Support Andean Condor Conservation and Rehabilitation
Located on the grounds of Hacienda Zuleta, at a height of 2000 meters above sea level in the majestic Andes of Ecuador, the Condor Huasi Rehabilitation project strives to reintroduce captive Andean condors into the wild in a responsible and sustainable manner. As part of the La Rinconada community the project also works with local communities to conserve the high-altitude grasslands (páramos), wildlife and natural resources of the area by means of environmental education programs.
With the support of the Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation, the Condor Huasi project is run by zoologist and condor expert Dr. Friedman Koster, and biologist Heide Koster. Among the goals of Condor Huasi is the rehabilitation of a group of Andean condors which have suffered at the hands of humans and would otherwise have an uncertain future. They also aim to have at least one breeding couple to assist in the re-establishment of wild colonies in specific locations in Ecuador. Ongoing educational activities in local communities aim to raise environmental awareness, while visitors to the Hacienda Zuleta and surroundings near Quito will have the opportunity to observe these unusual birds up close and discover more about Ecuador’s fascinating wildlife. It is hoped that by establishing a group of semi-captive Andean condors, contact may be made with wild condors. This would enable the project to gather valuable information and establish feeding sites for the birds to make them less vulnerable to hunters and poachers.
Of the six condors being cared for by the project, only one is female. They range in age from 3 to 35 years old. Condor Huasi has already had a measure of success as is seen by the increased number of wild condors being spotted in the area, particularly at feeding stations, which feature pools of water and shelter. Moreover, some of the birds have been observed performing their mid-air mating rituals, indicating that breeding is more than likely taking place. With an estimated 75 condors in the wild, the bird is considered to be an endangered species in Ecuador. In addition to habitat destruction, food supplies for carrion-eating condors has become less plentiful, hence the success of feeding stations. With the hard work and dedication of conservationists on their side, Andean condors may one day be a more common sight in the skies of Ecuador.