Alan Monroy-Ojeda searching for Harpy Eagles in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in Chiapas, Mexico. Photo by Edi Colocho Gómez.
Alan Monroy-Ojeda of Dimensión Natural S.C. and Natura y Ecosistemas Mexicanos A.C. has received an award of US$1000 to support his project, “In search of the last Harpy Eagles of Mexico: conserving the largest canopy predator in the Neotropics.” One of the heaviest and most powerful raptors in the world, the Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) inhabits the canopy of Neotropical rainforests from southern Mexico to northeastern Argentina. Sadly, deforestation and other human impacts have decimated Harpy Eagle populations during the last century. An apex predator, the Harpy Eagle is rare and has a low reproductive rate, generally breeding every 2– 3 years and producing only one offspring per nesting effort. Within the limits of its range, especially in southern Mexico and Northern Central America, populations have been drastically reduced by overhunting and forest fragmentation.
A juvenile Harpy Eagle looks out from the height of its nest. Photo by Alan Monroy-Ojeda.
Currently, Mexican law recognizes the Harpy Eagle as endangered, and many have feared this species had completely disappeared from Mexico. However, in 2011, a photo of an adult Harpy Eagle taken by an indigenous field guide in Mexico triggered a new search to locate the species and to understand its population status of the species in the country. Since 2016, Alan has led search and conservation efforts for this species, documenting new records and generating hope that a viable population persists and will benefit from protection. Through this Partnership Grant, IBCP will support Alan’s research and conservation efforts for the Harpy Eagle in Mexico, and specifically the development of a nest distribution model to locate the remaining nests in the country to enable conservation efforts in key breeding areas.
Lacandon Tropical Rain Forest in southern Mexico is one of the last places where Harpy Eagles still roam in North America. Photo by Silvano López Gómez.