Park rangers National Park Huascarán trained to monitor wild birds

P eru’s National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (SERNANP), and Cornell University’s Ornothology Laboratory (CLO), have collaborated in order to train park rangers to monitor wild birds. This joint effort aims to gain a greater understanding of climate change, and how other human activity affects the biological communities of high mountain ranges. Although it is known that climate change is affecting the glaciers located along the Cordillera Blanca relatively little is known about the consequences it is having on biological communities.

Across 3 days in August this year, working specifically with the Huascarán national park, CLO carried out their first training courses, monitoring birds of the Huascarán biosphere reserve. Participants were trained on the use of protocols of the Latin America Program for Wild Birds (PROALAS), developed initially for Mexico. These protocols seek to standardise the data obtained by rangers across Latin America.

The training was led by Steven Sevillano-Ríos, a Ph.D student at Cornell University, in conjunction with the CLO, attended by specialist rangers and Peruvian biologists. The rangers were trained on how to identify and collect data, how to report their findings, and how to improve the quality of their data. They were also trained to use eBird, the program used for importing the data. In its pilot phase, this scheme requires constant and continuous learning from the rangers as well as the scientists who want to improve bird monitoring systems throughout Latin America.

Thanks also goes out to the Association of High Mountain Guides, The America Alpine Club, and the Neotropical Bird Club, for helping to develop and facilitate the training. SERNANP, who have previously facilitated training in forest fires and preserving indigenous communities, hope that this research will strengthen the capacity of Peru’s biodiversity watchdogs, and inform important and better decisions as to how best to conserve and manage Peru’s protected natural areas as well as geographically similar areas around the world.

Author: Frederick Clayton
Photo: Steven Sevillano-Ríos

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