We are back this week with another story about nature, nurture, and the always-incredible Ridgway’s Hawk. As many of you know already, Puntacana Resort and Spa doubles as an ecological preserve for the Ridgway’s Hawk, which is so endangered that it would likely go extinct were it not for the preservation efforts made by Los Haitises National Park and Puntacana. This likely isn’t news to you, though. We first wrote about the Ridgway’s Hawk in August of last year, and we’re here almost a year later with a quick update.
As we covered last year, the period between January and July are an important time for the hawks, as that is when their nesting takes place. This means a lot more work for the team that monitors the hawks, as they are responsible for tracking down these nests as well as climbing trees and poles to visually inspect the health of the nests. If necessary, they will also repair the nests in case they are in danger of falling, and they will also remove mites and parasites from any nestlings. It’s a busy day!
We do have a wonderfully heartwarming story from this year’s nesting season, however. Due to our outreach efforts, we were able to save a hawk that might otherwise have been left to die. A Puntacana employee called and reported finding a hawk on the ground. Obviously this is unusual behavior for an animal that can fly and take care of itself, so our hawk experts knew something wasn’t right. Come to find out, this adult female had become infested with parasites and likely would have died were it not for smart thinking on the part of one of our employees. It just goes to show how much education efforts have taken hold in Punta Cana.
A new part of our outreach took place on May 22 when we brought 55 students from nearby communities to the resort for the annual Ridgway’s Hawk celebration. Students were given the opportunity to learn about these beautiful birds and to see the hawks up close. Each student received a palm sapling to plant at home and got a boat ride to learn a bit about the coral reefs and our conservation efforts to repair those reefs.
Here's our June 2015 global giving report about the Ridgway’s Hawk Conservation Project. http://ow.ly/OEmRU
All in all, 2015 has been a great year for the hawks. Several of the hawks that are being monitored in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic engaged in nesting behavior. One pair is incubating eggs, and another pair has two eggs that have already hatched. We are excited to see what hatches from the eggs that are being incubated, and we are happy to keep the species going for another year. It is our hope that these efforts will eventually lead to the Ridgway’s Hawk being self-sufficient.
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