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The continuing efforts of the research team supported by the Peregrine Fund have increased our understanding of the population status of this highly endangered hawk, which is only found in Los Haitises National Park in the north east part of the country. The park is a dramatic landscape of karst hills with small valleys in between, this is the habitat favored by the hawk for hunting.
In addition, Lance Woolaver , while working on his Ph.D. thesis spent three seasons observing nests. He has captured several individuals to obtain scientific data about weight and size and blood to be analyzed, and then banding and releasing the birds, with the expectation that they may be observed in seasons to come. A full report can be found in the web page of Wildlife Preservation Trust Canada (www.wptc.org).

Option A: A morning drive from Santo Domingo Can be made to Los Limones, in the southern part of Los Haitises National Park. Here a local guide helps to monitor the hawk population and he will guide us to the closest active nest. Some bushwhacking involved. This is usually included as part of the regular tour, with an additional COST, $100 for the local guide fee.

Option B: Day 6 and 7 We will drive directly to Hotel Paraiso Caño Hondo, which is located on the edge of Los Haitises National Park, outside Sabana de la Mar. Another target bird here is the Ashy-faced Owl. A local park guard keeps on the lookout for this bird and it may be seen not too far from the hotel and we will we will go out in the evening to look for it. In the morning we will be looking for the hawk. This is another place where the hawk’s population is being monitored and the nests seem to be closer to the hotel each year. In addition, there is a population of White-necked crows here, a bird which may not have been seen elsewhere on the trip. A boat trip down the river through the mangroves to the bay, with a view of the mogotes/islands, seabirds And a visit to some caves with Taino pictographs may be scheduled for the afternoon, before rerunning to Santo Domingo. Another night at the hotel, also gives us a second chance for the owl.

Option C: The Peregrine Fund has been transferring young hawks from Los Limones to a site at the Punta Cana Resort and Ecological Foundation. The goal is to create an alternative population in a protected area. For several years, this was not successful but then thanks to the research of Thomas Hayes from The Peregrine Fund, and Adrell Nunez, a veterinarian at the zoo the cause of the deaths of so many chicks in the nests has been discovered. The parasitic bot fly (Philornis sp) is laying eggs on the chicks and the larvae then killed the small birds. A treatment was developed and now the numbers of chicks surviving has greatly increased. New pairs have formed and have fledged chicks. Because of this, it is now possible to visit the hacking site and see the hawks. Reservations must be made with the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation. 809-959-9221. The new super highway to Punta Cana makes this a possible day trip. Keep up with he news in the Face Book page..Proyecto Conservación del Gavilan

 

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TODY TOURS
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