Conservation Medicine in Action: The Case of the Endangered Argentine Crowned Eagle (Harpyhaliaetus coronatus)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2008
Agustin Quaglia1,5, Vet. Stud; Roberto Pereyra Lobos2, TMAP; Andres Capdevielle3; Jose Hernan Sarasola4, PhD; Juan Jose Maceda5, LB; Ramiro Rodriguez3; Guillermo Wiemeyer6, DVM; Miguel D. Saggese7, DVM, MS, PhD
1College of Veterinary Medicine, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina; 2Dirección de Recursos Naturales Renovables, Mendoza, Argentina; 3PCRAR - Fundacion Bioandina, Buenos Aires, Argentina; 4CECARA - Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales - Universidad de La Pampa, La Pampa, Argentina; 5Fundacion Historia Natural Felix de Azara, Buenos Aires, Argentina; 6Zoo Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; 7College of Veterinary Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA, USA
The crowned eagle (Harpyhaliaetus coronatus) inhabits central and northern Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, southern Brazil, and Bolivia. Internationally it is classified as endangered and is currently considered one of the most threatened raptors in Argentina. Information about its biology and natural history is limited. Like other large-sized birds of prey, crowned eagles require large territories in which to live and hunt their prey. Human persecution, reduction in the availability of prey, and loss of natural habitat are the major proposed causes for its continuing decline. Furthermore, collisions with vehicles and electrocution by power lines have been proposed as contributing factors to its endangerment. The potential role of macroparasites, microparasites, and heavy metals in its decline and population dynamics has not been previously investigated. The aim of this presentation is to summarize biomedical work that is already being conducted with captive and free-ranging crowned eagles in several areas of central Argentina. Goals of this study are to: 1) collect data on baseline physiologic reference values, including hematology, serum biochemistry, and plasma cholinesterase activity in captive adults and free-ranging nestling crowned eagles; 2) investigate their exposure to selected macroparasites, microparasites, and lead, and 3) train argentine veterinarians, veterinary students, park rangers, biologists, and conservation agents in the biomedical sampling and management of crowned eagles. Understanding the role macroparasites, microparasites, and metals may play in the decline of these birds in the wild and their effect on ex situ conservation programs may be essential for developing and maximizing effective conservation strategies for this endangered species.