Target: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services – Division of International Conservation (Latin America Branch)
Goal: Protect the Harpy Eagle, a critically endangered Amazonian bird
From a side profile, Harpy Eagles resemble powerful raptors with their sharp, narrow beaks and razor sharp talons. Females typically weigh up to 22 pounds while males weigh up to 11 pounds, and their wingspans have been reported to reach more than 7 feet in length.
These regal birds call Mexico, Central America and South America home but are most common in Brazil. In the rainforest, Harpy Eagles hunt in the canopies and perch on trees in search of prey but are known to hunt in semi-open forests and pastures as well. This rare bird has no natural predators, yet its population has rapidly declined to near extinction in Central America due to deforestation. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, fewer than 50,000 harpy eagles remain in the world and continue to decrease at an alarming rate due to habitat loss, hunters, and the species’ naturally slow reproduction rate. Harpy eagles usually only raise a single chick every 2-3 years and are monogamous. Their nests are destroyed in the process of clear cutting in their natural habitats.
Shootings by humans are also pushing the rare birds closer to the edges of the rain forests where they become more vulnerable. When the Peregrine Fund conducted a survey in Panama about Harpy Eagles, they discovered that the reasons for the shootings are mostly based on fear and curiosity. Some people were afraid of the birds attacking their families or livestock, while others simply wanted to see the bird up close. Although Harpy Eagles have been reported to attack domestic livestock, this behavior is extremely rare under normal circumstances, and they actually prefer to spend their time in the canopies of the rainforest.
Please sign this petition to help protect the remaining, dwindling population of Harpy Eagles.
Dear U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services – Division of International Conservation,
Harpy Eagles are a beloved and revered species that deserves to be protected. In Ecuador, they are worshipped by an Amazonian tribe as gods and should be treated just as preciously by others.
Please work with local communities to eliminate hunting Harpy Eagles in Central America where the bird is most threatened and on the edge of extinction. An area for the birds to breed safely should be established to increase and support future reintroduction efforts and to stabilize the species’ declining population.
It is not too late to prevent this rare, magnificent bird from facing extinction.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dave 2x via Flickr