Andean Condor Vultur gryphus in Ecuador: Geographic Distribution, Population Size and Extinction RiskReport as inadecuate

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The Andean Condor Vultur gryphus in Ecuador is classified as Critically Endangered. Before 2015, standardized and systematic estimates of geographic distribution, population size and structure were not available for this species, hampering the assessment of its current status and hindering the design and implementation of effective conservation actions. In this study, we performed the first quantitative assessment of geographic distribution, population size and population viability of Andean Condor in Ecuador. We used a methodological approach that included an ecological niche model to study geographic distribution, a simultaneous survey of 70 roosting sites to estimate population size and a population viability analysis PVA for the next 100 years. Geographic distribution in the form of extent of occurrence was 49 725 km2. During a two-day census, 93 Andean Condors were recorded and a population of 94 to 102 individuals was estimated. In this population, adult-to-immature ratio was 1:0.5. In the modeled PVA scenarios, the probability of extinction, mean time to extinction and minimum population size varied from zero to 100%, 63 years and 193 individuals, respectively. Habitat loss is the greatest threat to the conservation of Andean Condor populations in Ecuador. Population size reduction in scenarios that included habitat loss began within the first 15 years of this threat. Population reinforcement had no effects on the recovery of Andean Condor populations given the current status of the species in Ecuador. The population size estimate presented in this study is the lower than those reported previously in other countries where the species occur. The inferences derived from the population viability analysis have implications for Condor management in Ecuador. This study highlights the need to redirect efforts from captive breeding and population reinforcement to habitat conservation.

Author: Adrián Naveda-Rodríguez , Félix Hernán Vargas, Sebastián Kohn, Galo Zapata-Ríos



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