The imposing canopy over the Amazon rainforests is home to some incredible creatures, including the Amazon eagle. Also called the harpy eagle, this gigantic bird is the world’s largest eagle by weight and preys on the red howler and spider monkeys living in the upper reaches of the canopy. But rapid deforestation is taking away their food source and that has led to the young amazon eagles facing starvation.
The Amazon eagles need a constant source of food given their size. Their huge talons help them hunt the monkeys and sloth living up in the high trees. But the dwindling forest cover has led to a fall in dependable sources of food for the bird that is at the highest level of the food chain.
Findings released in the Scientific Reports have revealed that the Amazon eagles in the forests of Mato Grosso in Brazil are unable to source food for their young ones as the shrinking cover has led to a sharp decline in their natural food sources.
Growing Concern For The Amazon Eagle
A study of 16 nests by scientists across varied landscapes has revealed an alarming decline in the food that the amazon eagles bring to their children. With shrinkage in the forest cover nearly totals at some areas, the eagles were left to collect bones for their young ones.
Almost 90% of the total population of the Amazon eagle live in the amazon forests. Adult females can reach weights up to 22 pounds (10 kgs). Carlos Peres, an environmental science professor at the University of East Anglia, UK, said that this amazon eagle is among the millions of species threatened by the mass destruction of the gigantic rainforest.
The Amazon eagle’s life cycle is the slowest among all bird species and this affects their ability to adapt to the changing landscape. Only moving them or providing them a source of food would save the harpy eagle from extinction.
Though countries like Brazil, Suriname, and Panama have sought to protect the Amazon eagles, the dense forests and the lack of resources make it tough to enforce safeguards.
The study on the nests was headed by Dr. Everton Miranda from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The study revealed that with the lack of their regular food, the eagles were feeding their young ones in a lesser amount. Death of eaglets was reported in deforested areas. It has been estimated that the number of breeding pairs fell by over 3,000 since 1985.