Santiago Zuluaga (Colombia, 27 years old) has been fascinated with nature from an early age. When he was 14 years old, he participated in the Andean Condor Project in the Los Nevados National Park in Colombia. In 2010 – already a Biology student – he discovered the first young Andean Condor born in a zone where this species was considered extinct for 60 years, on which he published his first paper.
In 2015, he founded an NGO named PAC-Colombia (acronym of Black-and-chestnut Eagle Project), became an advisor for the Red List authority for birds, was author of all raptor species in the Red Book of Threatened Species in Columbia and worked closely with government and private institutions. Currently, he is conducting a PhD project working in collaboration with the Center for Study and Conservation of Birds of Prey in Argentina (CECARA) aiming to preserve the Crowned Solitary Eagle (Buteogallus coronatus) as well as the Black-and-chestnut Eagles. The Crowned Solitary Eagle is one of the most endangered raptor species (IUCN) with a decreasing global population estimated in less than one thousand reproductive individuals.
Santiago will use the Future For Nature Award to produce an interactive film and set up a local network of volunteers to help him perform his research. The film will focus on negative impacts of poaching on endangered species, the role that eagles play in the ecosystems as top predators and the food habits of the species which heavily prey on snakes and vipers, both considered unpleasant by local people. The film, along with other graphical material will be distributed during educational activities at local rural schools and showed and explained to local farmers to raise awareness amongst local communities.