22 de enero de 2020
English - News

Argentine biologist offers hope for endangered Chaco eagle

By Pablo Ramon Ochoa

Buenos Aires, Jul 20 (efe-epa).- The course of Jose Sarasola's life changed 19 years ago when he first came across a Chaco eagle - one that had been killed by a rancher and hung from a railing as a warning to other birds.

The studies he has carried out since then on that endangered raptor made him one of the recipients of the United Kingdom's prestigious Whitley Awards this year.

But Sarasola told EFE in an interview that he is most satisfied at having played a part in changing community perceptions about this large South American bird of prey.

"It's been very gratifying because when we started working with the eagle there was practically no awareness about it," Sarasola said two months after receiving his so-called "Green Oscar" - and a 40,000-pound ($49,640) cash prize - from Princess Anne at a ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Sarasola was recognized there for his nearly two decades of conservation efforts, including going door to door and trying to show the modern day gauchos (ranchers) of central-western Argentina why that bird (Buteogallus coronatus), which is also found in parts of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, should be protected.

The dead eagle he found those many years ago had been placed on a railing by a rancher in La Pampa province as a warning to other birds, who were believed to attack young livestock.

It turned out, however, that the perception of that rancher and many others was false: the gray Chaco eagle, also known as the crowned solitary eagle due to its large occipital crest, hunts around 600 different types of prey but all of them are wild animals.

Local inhabitants, however, thought those birds predated livestock, and that belief persisted - and was passed down by word of mouth from one generation to the next - due to a lack of scientific studies.

Sheep were raised in that region instead of cattle many years ago, "and probably in a given moment of that history eagles hunted newborn sheep," Sarasola said.

Nowadays, many ranchers in La Pampa see conservation as a serious issue and help preserve the eagle, said Sarasola, a native of the provincial capital of Santa Rosa.

Ranchers have stopped shooting the Chaco eagle thanks to the biologist's awareness-raising efforts, with no such deaths registered since 2013.

The main square of Santa Rosa features a sculpture of a Chaco eagle, while that bird serves as the mascot for a local sporting competition. Sarasola said he also learned that a boy scouts club has taken the name Crowned Eagle.

Chaco eagles, however face two other major threats: drowning in tanks that ranchers use to store water in that vast semi-arid region and electrocution on power lines.

"With the money from the prize, we're working with the regional energy administration to change the location of 90 power pylons that represent 20 percent of the electrocution deaths over a 150-kilometer stretch," said Sarasola, a biologist with Argentina's National Scientific and Technical Research Council.

"It's difficult to convince the power companies," Sarasola said, though adding that it is "quite economical" for those firms to make changes such as switching cables or using safer materials.

"We hope the prize helps raise this awareness that doesn't exist yet. In Spain, a company is hit with a huge fine if an eagle dies," said Sarasola, who earned his doctorate at the Doñana Biological Station in the southern part of that Iberian nation. EFE-EPA




Histórico de noticias
Boeing doesn't expect 737 MAX to fly again until mid-2020

New York, Jan 21 (efe-epa).- Boeing announced Tuesday that it does not expect regulatory authorities to approve the return to service of its 737 MAX jets...

First US case of Wuhan virus diagnosed

New York, Jan 21 (efe-epa).- A patient in Washington state has been diagnosed with the Wuhan virus, or coronavirus, in the first confirmed case of this type...

Weinstein case moves to opening arguments with witnesses in focus

New York, Jan 21 (efe-epa).- The the 12-person jury and three alternatives now selected, the sexual abuse trial of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein will...

Millions of Mexicans take part in macro-earthquake simulation

Mexico City, Jan 20 (efe-epa).- Millions of people participated on Monday in a nationwide earthquake macro-drill as memories persist of the last big tremor...

Trump's defense team asks Senate to speedily reject impeachment case

By Susana Samhan

Thousands protest gun controls in Richmond, Virginia

Washington, Jan 20 (efe-epa).- Thousands of people, most of them men, demonstrated on Monday outside the Virginia state capitol building in Richmond against...

Young people committing suicide in Nicaragua due to social crisis

By Wilder Perez R.

Animals at Medellin zoo get ice cream to help them deal with the heat

Medellin, Colombia, Jan 19 (efe-epa).- Ice cream, copious amounts of water and refreshing baths are all part of the "Wild Coolness" initiative being...

Migrant caravan delays entry into Mexico, expected to double in size

By Pedro Pablo Cortes

Former UN chief Javier Perez de Cuellar celebrates 100th birthday in Lima

Lima, Jan 19 (efe-epa).- Peru's Javier Perez de Cuellar, the first Ibero-American to serve as secretary-general of the United Nations, is celebrating his...

#SuperCoralPlay social network campaign seeks to save coral reefs

By Alberto Domingo Carreiro

Pinochet victims join Chilean protesters 3 mo. into crisis

Santiago, Jan 16 (efe-epa).- Groups of relatives of the victims of the 1973-1990 Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, along with associations of those injured and...

Koala toys invade NY in fundraising campaign for fire-ravaged Australia

New York, Jan 16 (efe-epa).- Plush koala toys perched on lampposts, traffic signals, trees and scaffolding at different spots around New York City these...

Model Gigi Hadid ruled out as Weinstein juror

New York, Jan 16 (efe-epa).- The selection of the jury that will decide in a New York court whether Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is guilty of sexual...

Mural art exhibit to highlight the untold bridge between Mexico and the US

By Jorge Fuentelsaz

Guaido: Paramilitary takeover of parliament reveals Maduro's dictatorship

Caracas, Jan 15 (efe-epa).- Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido called the actions under way on Wednesday outside the National Assembly (AN) building a...

Artificial intelligence posing new challenges for cybersecurity in 2020

By Marc Arcas

House Democrats deliver Trump impeachment articles to Senate

Washington, Jan 15 (EFE).- Articles of impeachment against Donald Trump were transmitted to the US Senate on Wednesday nearly a month after the...

HRW denounces China's massive attack on human rights at home and abroad

By Mario Villar

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon in 2019 was 85 percent greater than in 2018

Rio de Janeiro, Jan 14 (efe-epa).- Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon region last year was 85 percent greater than that reported in 2018, according to...

Boeing ends 2019 with more cancellations than commercial plane orders

New York, Jan 14 (efe-epa).- Aerospace giant Boeing said Tuesday it delivered a total of 380 commercial airplanes in 2019, or less than half the number it...

US gov't, Apple at odds again over terrorist's iPhone

San Francisco, Jan 14 (efe-epa).- The US government and Apple on Tuesday publicly put on display their ongoing dispute over the alleged refusal of the tech...

Soldiers, scientists and Efe reporters head off on Antarctica mission

Montevideo, Jan 14 (efe-epa).- A group of 30 people, including military personnel, scientists and two Agencia Efe reporters, headed off Tuesday on a mission...

House to vote Wednesday on sending impeachment articles to Senate

Washington, Jan 14 (efe-epa).- The US House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday to select the lawmakers who will act as the "managers" of President...