Condors reborn in the Maipo

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Chile is one of the countries with the largest population of Andean condors. However, it has suffered a dramatic decline in the past 50 years. Currently, around 20,000 birds have been accounted for in the national territory, mainly focused in the central and southern areas.

Although there are only estimates of the total number of specimens, their worldwide preservation is extremely challenging due to factors such as hunting, the loss of their habitat and their low reproductive rate.

Different organizations dedicated to the conservation and rehabilitation of these birds face challenges related to the demands of building and maintaining a care network, but they are relying on remote monitoring tools that are available today.

At the end of 2019, the condors named Maipo, Eluney and Wilka were released in the Center for the Liberation of Condors of the Cajón del Maipo. This event was a milestone for the joint work carried out for close to three years by the Bird or Pray Rehabilitation Center (CRAR), the Chilean Union of Ornithologists (UNORCH) and the Likandes Elemental Reserve.

In the reintegration and release phase, the Likandes Elemental Reserve not only made its conservation center located in Cajón del Maipo available to the project, but also pioneered the use of digital technologies in Chile to enhance their care work.

Bird DetectionOdd Industries supported the process by providing remote monitoring tools to the Likandes Elemental Reserve and its volunteers, installing cameras that recorded the behavior of the birds day and night in order to facilitate the constant supervision of their cages with minimal alteration of their environment.

These tools were particularly critical when, in October 2019, the conditions for the transportation of volunteers to the liberation center became difficult due to the social outbreak in Chile. The data was kept online automatically and without interruption to witness in real time the state of the condors and to enhance the protection and security of the facilities.

During the reintegration period, milestones of awe-inspiring beauty were also recorded, documenting images such as the birds spreading their wings in synchrony or the visit of neighboring condors to the release site. At the same time, evidence was obtained on their diet, their reaction to more demanding climates and their daily mobility.

Today, the condors are monitored with satellite technology and two of them, Maipo and Eluney, have been able to adapt perfectly to their natural habitat. Wilka, a female condor who was also released, had to return to the rehabilitation center after having difficulties with adaptation.

Eduardo Pavez, expert on birds of prey and Director of the Conservation Program of the Andean Condor of the UNORCH, a few weeks ago referred to the state of two of the released condors:

“The condors Maipo and Eluney, after touring large mountain ranges, today came together flying over the Likandes Reserve, the place where they were released almost four months ago. In zoology, that is called philopatry or attachment to the place where one is born, in this case where they were born to the life of the condor.”

The exploitation of various technologies for remote monitoring allows specialists to study the behavior of the species with evidence and take increasingly effective actions for their reintegration.

The success of this project demonstrates that collective intelligence, process digitization, evidence and collaboration provide an ideal context to manage projects of the most diverse types and obtain excellent results with better information.

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