Monday, November 29, 2010

Resident Black Eagle in Huben ! Wonderful development or should we be asking why?

On 21st September 2009 the first record of a Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis) over the Huben-Hushan IBA was made. On 12 March 2010 researchers from the Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute observed an Indian Black Eagle over the forests adjacent to Huben village. This was the second record of a Black Eagle in the Huben-Hushan IBA. Since that time a Black Eagle has been observed fairly regularly in the general area.

Recently there have been several sightings over the forest near the Bai-ma Temple. It appears that this Black Eagle has become resident in the Huben-Hushan area. This is indeed a very exciting development but also begs the question "why?"

The Indian Black Eagle on Taiwan is listed as Vulnerable and the total population is believed to be between 500-1000 individuals. The Black Eagle is generally associated with healthy old growth mountain forest on Taiwan. The Huben-Hushan IBA has suffered tremendous degradation in recent years and is a pale shade of what the IBA was just five short years ago. True, a few patches of reasonable forest remain. Most of these patches are disturbed in some way or the other and can hardly now be described as healthy old growth forest. In some isolated valleys some very small patches of original forest do remain. Is the Huben-Hushan IBA healthy enough to be genuinely attractive to Black Eagles or is there more to it? Could it be that as healthy mountain forest habitat is being lost, young Black Eagles are not able to find territories in their original domain and are now being forced into marginal lowland forest habitat like the Huben-Hushan IBA? These are questions that need to be asked and answered before we can truly proclaim the presence of a Black Eagle in the Huben-Hushan IBA as a wonderful development.

Also see:
Indian Black Eagle observed over Huben

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