We are delighted to announce our second annual Marion Paviour Award goes to Diego Mendez for his project with King Vultures in central Bolivia. The purpose of our Marion Paviour Award is to further research into the conservation of birds of prey and is intended to support early-career researchers working towards this goal. Diego tells us a bit more about himself and his project:
“Hi! I am Diego Méndez, biologist from Bolivia, I have been studying raptors in my country since 2011 and I am currently a doctoral student at the Department of Ecology of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, researching on Neotropical vultures.
“Apart from being easily distinguishable due to its flamboyant appearance, the King Vulture may arguably be one of the most understudied raptors in South America. Its decline, like that of vultures in general, can have relevant ecological and environmental consequences, thus I consider vital to fill the current knowledge gaps to develop conservation actions for such a key species.
“I will use the funds of the Marion Paviour Award to survey roosts, foraging grounds and, potentially, nests of the King Vulture in central Bolivia. All together, these are critical sites for the conservation of the species and I expect to provide information on the status, distribution and number of these sites, so that managers, decision makers and local communities are better informed on how to effectively preserve and protect them.
“I am deeply thankful to the Hawk Conservancy Trust for supporting my research; how challenging and gratifying at the same time. I’ll do my best!”
We are very excited to see how Diego’s project develops, and will keep you updated!