Birds of prey are shot on sight in many parts of the world, mostly as a result of misunderstanding and fear. People often believe birds of prey are a threat to their domestic animals, when in fact they can be beneficial. Occasionally, a radio or satellite transmitter has led field staff to homes with an endangered bird in the stewpot, especially in areas where poverty and unsustainable population growth create conflict.
Shooting affects all birds of prey but is especially harmful when it further reduces the numbers of rare and endangered species. Some of these vulnerable species include:
Our experience has shown that intensive education efforts can build pride and reduce persecution of endangered birds of prey.
In Panama, our staff visited classrooms and villages in areas close to Harpy Eagle habitat to explain the benefits of this forest raptor, launched a festival to celebrate the Harpy Eagle, and helped make it Panama’s national bird. In Dominican Republic, we partnered with the Hispanola Ornithological Society to develop an entertaining play that was performed in rural areas to explain that the Ridgway’s Hawk is a helpful predator of snakes and rodents, not chickens. In the Philippines, we support outreach and education efforts by the Philippine Eagle Foundation.
Such measures with local partners are crucial to preventing the shooting of birds of prey.