Project 4: Harpy Eagle Program

Project ID Annual Project Budget
for 2017
Executing Group and Partners



ASHO-capítulo Aguilas Arpías, Catacamas

Univ. Nac. de Agricultura, Catacamas – Recursos Naturales dept.

Honduran Conservation Coalition
Josué Matute, Mark Bonta, Isidro Zuniga, and Robin Bjork, project coordinators


Eastern Olancho Harpy Eagle Program

Project Location Principal Protected Area Principal Target Species
Catacamas and
Dulce Nombre de Culmi, Olancho
Patuca NP
Rio Platano Biosphere
Tawahka-Asangni BR
  • Crested Eagle
  • Great Green Macaw
  • Harpy Eagle
  • Scarlet Macaw
Project History
A Harpy Eagle nest discovered in the Patuca NP a few years ago did not result in
sustainable or community-level conservation measures, but did become the inspiration
for the naming of ASHO’s newest club; a Crested Eagle was seen at the SW edge of the
Rio Platano BR during a HOCC/UNA expedition in 2015. Great Green and Scarlet
macaws were seen flocking together in the SW nucleus during the same expedition. All
four species are under heavy and direct threat from habitat loss and trafficking, but
little or no targeted monitoring or conservation activity has taken place. However, a village-level environmental education network already exists, coordinated by the
Recursos Naturales dept. at the UNA.
Project Objectives
  • Establish monitoring protocols for these four species in villages bordering the
    Olancho side of the three lowland rainforest protected areas;
  • Train UNA extensionists and villagers in monitoring, and provide tools necessary
    for this activity;
  • Monitors will search for direct evidence as well as indirect evidence (such as via
    3rd-person reports) of the presence of these species;
  • Lead at least three expeditions into appropriate habitat;
  • Implement basic protection measures for these species, based on data gathered
    from community monitoringImprove infrastructure at Las Orquídeas and Planes
    de Babilonia to allow it to become the primary birding location along the
    Tegucigalpa-Trujillo road corridor.
Project Justification

These four species comprise the most prominent and endangered avifauna of the
Moskitia rainforests, yet they are being decimated by habitat loss, trafficking, and
depredation by hunters. All four are critically endangered at the Honduras- and
international levels, but little is being done to halt there extirpation from the Moskitia.
The villages along the Olancho side of these three reserves are the gateways to millions
of acres of rainforest, and contraband species pass through them on a regular basis.
Biologists and conservationists rarely visit these areas, thus it is much more appropriate
for conservation monitoring to take place at the village level, among the people who
regularly access the forests, and who have constant contact with others across the
region, thus providing the means to documents presence and movements of these
species both in the wild and as they are being trafficked. The UNA already works in
these villages in biological education, hence the project represents a logical extension
of their activities.

Project Description

The project aims to train one monitor for each of at least 10 key buffer zone
communities where direct access to the nuclei of the reserves is less than a day’s hike.
These are primarily Ladino communities, but also include Pech and Tawahka villages
as well. After the training period, monitors will interview other local people widely,
spread the word about the necessity of data on these species, and incorporate
monitoring into their regular activities. In addition, they will undertake a defined
number of longer trips, as teams, into the nuclei of the reserves, accompanied by UNA personnel and outside ornithologists.

During the course of the year, data on trafficking will also be solicited, and the
consciousness-raising that will accompany the formation of the monitoring network
will be targeted toward stopping or at least partially controlling these activities.

Data will be input to eBird and other appropriate venues, but the most important
take-away other than incipient community-based conservation measures will be the
use of data on trafficking and other detrimental activities that will be supplied to
national and international authorities, that will hopefully raise the profile of the
problem and lead to further support in the future.



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