Your Majesty the Andean Condor

Your Majesty the Andean Condor

The Incas believed that the condor was immortal. According to the myth, when the animal feels that it begins to age and that its strength runs out, it rests on the highest and most protruding peak of the mountains, folds its wings, collects its legs and lets itself sink to the bottom.

Of the gorges, where his reign ends. This death is symbolic, because with this act the condor returns to the nest, to the mountains, from where it is reborn towards a new cycle, a new life.

The condor symbolize strength, intelligence and exaltation. It was an animal respected by all those who lived in the Andes, since not only brought good and bad omens, but also was responsible for the sun to leave every morning, because with his energy was able to take the star and raise it on the mountains beginning the life cycle.

Condor
Condor

The Incas entered the scene in the mid-fifteenth century and lasted a hundred years until the arrival of the Spanish. The occupation of Tiwanaku took place around 1,445. They formed an empire called Tahuantinsuyo and established their capital in Cuzco.

There is the consecrated Temple of the Sun where religious ceremonies were held in which “animals were sacrificed, except for some totemic nature such as the puma and the condor”.

For the Incas the condor or Apu Kuntur was a “Messenger of the Gods” who flew to the upper level of the religious world (the Hanan Pacha) and then take the prayers to the gods.

Every day the condor raises the sun above the sky, It represents the union between Hanan Pacha and Kay Pacha.
Traditions say that a dead condor fell in the “House of the Virgins of the Sun”, which was interpreted as an announcement of the destruction of Tahuantinsuyo.

Also in Cuzco, the Fortaleza de Sacsayhuaman had, despite the different interpretations given by the chroniclers, a preponderantly religious function.

For many scholars, its three walls represent the three levels of the Andean religious world to which reference has been made. Who has best described the monument has been the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

Originally there were three zigzagging and parallel stone walls built at different levels, and of enormous dimensions. At the moment only the bases of these three walls are conserved.

The one in the middle would be the Apu Kuntur. Continuing with the Inca legacy, in a wall of Macchu Picchu, in the Urubamba Valley, there is a petroglyph with the image of a condor. The condor was well represented in the Incas culture as one other deities of the Andean world.

The Condor and its existence in nowadays

Today, the existence of the Condor suffers its direct deferral of which man is responsible.
This responsibility comes directly from some festivities that usually take place in Andean places. One of these festivities is the Yawar Fiesta (Feast of blood). The main protagonists are El Condor and the bull.

I believe any celebration in which live animals are used for their realization, is incompatible with the modern world in which we live. I think that respect for animal life should be preponderant in any case.

In this regards, ‘Yawar fiesta’, which is still celebrated in the provinces of Ayacucho and Apurimac ( to mention few), the locals represent the abuses of the Spanish during the conquest towards the indigenous.

The local indigenous use a symbology involving a bull ( as the spaniards ), and an Andean condor (as their own people) with the objective of seeking a nonsense revenge.

In this way, the bull symbolizes the gamonal, Spanish politician who exploited the Peruvian commoners. These, in turn, are represented by the condor, rapacious venerated and protected by the Andeans.

In the ceremony, the condor, will avenge the comuneros of the oppressive symbol, the bull, which will end up dying.

The preparations for this nonsense party are developed by capturing the bull in a bloody manner, by most of the men in the community.
The capture of the condor is more ceremonious, since it is considered a sacred animal. In principle, a sheep carcass is deposited in a crater and a condor is expected to arrive.

This bird is distrustful and elusive, which can delay waiting for days. When it finally goes down to feed on the carrion, the indigenous who waited, capture the bird, before the condor can take the possibility of flightying for being cornered to a very reduced space.

The bird is ceremoniously transported to the village on a journey where he is taken care of drinking brandy (although the caring side is questionable ). The day of the party is anchored to the bull by rings that have previously been sewn to the skin of the horned.

are developed by capturing the bull in a bloody manner, by most of the men in the community.
The capture of the condor is more ceremonious, since it is considered a sacred animal. In principle, a sheep carcass is deposited in a crater and a condor is expected to arrive.

This bird is distrustful and elusive, which can delay waiting for days. When it finally goes down to feed on the carrion, the indigenous who waited, capture the bird, before the condor can take the possibility of flightying for being cornered to a very reduced space.

The bird is ceremoniously transported to the village on a journey where he is taken care of drinking brandy (although the caring side is questionable ). The day of the party is anchored to the bull by rings that have previously been sewn to the skin of the horned.

In the ceremony, the condor and the bull come to the ring together while the bull tries to get rid of the bird, which defends itself by throwing pecks. I imagine that the hips of the condor must suffer some of this movements causing a damage, perhaps, irreparable.

The condor, in all this process, runs the risk of dying. If this happened, it would be interpreted as a sign that a misfortune ensues over the community, so if the bird emerges unscathed, it is released. But are the populations of these winged giants so well preserved understand fully what are they doing?

The Andean condors have an extremely conservative life strategy (low fertility, high longevity and very low adult mortality), this makes them good candidates for unnatural mortality and the pressure in an increasingly humanized environment is highly relevant for the species.

In a study conducted on the border between Argentina and Chile, some of the threats to the populations of condors are revealed. One of them is lead poisoning due to the ingestion of corpses killed by hunters.

Another serious threat is due to an intrinsic characteristic of the species such as its sexual dimorphism. The male condor is up to 30% larger than the female, which leads to a segregation of sexes during the search for food.

While the males seek and take advantage of the carrion located in areas of greater slope, the females are pushed to visit frequently flatter areas such as valley bottoms that are more humanized environments, where the risk of accident or persecution is greater.

The males avoid these flat areas because being much larger and heavier, they find many difficulties in ascending the flight. This determines that while the proportion of sexes is similar in juvenile stages, when the condors reach adulthood, males can be four times more numerous than females.

In addition, the classic threats continue to act on the population of condors, poisoning by baits, direct persecution, loss of habitats makes only a management of the territory on a continental scale gives a good ray of hope to this charismatic species .

Throughout this framework, a celebration like the Yáwar fiesta can not benefit at all the battered populations of these huge protected birds.

A light within the law

A response began in 2013 in which the government of Peru and the Autonomous Authority of the Colca in Arequipa (Autocolca) presented a bill to prevent the extinction of the Andean condor.

The initiative seeks to create a legal framework for the protection and conservation of the Andean condor and criminalize with up to five years in prison anyone who captures this animal.

As the law become effect, nowadays, hunting, capture and commercialization of the Condor is prohibited, as it will be sanctioned with effective imprisonment, according to article 308 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Peru.

There is a National Conservation Plan for the Condor until 2025, whose objective is to mitigate threats and promote the preservation of this species and its habitats in Peru.

The Andean rangers still intervene in some parties of the war and manage to rescue this noble bird, to return it to its habitat of Andean majesty.

til 2025, whose objective is to mitigate threats and promote the preservation of this species and its habitats in Peru.
The Andean rangers still intervene in some parties of the war and manage to rescue this noble bird, to return it to its habitat of Andean majesty.