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Harpy Eagle reintroduction in Belize

Update 11 on the Harpy Eagle Restoration Program.

August 2008

From: Sharon Matola, Belize Coordinator

A male Harpy Eagle, three years old, arrived to Belize from Panama on Friday, 23 August. He was named “Thor” by a student entry from the eighth grade in Blue Creek, a school in the Mennonite community situated close to Rio Bravo Conservation Management Area, in northwestern Belize………(thank you, Clayton!!) Thor is the mythical god of thunder who protected people from evil things…

“Thor” was met by the wonderful Belize Defense Force at Belize International Airport. Having arrived from Panama on the morning TACA flight, he was saved from a strenuous road trip by the BDF Harpy Hero's…..

The Mayor of Blue Creek, Mr. Abe Froese, was there to greet “Thor”, and his escort from Panama, Edwin Campbell. Zoo Director and Belize Harpy Eagle Restoration Program Coordinator, Sharon Matola, her assistant, Claudia Duenas, and Claudia”s daughter, Arla, also were part of the Belize-escort team.

Eddie Romero, Executive Director of Programme for Belize, and his La Milpa staff member, Rudy, were there at the Blue Creek airstrip. They were careful “road escorts”…. driving “Thor” to his release site.

The flight cage was set down miles from human presence in the forests of Rio Bravo…. “.Thor” exited, stayed on the ground for a few minutes, and then flew to a high branch about 15 meters from his travel cage…..

He exhibited very instinctive behaviour, and it was obvious that he has had experience living wild…….

The Harpy Eagle support team observed him for about half an hour. Eight students from Blue Creek experienced the release along with their teacher, Julia Froese, After a bit of time, “Thor” was left alone, to begin his new life in the forests of the Selva Maya….

“Thor” will be tracked via radio telemetry. This was a positive and inspiring day. Thank you to all for making this release a successful event.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

  • The Belize Defence Force Airwing
  • Staff of Programme for Belize and La Milpa personnel/Rio Bravo
  • The Peregrine Fund
  • Belize Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Belize Agriculture and Health Authority, BAHA
  • The Community of Blue Creek
  • Environmental Educator, Anne Kok
  • The Belize Zoo Animal Management and Operations Staff

Any questions/comments, please feel welcome to contact BHERP Coordinator, Sharon Matola, matola@belizezoo.org

Back to main Harpy Eagle introduction page

Update 2 of October 2003

Update 3 of January 2004

Update 4 of July 2004

Update 5 of December 2004

Update 7 of December 2005

Update 9 of June 2007

Update 10 of October 2007

 

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