The very rare Harpy Eagle took a step toward recovery with the successful hatching of an egg at The Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho. The egg hatched Sunday evening at approximately 6:30pm. It is the fourth Harpy Eagle to hatch in captivity in North America and survive. Two have hatched at the World Center for Birds of Prey and two at the San Diego Zoo.
"This young Harpy Eagle is the result of a program The Peregrine Fund initiated in 1989 with the arrival of the first four Harpy Eagles at the World Center," stated Dr. William Burnham, President of The Peregrine Fund. "Since the species is so rare, very little is known about their biology. With our field work on the species in South & Central America and our successful breeding, there is a significant opportunity to document and develop some of the information necessary to conserve the species," finished Burnham.
The young Harpy Eagle hatched 31 March after a 54-day incubation period. It is being kept in climatically controlled brooder at the World Center. It is being fed five times a day with a puppet. The parents of the Harpy Eagle are from Panama (male) and Ecuador (female) and were loaned to The Peregrine Fund by the respective government agencies INRENARE in Panama and INEFAN in Ecuador.
The Harpy Eagle is a flagship for the conservation of life's diversity in the lowland rainforests of Latin America. It is one of the first species to be extirpated from altered habitats. As one of the least known species of large predators, there is considerable interest in its role in conserving the ecosystem.
The Peregrine Fund's Harpy Eagle Conservation Program is a two-pronged effort to conserve the Harpy Eagle. The species is being captively bred at the World Center for Birds of Prey with five pairs of unreleasable eagles. Progeny will be used to build the breeding stock or for release in areas where the species is gone but suitable habitat remains. In addition, field work in Venezuela and Panama is yielding important data on the species' in the wild. Eleven nests in Panama and 20 nests in Venezuela are currently being studied. With assistance from NASA, satellite transmitters and radios have been attached to eleven young birds and are being tracked by ARGOS satellites. This information will be used to determine how much area they need to survive.
Public viewing opportunities are available through a video hookup at the Velma Morrison Interpretive Center from 10:00am to 11:00am and 2:00pm to 3:00pm. In addition, the other three Harpy Eagles which hatched in captivity can be seen at the Velma Morrison Interpretive Center. After April 17, updated photos of the young Harpy Eagle will be placed on The Peregrine Fund's Internet pages (http://www.peregrinefund.org).
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 efforts to save this species resulted in breakthroughs in the field of endangered species recovery. In addition to the Peregrine Falcon and Harpy Eagle, The Peregrine Fund is involved with conservation projects around the world with species such as the California Condor, Philippine Eagle, Aplomado Falcon, the Mauritius Kestrel, Madagascar Fish-Eagle, Orange- breasted Falcon, `Alala or Hawaiian Crow and Hawaiian forest songbirds, and other species. In addition, The Peregrine Fund has numerous other programs around the world that focus on preserving endangered environments (e.g. forests, wetlands, etc.) and improving local people's conservation ability.
For more information, contact:
Director of Global Engagement