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Now there is all the more reason for coming to Belize or buying a property here. Apart from being one of the most beautiful places in the world, with pristine beaches and mysterious jungles, Belize is now home to harpy eagle! This magnificent bird was assumed to be extinct in all of Central America due to human encroachment; but now it seems that they are making a comeback as a nest was spotted in Maya Mountains by scientists.
A Harpy eagle is one of the most powerful and largest birds in the Americas; it can hunt with ease animals like sloths and monkeys. Before the last century, this hunter was present in neo-tropical forests ranges that covered northern Argentina to southern Mexico; but indiscriminate deforestation and hunting led to its extinction in this part of the world. It seemed that it was present only in Belize as it was spotted here even in 1958; and by 2000, it has been confirmed that it is definitely present in the country as nearly 10 sighting were reported by scientist from BFREE (Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education). Most were seen in Bladen Nature Reserve while another was spotted in Mountain Pine Ridge.
The first few who saw this magnificent bird could not believe their eyes when they saw the large gray bird with double crest. One of such viewer was Jamie Rotenberg, ornithologist from University of North Carolina Wilmington; and he had time convincing his colleagues that he indeed saw a juvenile Harpy Eagle, in 2005. Since then five more people have confirmed seeing this bird in Bladen Nature Reserve one of whom is William Garcia, technician project leaser with BFREE. By following a bird, he and his team was able to spot a nest with white nestling Harpy Eagle chicks!
There is a reason why this highly endangered species have made a comeback in the Central American region of Belize; and the credit of it lies with strict environmental policies of the government of Belize. The government as well as the people of Belize makes conscious effort to make sure their great tropical forest retain their virgin beauty. The nest that was discovered is within an area that is co-managed by a community oriented NGO in Punta Gorda and Belize Forest Department. All efforts are made to make sure human disturbance is kept totally away from the birds' nest while they are being monitored. This return of a nearly extinct bird has boosted the morale of those involved with conservation efforts in Belize. As Lee Mcloughlin, Protected Areas Manager for Ya'axché says, Harpy Eagle population has to be maintained not just for the bird itself, but for whole of Belize as well.