Home » Making a Difference

The Lymington Foundation - Juquitiba, Sao Paulo, Brasil

By Bill Wittkoff

Photographs © The Lymington Foundation

Harpy Eagles

In February 2007, through the foundation vet and technical person responsible for the birds at Lymington, Dr Juliana Sinhorini, a recently-laid Harpy Eagle egg arrived so that we could see if it could be incubated and hatched.  At the time there were less than 60 captive raised Harpies on record worldwide. The original home of the Harpy, the largest eagle in the southern hemisphere, extended from southern Mexico to northern Argentina.  Currently they are only found from Panama to the southern Amazon, and are definitely threatened.  Each couple can produce only two to three offspring during their lives because it takes 2 to 3 years for the two parents, working together, to successfully raise one chick.  Each couple needs at least 115 square miles of rain forest to provide enough prey to support raising their offspring.

This bird, a female called Bunny (as she hatched on Easter morning), is now thriving at a large fazenda in the interior of Sao Paulo state, home of her parents.  2008 brought another egg which was successfully hatched.  This time we brought a male called Filipe into the world.  Once again, this year, a newly laid egg arrived in a damaged condition to be incubated.  Linda repaired the damaged shell with micropor tape and glue, and a female named Honey was hatched, which is the best specimen Linda has produced thus far, due - she thinks - to right on the mark egg weight loss management and increased know-how during the incubation period.

Golden Conures - University of Sao Paulo Research
These birds are on the road to extinction, from traffic and habitat loss, and the Foundation is concentrating on them for conservation, as we have been very successful in breeding them.  Lymington has just become part of the University of Sao Paulo project in the Pathology Department, to develop the first hematological, microbiological and parasitological parameters for the Golden Conures, because of our healthy flock of these birds and proximity to the university. Dr Juliana Sinhorini will be the vet doing the sampling, and will carry the project with several doctoral candidates, under the oversight of the department head.

Butanta Institute Field Research Site
Lymington is endowed with a privileged Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlantica) site at 700 meters (2100 ft) altitude - a mere 70 km (44 miles) from Sao Paulo.  This environment, on the Tropic of Cancer, is one of the richest biodiversities in the world where we have nearly 300 species of birds - many photographed by us - and the widest proliferation of bromeliad species of any tropical forest in the southern hemisphere - many peculiar to this region.

Because of this profusion of life, and its proximity to the world renowned Butanta Institute in Sao Paulo, Lymington is becoming a field research site for some of their activities which include especially reptiles, spiders and amphibians.

The Foundation has many environmental interests, in addition to proven superior breeding expertise in threatened parrots and macaws of a limited number of species.

It also has a unique set of characteristics which enables management of conservation activities; these include good communications skills, good physical infrastructure, deep knowledge of the Brazilian culture and land management, multi language ability for personnel and organizations in the exterior, our pristine Atlantic forest environment, which is only 70 km from Sao Paulo where, at least in Latin America, the infrastructure is superb. Having lived here for 50 years, we can accurately say that no other Brazilian city/region offers nearly what Sao Paulo provides.

[email protected]

blogs from the field - parrot conservation in real time