The very rare Harpy Eagle took another step toward recovery with the successful hatching of an egg at The Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho. This is one of five surviving Harpy Eagles to hatch in captivity in North America. Two of the others hatched at the World Center and two at the San Diego Zoo in 1995 and 1996.
"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 and 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 16 March 1997 after a 55-day incubation period. It is being kept in seclusion in a brooder at the World Center. 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 from these pairs will be 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. Eight nests in Panama and ten nests in Venezuela are currently being studied. Radio transmitters have been attached to seven young birds and are being tracked by NASA satellites. This information will be used in order to determine how much area they need to survive.
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 research. 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, 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.
Public viewing opportunities are available on video monitors at the Velma Morrison Interpretive Center.
For more information, contact:
Director of Global Engagement