ANTISANA, Ecuador – More than 500 volunteers participate in the second National Andean Condor Census in Ecuador, aiming to assess the current bird population in an effort to implement improved protection mechanisms to better preserve their habitat.
A group made up of volunteers, park rangers and Environment Ministry officials on Friday set out to gather information regarding condor numbers in some 180 sites across 10 natural reservations throughout the country.
During the first National Andean Condor Census – which took place in 2015 – 163 volunteers studied as many as 70 condor roosts spread out across eight protected Andean regions.
This time, researchers concluded that Ecuador is home to between 94 and 102 condors, and kicked off a repopulation effort, as well as a program to create corridors connecting the reservations in an attempt to guarantee their safety.
The team also fitted nine specimens with satellite tracking devices.
“These condors have traveled the whole country and they show us the places where they are eating and, most importantly, where they are sleeping,” Condor Andino Foundation director Sebastian Kohn told EFE at the Antisana reservation, located in the eastern Andean mountain range, between the provinces of Napo and Pichincha.
In this reservation, which is spread across two Andean forests, heaths and the foothills of the Antisana volcano, as many as 27 condors may be spotted in a single day, Environment Ministry official David Veintimilla said.
The census is also being carried out in different sites of the Llanganates, Sangay, Podocarpus, Yacuri, Cotopaxi and Cayambe Coca national parks, as well as the Ilinizas and Cotacachi Cayapas reservations.
Authorities are planning to present the findings of the census in November to serve as the basis for new design of policies and actions to be taken in order to preserve the condor, Ecuador’s emblematic bird.