Two rehabilitated condors released in Patagonia National Park

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 Photo: Cristian SaucedoPhoto: Cristian Saucedo

 
By Antonia González.
 
It took months for Pumalín and Liquiñe, the two condors that were undergoing rehabilitation in Patagonia National Park, Aysén Region, to fly free again.
 
The male and female condors were found with severe damage that prevented them from flying. Pumalín, the male, was born in the winter of 2020 and shortly after leaving the nest and with little flight experience, he was caught in a storm that caused him some difficulties to fly. While Liquiñe, the female, which was born at the end of 2019 in Panguipulli, was found without mobility with a fracture in one of her toes.
 
However, shortly after being rescued they arrived at the veterinary clinic of Chile's National Zoo, to then be treated at the Center for Rehabilitation of Birds of Prey (CRAR), where they were able to acclimatize and get used to their surroundings.
 
The adaptation process at Patagonia Park lasted a little over two months before they were successfully released for reinsertion into the wild. The exciting event was accompanied by almost 100 neighbors from the community of Cochrane and surrounding areas. 
 
 
The human communities of Patagonia coexist with condors and the future of the species depends to a great extent on their relationship. Photo: Rewilding ChileThe human communities of Patagonia coexist with condors and the future of the species depends to a great extent on their relationship. Photo: Rewilding Chile
 
 
Cristián Saucedo, director of the wildlife program of Fundación Rewilding Chile, a new organization created by Tompkins Conservation, explained that "the possibility of successful integration of the new condors is quite high, since different groups of this species already occupy Patagonia National Park as a corridor and as a constant flight path."
 
In order to effectively track Pumalín and Liquiñe, satellite transmitters were installed on one of their wings to monitor them and analyze their behavior outdoors and the way they interact with other species. The latest information obtained shows that the condors have adapted very well to their natural habitat.
 
Although they have remained close to the release cage, they have been gradually gaining altitude and climbing to the tops of the hills. "At the moment they are in the process of reinsertion, but they are not free of risk. So far they are doing very well, in the case of Liquiñe, she has presented a large displacement of something like 17 kilometers to the east. While Pumalín has been a little slower, but it is being closely monitored to verify that its activity is normal and does not require any support or direct intervention," adds Saucedo.
 
 
The Patagonian nucleus represents 70% of the condor population in Chile. Photo: Fundacion MeriThe Patagonian nucleus represents 70% of the condor population in Chile. Photo: Fundacion Meri
 
 
Photo: Rewilding ChilePhoto: Rewilding Chile
 
 
In the next few days they should be more confident to start flying longer distances and begin foraging, which is the next step in their reintroduction to the wild, explained Dominique Durand, executive director of the Andean Condor Conservation Program, Proyecto Manku.
 
The rehabilitation and release of the condors is a collaborative initiative promoted by Fundación MERI, Proyecto Manku and Fundación Rewilding Chile, with the support of SAG and CONAF.
 
Conservation and threats
Currently, the condor is catalogued as a threatened species, as it suffers from habitat loss and poisoning by some ranchers and farmers to protect their herds. Another threat is hunting with firearms, which is totally prohibited by law, as well as collisions with poorly placed power lines in the mountains and the ingestion of garbage. 
 
Among the largest birds in the world capable of flying, the condors are an important symbol in Andean culture. Their conservation is essential; they play a fundamental role in the health of natural ecosystems and livestock production. systems. 
 
 
 

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