Birds of prey are iconic animals of the Wyoming landscape. In Wyoming and throughout the world birds of prey represent the power of flight and majestic beauty. Many species of birds of prey are in decline. However Wyoming, due to its vast and mostly pristine habitats, is a population stronghold for many North American raptors. To help insure that Wyoming remains a viable raptor state and to promote educational awareness of raptors the Biodiversity Institute is excited to announce it new Raptor Initiative.
Our Raptor Initiative has two goals:
- To synthesize our scientific understanding of raptors in Wyoming so that the public, scientists, land managers and energy companies will be better informed in developing and implementing future conservation strategies and land mitigation efforts.
- To foster appreciation of raptors in Wyoming and the world through education and outreach efforts.
Raptor Initiative Programs in Development
The Biodiversity Institute is working in partnership with a variety of researchers, and the Draper Natural History Museum to develop programs for the new Raptor Initiative. Below we outline three new programs that are currently in the development stage. as these projects develop, this section will be updated with more details, and news on events, links and other resources.
University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute Research Fellowship: Raptors in Wyoming and the West
Wyoming is a stronghold for raptor populations in western North America. While surrounding states have experienced declines in many species, the relatively undisturbed landscapes of Wyoming allow many populations of raptors to thrive. Nonetheless, Wyoming raptors face several challenges. The BI recognizes a need for an effective summary of the state-of-science regarding raptors in the region, with special attention to questions of most importance to land and wildlife managers and policy-makers, to advance effective and efficient conservation.
It may be that some questions of high priority to raptor conservation have already been answered by scientists, but that information is not accessible for efficient application by managers and policy-makers. It is also possible that other important questions could be addressed relatively quickly with novel research, but have not yet been clearly identified as priorities to the research community. These possibilities are embedded in a dynamic research and management environment, with several ongoing research efforts, working groups, and management consortia developing information and addressing different parts of the raptor conservation picture simultaneously.
The BI will provide funds to support a researcher to investigate and clarify this complex scene, with the main goals of: (1) identifying important issues of applied raptor ecology that already have strong scientific understanding; (2) synthesizing that information in effective ways for application by managers and policy-makers; (3) identifying other priority questions that could, if addressed through novel research, advance raptor management and conservation in the near term; and (4) discover and present opportunities for synergy among ongoing raptor conservation and management efforts.
Black-and-Chestnut Eagle Project
Black-and-chestnut Eagles are majestic, endangered residents of the cloudforests of the South American Andes. This University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute-funded project will monitor nesting sites in the Tandayapa valley of western Ecuador. First-ever webcams will broadcast activity at the nest sites. The major current threat to the eagles is shooting by landowners with chickens. By establishing innovative educational and reparation programs, in conjunction with local ecotourism businesses and conservation organizations, the project will serve as a model for conservation efforts throughout the Andes. The project will increase the probability of persistence of an iconic emblem of the world-class biodiversity found in South American cloudforest habitats.
The Biodiversity Institute Public Birdcam Project
Wildlife viewing cameras are used worldwide to address a variety of research and management objectives for many wildlife species. Engineered in a variety of different styles, remote cameras are an effective tool for investigating wildlife behavior and documenting species presence and distribution. Wildlife cameras are also an efficient and cost-effective way to supplement human observers. Additionally these camera introduce a powerful venue for education and outreach activities, and will allow the public to interact with the Institute in new and exciting ways.
The Institute is currently creating a variety of different partnerships, to create programs in research, outreach and eduction, utilizing camera systems that we are currently developing.
The Biodiversity Institute's remote raptor viewing camera systems will likely be deployed in a number of different ways. Institute scientists, working with our technical and engineering teams are developing an assortment of camera systems to fit a variety of different scenarios, habitats and remote locations.
Check back here soon for more information on this exciting program.