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The Return
of the  


The 2nd Largest Neotropical Vulture in Latinoamerica 

Gallery of pictures taken with our DSLR CAMERA TRAPPING SYSTEM

Guayaquil natural ecosystem complexity is manifested by 14 types of terrestrial and aquatic (freshwater and marine) ecosystems those which covers roughly 240,202.68 ha being the Tropical Dry Deciduous Lowland Forest (42%) and the Jama - Zapotillo Mangroves Forest (27%) with the biggest extension (Municipio de Guayaquil, 2015). Guayaquil´s Biodiversity is highlighted by more than 1000 vascular plants, almost 330 birds; 40 reptiles and amphibians, 70 mammals those which (40% are Bats); and unique marine species such as the Bottle-Nose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus); and an incalculable terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates.

Despite, its biodiversity there are many species such as raptors and vultures who have not been well estudied yet. 

Guayaquil critically endangered tropical dry forests have becoming the most representative ecosystem for studying King Vultures (Sarcorhampus papa) in Ecuador - South America. 

With Condor Andino Foundation Ecuador, Wild GYE Initiative have been running the conservation program "The Return of The King" where camera trapping and bating have been one of t he methodologies for identifiying trophic hierachy, population estimation and behavioral patterns not only for the King Vulture but also for the two Turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) subspecies and the Black Vulture (Coragyps atractus)

Figure 1: Map of the Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena Hotspot Biodiversity Region. Source: Atlas for the End of the World, 2017. 

Captura de pantalla 2019-05-01 a la(s) 1

The Return of The King conservation program will also streghthen the need of Important Bird Areas (5) in the City of Guayaquil. For this reason, Wild GYE Initiative and

F. Condor Andino entered into an agreement so that, for the first time in history, they can be investigated and conserved along the entire Ecuadorian coast.

Guayaquil has several important areas for research development, conservation and ecotourism based on this

kind of bird. Tropical Coastal Forests Ecosystems has becoming into the spotlight of biologists, ecologists, Wildlife photographers, and conservacionists since its destruction is actively inifluenced by agricultural and urban expansion.

Figure 2: Map of South American Endareger Ecosystems. 

The Two most important ecosystems in the northwestern South America are located in Guayaquil and categorized as Critically Endangered.  Source: Ferre-Paris, et al. 2018.

DOI: 10.1111/conl.12623 

Tropical Dry Forest Guayaquil

Photo 1: Guayaquil Tumbesian Tropical Dry Forest a Critically Endangered Ecosystem (UICN Red List of Ecosystem).

Drone photography taken in over Cerro Blanco Protected Forest.

Objectives and activities

General Objective: 

Conduct a long-term study of King Vultures and other birds of prey to understand their natural history,

population status and for the improvement of the conservation program of the Tropical Coastal Forest Ecosystems.


- Implementation of camera trapping focused on monitoring King Vultures and other birds. 

- Capture / Recapture for satellite tracking of King Vultures.

- Application of Satellite and 3D imagery ecosystem/habitat analysis with drones. 

- Development of an observation circuit for visitors (birdwatchers, photographers and videographers) 

- Implementation of Regenerative ecotourism activity for Birdwatching.

- Establish an education and outreach project for schools and institutions.

- Improve communication towards general community through print-press and social media. 

- Participate in Ornithological and Birdwatching national and international events.

- Establish long-term agreements with NGOs, public and private entities to improve and scale up the program.

Due to King Vulture selectiveness on well grown tropical coastal forests, the outstanding camera trapping program run by The Wild GYE Initiative in Cerro Blanco Protected Forest has showcased the amazing presence of a well establish population; and remarked what Paul Greenfield and other birders/ornithologists have suggested... "Cerro Blanco is one of the best place in Ecuador to see the King around".  

The Return of the King conservation program is growing with the information gathered but also by teaming up with national and international entities willing to add efforts towards the scientifics knowledge as well to the sharing knowledge and technology. We are delighted to thanks Fundacion Condor Andino (Ecuador), The Peregrine Fund (USA), Osa Conservation (Costa Rica), Third Millenium Alliance (USA), Ceiba Foundation (USA), ProBosque (Ecuador) and Photo Wildlife Tour (Ecuador/Spain) to become fully involve into this amazing conservation program.  

logo fundacion condor andino.png

This program is becoming an outstanding example of regional alliances towards the conservation of the King vulture. 

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