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Feb 25, 2020

Great Expectations for the Ridgway's Hawk population in 2020!

Ridgway's hawk (Buteo ridgwayi) hunting a snake.
Ridgway's hawk (Buteo ridgwayi) hunting a snake.

A new year has come and with it a new Ridgway’s Hawk nesting season. We are especially grateful for the opportunity continue preserving this critically endangered species and the opportunity to keep improving our methods.

As this new season starts, we are preparing ourselves for the next six months of incredibly hard work monitoring and managing the Ridgway’s Hawk in Punta Cana, Los Haitises National Park, and now at our newest release site, Aniana Vargas National Park.

Last nesting season in Puntacana was our most productive season yet with a total of 19 new hawks recruited into the population. Wild pairs in Puntacana hatched 17 of these young and two young were fostered into wild nests due to their nests in Los Haitises National Park being destroyed. This is beyond exciting and we always hope that we can be at least as successful this year as the last. This season we will continue to monitor and manage nests in Puntacana to maximize productivity. We will also search for new nesting pairs and individuals as well as continue with environmental education activities.

In Los Haitises National Park, we continue monitoring and management of the hawk population. Currently we have four teams including 18 individuals working to accomplish all of this work. The work in LHNP is crucial to the goals of our project. Bolstering this population as well as allowing us to relocate at least some young to other areas are only possible with this intensive hands on management. Last year, 126 young reached fledging.

In Aniana Vargas National Park, we are preparing for another season with plans to release 25 additional young. It is amazing to see how excited people in the community are to watch the population of Ridgway’s Hawk grow over the next few years. The project has made a positive impact in this community. Last season four tours went to Los Brazos in Aniana Vargas National Park, where over 40 visitor were able to see the release process and how the project works in this community. The people on the tour ate at one of the local people's homes, giving them an income that they did not have before. We will continue to do this at least a few times a year. It is important to give locals the opportunity to get to know the Ridgway’s Hawk and to be inspired to protect what is theirs.

While all of this fieldwork is taking place, the need to continue environmental eduction never stops. Last year we reached more than 2,000 new people who did not know about the Ridgway’s Hawk. We achieved this through door-to-door visits, teacher training workshops, as well as visiting schools and new communities. This year we are planning some amazing activities for the Ridgway’s Hawk week!!

For now, the fieldwork is just beginning and an amazing season awaits!

Feb 13, 2020

Coral Gardeners involved in more project related activities and in the 5th Edition of Coralmania!

New Coral Nursery
New Coral Nursery

During this period, the coral gardening group, in addition to their assigned activities (maintenance of the nursery, coral transplantation, etc.) has been involved in different projects developed at the Center for Marine Innovation (CIM), among them are:

  • Monitoring the status of parrotfish populations. The Coral Gardeners have been trained in the identification of different species of parrotfish and their different lifecycle phases. This work has improved their understanding of the importance of parrotfish to healthy coral reefs and it ensures that they continue to improve their capacity.
  • Seagrass population status at Puntacana Resort & Club. Working along side a visiting researcher, the fishermen helped marked permanent sites for the long-term study of the condition of seagrasses and their associated fauna.
  • Coral monitoring. Assisted another visiting scientist in her evaluation of the density and richness of coral recruits at a restoration site called the “Coliseum.” They also supported the identification of coral babies (recruits), as well as the monitoring of the benthos of this site.

The Coral Gardeners also lead the effort to create a second coral nursery in the Puntacana Resort & Club reef area and participated in the 5th Edition of Coralmania in November 2019. Coralmania is a massive outplanting event held by the Dominican Coastal Restoration Consortium where coral reef administrators, managers, restoration practitioners, government representatives, tourists and many others come together for 2-4 days to transplant coral fragments from the local nursery back on to the natural reef. Their participation and leadership resulted in over 1,700 coral fragments being transplanted; the largest restoration effort of the Coralmanias’ to-date.

New Coral Nursery (2)
New Coral Nursery (2)
Monitoring coral recruits at the Coliseum
Monitoring coral recruits at the Coliseum
5th Edition of Coralmania
5th Edition of Coralmania
5th Edition of Coralmania 2
5th Edition of Coralmania 2
5th Edition of Coralmania (3)
5th Edition of Coralmania (3)
Dec 9, 2019

Boosting the fundraising

Greetings Dear Donor. Your support means a lot to us, we at the Fundación Grupo Puntacana can’t tell you how much we appreciate it.   

Your contribution will make a great change in the lives of the underserved people  who could be at risk of blindness due to lack of timely ophthalmological care, especially those who live in the vulnerable communities at the eastern region of the Dominican Republic

We are currently intensifying the fundraising aiming to finish the construction of the  clinic areas on the first half of 2020, in order to start offering the outpatient consultations services in the first stage of the project.

We hope to offer surgical services in the second stage of the project, the surgical  equipment needs to be placed anyway even if only the clinical area is finished.

Parallel to these actions, we are making efforts to reach a collaboration agreement with the Dominican government to put the center into operation with local human resources, of which some would be provided by the goverment.   

Likewise, we are making the customs arrangements to get the taxes exemption on the importation of the equipment.

 We hope to open the center in the second quarter of 2020, as soon as it has the equipment, furniture, medical materials and staffing needed to ensure high quality ophthalmological services.

 We will keep you informed about the progress of the project. If you have any comment, advice or question, please feel free to direct them to us and we will answer as best we can.

We are together in this and we hope that it will remain so , your support  help make our project possible

  Again, thank you very much !

All the best,

 
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