Robert B. Wallace, Ariel Reinaga, Natalia Piland, Renzo Piana, F. Hernán Vargas, Rosa Elena Zegarra, Sergio Alvarado, Sebastián Kohn, Sergio A. Lambertucci, Pablo Alarcón, Diego Méndez, Fausto Sáenz-Jiménez, Francisco Ciri, José Álvarez, Fernando Angulo, Vanesa Astore, Jannet Cisneros, Jessica Gálvez-Durand, Rosa Vento, Celeste Cóndor, Víctor Escobar, Martín Funes, Alejandro Kusch, Adrián Naveda-Rodríguez, Claudia Silva, Galo Zapata-Ríos, Carolina Gargiulo, Sandra Gordillo, Javier Heredia, Rubén Morales, Alexander More, David Oehler, Oscar Ospina-Herrera, Andrés Ortega, José Antonio Otero, Carlos Silva, Guillermo Wiemeyer, Lorena Zurita
Journal of Raptor Research 56 (1), 1-16, (28 February 2022) https://doi.org/10.3356/JRR-20-59
KEYWORDS: Andean condor, Vultur gryphus, conservation, Range Wide Priority Setting
The Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) is a culturally iconic wildlife symbol for the South American Andes, but is naturally found at very low population densities, and is increasingly threatened. Using the Range Wide Priority Setting methodology, we (a group of 38 Andean Condor experts) updated the Andean Condor historical range (3,230,061 km2), systematized 9998 Andean Condor distribution points across the range, and identified geographic areas for which there was expert knowledge (66%), including areas where Andean Condors no longer occur (7%), and geographic areas where condors are believed to range, but for which there was not expert knowledge about condor presence (34%). To prioritize conservation action into the future and identify existing Andean Condor population strongholds, we used expert knowledge to identify 21 of the most important areas for the conservation of the species (i.e., Andean Condor Conservation Units [ACCUs]) that cover 37% of the revised historical range, and range in size from 837 km2 to 298,951 km2. In general, ACCUs were relatively small in the northern portion of the range in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and northern Peru, and significantly larger in the central and southern portion of the range in Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina, reflecting the reduced and narrower historical range in the northern portion of the range, as well as increased threats. Andean Condors can fly extremely long distances and so the populations of many neighboring ACCUs are probably still functionally connected, although this situation also underlines the need for integrated and large-scale conservation efforts for this species. As a function of the Range Wide Priority Setting results, we make recommendations to ensure population connectivity into the future and engage a wide range of actors in Andean Condor conservation efforts.