LAMBERTUCCI Sergio Agustin
congresos y reuniones científicas
Following Andean condors across the Andes Mountains
SERGIO A. LAMBERTUCCI; ALARCON PABLO; ET. AL.
Workshop; SATELLITE TELEMETRY WORKSHOP; 2011
Tudor Farms, Inc.
Animal movement is an increasingly studied subject, especially when dealing with species that can be tagged with tracking devices such as GPS and radio telemetry. The use of this type of technology is particularly important for species that are elusive, have big home ranges and live in remote-low accessible places. Among those are large flying birds as condors and vultures, which can be hardly followed without the aid of new technology as the GPS telemetry. This is the case of the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), one of the largest soaring birds of the world living through the Andes Mountains in South America. It is a threatened bird with large home ranges and low population sizes. Several aspects of the ecology of this species, as for example the annual patterns of habitat use, are still poorly known. In order to study these patterns, and emphasising differences among sexes, we captured and tagged 10 Andean condors during the spring 2010. Birds were fitted with patagial PTT-100 50 gram Solar Argos/GPS tags (Microwave Telemetry Inc.). We used two capturing methodologies: rectangular net-fence and baited cannon net trap. In this presentation I will show the methodology used for capturing, tagging and following the birds and I will show preliminary data on the movements of these birds. Birds were attracted to the traps by using dead sheep. Cannon nets were the more effective method to capture those birds in a short time. Birds health was permanently checked during manipulation. After a brief manipulation period birds were released with the PTT and monitored from this time on. We have registered large movements in a short period. Condors moved several kilometres in a day and, indeed, they can be nesting in a country (Chile) but foraging and resting in another (Argentina). These movements involved crossing the Andes mountains, and across very different environments as woodlands, high Andean vegetation, scrublands and steppes, several times a week. Tagged condors flew over an area of about 50 000 km2. In their movements they flew across several protected areas, which were not large enough to fulfil their needs of movement. The preliminary obtained data showed the high value of telemetry technology for monitoring this kind of species and for producing key information for the establishment of sound management and conservation strategies for condors.