Berkutes, the first non-commercial reproduction center of raptors in Chile
Text by Kátia Boroni and Mauricio del Valle
In the city of Requinoa, in the region of O'Higginis, is located the first center of reproduction of non-commercial raptors of Chile, called Berkutes.
On February 11th, 2013, this center was founded by the Chilean falconer Sebastian Bravo Araneda. The initial birds of the Berkutes’ center was only a couple of harris’s hawks (Parabuteo unicinctus). These birds came from the C.R.A.R, and are birds that cannot be released due to anthropogenic causes, and that entered the breeding program in captivity.
After five long years, the couple of harris’s hawks was consolidated, and successfully achieved copulation, posture and the birth of two chicks, a female and a male. Now they are 3 months old, they are healthy and growing.
The great differential of the Berkutes’ center is that it is the only Center for the Reproduction of Raptors of Chile, for conservation purposes, authorized by the SAG (The Fauna Authority of Chile), within the framework of collaborative work.
The first chicks of the center represent a milestone in the work of reestablishing the wild populations of Birds of Prey in central Chile. In addition to harris’s hawks, the Center also works on the reproduction of the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus).
All the birds entered into this captive breeding program are adult reproductive individuals, who come from Rehabilitation Centers with injuries that prevent them from reintegrating into the natural environment, but there they can achieve reproductive success. The offspring obtained in the center will be inserted into the natural environment, strengthening the natural populations of these important birds that contribute to the balance of the Chilean ecosystem, hence the great importance of the center's work. In addition to that, it is important to clarify that it was a Chilean falconer who created the first breeding center for conservation purposes in Chile, in order to reestablish the populations of Raptors in the country. That is another proof of how falconers are also environmentalists that help the populations of wild birds of prey, in an active way.
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