According to a recent article in El Comercio on May 6th, 2009, a recent census taken in the central and northern Ecuadorian Andean Sierra (or highlands) only 27 condors (El Kuntur) were registered. The main reason for the drastic decline in their numbers is that these birds do not find sufficient food easily and their natural habitat is being reduced. Subsequently, birth rates have decline and is putting the Condor at risk of extinction.
In 2002, research conducted by Aves & Conservacion anticipated a reduction in condor numbers when they counted only 60 or 70 condors in total.
The Condor [vultur gryphus] lives in the Andes from Venezuela down to Magallanas (Argentina). They are generally found above 3000 meters above sea level.
Lifespan: roughly 50 years
Weight: between 11 & 13 kg
Wing span: 3.5 meters
Diet: dead animals
Incubation: 55 days
Birth: 1 egg each two years
Source: El Comercio.com
Galapagos National Park authorities have decided to take preventive measures in the ports and access airports to the islands to avoid the entrance of the ‘swine flu” (or “novel flu” as it is now being named) virus.
These measure include the mandatory use of masks and surgical gloves for all personnel that work in these sectors.
The arrival sections of the airports, along with the docks, will be fumigated with disinfectant after each flight. Foot baths will also be implemented with disinfectant.
According to an official statement of the Park authorities, the waste from the airplanes that arrive to Galapagos will stay on board and they won’t be able to be disembarked in the airports of the islands.
All the passengers that arrive to the islands, will disinfect their hands with alcohol to 75%, before the exit of the room of arrival of the airports.
FROM THE WHO (World Health Organization)
The World Health Organization on Wednesday raised its global pandemic alert level to five — its second highest level — meaning a pandemic is imminent and countries must finalize preparations to deal with the outbreak of swine flu.
“Based on assessments of all available information and following several expert consultations, I have decided to raise the current level of influenza pandemic alert from Phase 4 to Phase 5,” WHO director general Margaret Chan said during a briefing from the organization’s headquarters in Geneva.
Phase 5 is called when there is human-to-human spread of a virus in at least two countries in one region, according to WHO’s pandemic response guidelines.
The WHO said Wednesday that laboratory tests have confirmed 114 cases in seven countries, including:
* 19 cases in Canada.
* 91 cases in U.S. with one reported death.
* 26 cases in Mexico with seven reported deaths.
* Two cases in Israel.
* Four cases in Spain.
* Two cases in the United Kingdom.
* Two cases in New Zealand.