endangered raptors exist in the Neotropics, "Ancon" and the Neotropical Raptor Center offer hope for what can be accomplished for conservation," finished Burnham.
Once completed, the Neotropical Raptor Center (NRC) will serve as the Latin American headquarters for The Peregrine Fund. The center is located in the City of Knowledge, formerly Fort Clayton, on 40 hectares of land controlled by the Panama Canal Authority and ANAM. The land adjoins Camino de Cruces National Park and Metropolitano National Park. The extended forests adjacent to the center's land are excellent for long-term studies and the reintroduction of raptors.
Breeding facilities for Harpy Eagles and Orange-breasted Falcons and a large food production building have been constructed at the NRC. In addition, a laboratory is scheduled for construction later this year. Other improvements are being contemplated for the future.
The Harpy Eagle is considered by many to be one of the most powerful eagles in the world. The species is one of the first to be extirpated from altered habitats. It used to range from southern Mexico to southern South America but has been extirpated from much of the northern part of its range. The Harpy Eagle is a flagship for the conservation of life's diversity in the lowland rainforests of Latin America. Many consider the Harpy Eagle to be Panama's national bird.
The Peregrine Fund initiated the Harpy Eagle Conservation Program in 1989. It is a concerted effort to conserve the Harpy Eagle through reintroduction of captive raised young and by understanding the species in its habitat.
The Peregrine Fund was founded in 1970 at Cornell University in response to the catastrophic decline of the Peregrine Falcon throughout much of North America. The successful effort to save this species resulted in breakthroughs in endangered species research. The Peregrine Fund has cooperated on projects in more than 40 countries on six continents. In addition to the Peregrine Falcon and Harpy Eagle, these projects include work with the California Condor, Philippine Eagle, Aplomado Falcon, Mauritius Kestrel, Orange-breasted Falcon, Gyrfalcon, and other species. The Peregrine Fund's work focuses on conserving species, preserving endangered environments (e.g. forests, wetlands, etc.), and improving local people's conservation ability.