Why is the Condor of the Andes in Danger of Extinction?

The Andean Condor is at risk of disappearing. What threatens its existence?.

Condor of the Andes

The Andean region has suffered an accelerated deforestation that, together with the contamination of the water, the atmosphere and other environmental problems, causes the loss of individuals of this species. Photo: Pixabay, LatinAmerican Post

LatinAmerican Post | Alexey Zhúkov

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Leer en español: ¿Por qué el Cóndor de los Andes está en peligro de extinción?

The largest non-sea bird on the planet soars the skies of the Andes mountain range, from Colombia and Venezuela to Chile and Argentina, with its imposing presence. The Andean Condor can reach 3 meters with its black wings extended. It is a scavenger bird, its diet is based on the intake of mammal corpses, so it is not considered a predator since it does not hunt or kill to eat. It is also one of the longest-lived birds, it can live up to 75 years in captivity and 50 years in its natural environment, but there are various causes that threaten its existence.

One of them is its low reproduction rate, since each pair can have 1 baby every 2 years , which will only learn to fly 6 months after its birth and 2 more years will elapse in the care of its parents before it can survive for its own.

Another cause that puts the existence of the Condor de los Andes at risk is the decrease and contamination of its habitat. In recent decades, the Andean region has suffered accelerated deforestation that, together with pollution of the water, the atmosphere and other environmental problems, has caused the loss of individuals of this species and the displacement of their habitat.

Perhaps the most serious cause that threatens to disappear the famous bird of South America is the poisoning by the human who, due to the false belief that these birds attack livestock, poisons the corpses with which these specimens feed causing death. Many condors have been victims of hunting, largely because they feed on the carcasses of animals, whose body is contaminated with bullets and pellets, which have been hunted but not collected. They are also victims of the hunt to display them as a trophy, fortunately this practice is unusual.

The Condor of the Andes has been listed by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as a threatened species. In the Andean region it has suffered a considerable reduction, decades ago this species was declared extinct in various parts of the Atlantic coast of Chile and Argentina. Peru declared the Andean Condor at risk of disappearance and in Colombia, a nation that proclaimed the species as a national bird after its appearance on the coat of arms of the republic in 1834, the outlook is not encouraging.

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According to the Red Book of Birds of the coffee nation, the Andean Condor is critically endangered to the point that its population does not exceed 100 specimens . The first national census of the current validity yielded alarming figures with only 63 condors sighted in the national territory , whose analysis was led by National Natural Parks of Colombia, regional autonomous corporations and the Fundación Cóndor Andino Ecuador. As of 2006, the Colombian Ministry of the Environment estimated the population of this bird between 98 and 118 specimens, that is, from 2006 to date 64% of condors have been lost in Colombia.

The Condor of the Andes plays an important role in the ecosystem, since it is responsible for eliminating waste and possible sources of infection . When the species disappears, the ecosystems where it inhabits would suffer an imbalance and there would be a proliferation of carrion, causing many living beings to fall ill.

It is important to educate the community to eradicate the belief that this species attacks livestock . Make known its significant ecological role, sensitize those who practice hunting and directly and indirectly affect the species, make the population aware of the care and conservation of the bird and its habitat, together with public policies that protect the species, will prevent the extinction of the Condor of the Andes.

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