Bolivian authorities are investigating the alleged poisoning of 35 endangered Andean Condors which represents at least half a per cent of the total world population of the rare birds.
The experts say that the 35 deaths representing 0.5 per cent is a conservative estimate, because many other birds that might have eaten the poison could possibly have flown away to die elsewhere, and as it was the breeding season there were probably many chicks that would have been left abandoned and also died after the loss of their parents.
A local resident found the dead condors (Vultur gryphus) in a ravine in the rural community of Laderas Norte near the southern Bolivian city of Tarija and reported it to the police.
The Bolivian Deputy Minister of the Environment, Magin Herrera, confirmed the incident and said that local authorities believe the birds were poisoned several days ago.
She said: “It may be that the goat meat was left out with poison inside for felines like pumas all wild cats to eat, but it was instead consumed by dogs and condors.”
According to the newspaper Pagina Siete, four dogs and a vulture were also found dead in the same place.
Biologist Juan de Dios Garay said: “It was possible to observe the bones of other animals that appear to be the victims of the same poisoning, such as dogs and goats.”
“There are 17 pairs of condors and an adult male, so if we think about the mating period, there were probably chicks and eggs, and we don’t know how many might have been abandoned.”
Garay also believes that more condors might have died elsewhere after flying away.
The specialist says that as scavengers, condors play a fundamental role in cleaning the environment and consuming organic waste and their death will have a devastating effect on the ecosystem.
According to the newspaper Actualidad RT, biologist and coordinator of the Raptor Research Program in Bolivia, Diego Mendez, said that the deceased specimens “could represent 0.5 per cent of the world population of condors”.
The governor of Tarija, Adrian Oliva, informed Pagina Siete that they are carrying out an extensive investigation and have taken samples to confirm they were poisoned, in the meantime, they have asked residents not to approach the area.
The Andean condor has a wingspan of 3.5 metres (11.4 feet) and is one of the largest flying birds in the world and there are estimated to be only around 6,700 left in existence.
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Story By: Lisa-Maria Goertz, Sub-Editor: Joana Mihajlovska, Agency: Newsflash
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