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散文佳作108篇 第78期:Killer on Wings Is Under Threat 飞翔的杀手正受到威胁

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Killer on Wings Is Under Threat

飞翔的杀手正受到威胁
飞翔的杀手正受到威胁

Could anything be more majestic, serene or threatening than the largest bird of prey in theworld, the harpy eagle, soaring above its domain? Weighing nine kilograms and with a 2.2-metre wingspan, this giant of the .sky glides at 65 kilometres per hour over dense Brazilianrainforest. Its cruel head with flaring coloured crest and huge hooked beak twists constantlyfrom side to side.

有什么比世界上最大的食肉猛禽热带大雕在它的领地上方搏击长空更加壮丽,更加安详,又更具威胁性呢?体重九公斤,翼幅达2.2米的空中巨物在茂密的巴西雨林上空以每小时65公里的速度滑翔。它那长着展开的有色肉冠和巨大钩状鹰嘴的残暴的脑袋木断地向两边扭来扭去。

It spots a monkey in a treetop 2.5 kilometres away and zeroes in on its prey. The monkeymunches on, oblirious to the threat. Then the eagle strikes,plucking its prey from its perchwith talons bome on legs the thickness of your wrists. The monkey dies instantly, pierced bythe talons. The eagle carries the body back to its treetop lair. The famed and feared harpyeagle has killed again.

它发现了2.5公里之外树梢上的一只猴子,就立即把注意力集中在这只猎物身上。猴子全然不知威胁的存在,仍在津津有味地咀嚼着。大雕发起了进攻,用它的利爪将猎物从树枝上一把抓了起来,那利爪长在与人的手腕一般粗的腿上。被利爪刺穿了的猴子刹时间一命呜呼。大雕将其尸体带回树梢上的窝里。鼎鼎大名、令人生畏的热带大雕又杀生了。

Whether this frightening creature does indeed soar like other eagles in search of prey is opento conjecture . Forless is known about the harpy than any other eagle-the remoteness of itshabitat sees to that. But it has been seen carrying monkeys, sloth and even small deer back toits nest.

这吓人的热带大雕捕食时是否真的和其他鹰类一样翱翔还没有定论,尚待猜测。人们对大雕的了解比对其他鹰类的了解都少——这是因为它的栖息地十分遥远而造成的,但确实见过它将猴子、树獭甚至小鹿带回巢中。

This eagle's extraordinary eyesight is one of its greatest assets. Like many other eagles, it cansee between four and eight times as much detail as canhumans. The result is an ability to seeclearly a smaU monkey at a distance of up to 2.5 kilometres and to judge distances withpinpoint accuracy . The latter is an obvious requirement if prey is to be snatched at speed.

大雕非凡的视力是其最大的优势之一。和许多其他鹰类一样,它看清细节的能力比人类要强四至八倍。这样它就能够看清两点五公里以外的一只小猴子,并能极精确地判定距离,若想快速抓获猎物,准确判断距离很明显是必需的。

It's hard to believe that a creature so well equipped to survive could- ever find itself underthreat. But with huge tracts of rainforest being felled in Centraland South America, the harpy'sfood sources are harder to find.

令人难以置信的是生存条件如此优越的生物竟然也会处于威胁之中,但随着中、南美洲大片热带雨林的被砍伐,大雕的食物来源更为困难。

The threat posed could soon be similar to that facing the harpy's near relative, the Philippinesmonkey-eating eagle. This acutely threatened bird was reduced in numbers to fewer than 100in the wild by the loss of its forest habitat and by the heavy demands of trophy hunters in thePhilippines.

不久,这种威胁就会和热带大雕的近亲——菲律宾食猴鹰所面临的威胁相似了。由于森林栖息地的丧失和菲律宾猎手的大量捕杀,这种受到严重威胁的鸟类的野外数量已减少到不足100只。

Like its Filipino cousm, the harpy eagle nests in the tops of the largest forest trees. It thereforeneeds an intact forest to breed. The seemingly invinable harpy is vulnerable for anotherreason. A mating pair is thought to produce only one eaglet every two years. Harpy eggs takeup to 60 days to hatch and chicks take a further 60 days before they learn to fly. What ismore, the youngster is fed by the parents for many months after it has learned to fly. Annualbreeding then is impossible.

和它的菲律宾同伴一样,热带大雕把巢筑在最大的树顶上。因此,它的繁殖需要一个保持完好的森林环境。似乎不可战胜的热带大雕易受伤害还有一个原因。据信,一对交配的大雕每两年才能生下一个雏雕。雕蛋的孵化需要60天,雏雕学飞之前还需60天。而且,雏雕学会飞行之后还需父母喂养多月。因而,大雕不可能每年繁殖。

Folklore has long held that the harpy eagle preys on human babies as well as forest animals. Tothe ancient Mayans of CentralAmerica the bird was Moan,a bird of ill omen and death. The harpyfrom which the eagle derives its name was a mythical wreaker of vengeance. Yet there is noevidence, according to British naturalist Leslie Brown, that children have ever been taken bythe harpy.

民间传说里,一直认为热带大雕既捕食森林动物,也捕食婴儿。对中美洲的古代玛雅人来说,热带大雕就是Moan,一种带来不祥和死亡的鸟。鹰的名字来自哈比( Harpy),神话中的一个复仇者。然而,按照英国博物学家莱斯利·布朗的说法,还没有证据表明大雕曾经掠走过小孩。

But the Anglia Television Company fflm crew from England that compiled a televisiondocumentary titled Fury of the Forest can vouch for the harpy's ferociousness when its nest isthreatened. One camera team was attacked when filming a pair of harpys mating and nesting.

但制作电视纪录片《森林的愤怒》的英国英吉利电视公司的拍摄人员可以证明:热带大雕,在它的巢穴受到威胁时,是无比凶暴的。一个摄制组在拍摄一对大雕交配和筑巢时受到了它们的袭击。

The harpy eagle does not face the same immediate threat as its Filipino cousin. But if thedestruction of its forest habitat continues at its present rate, the largest of avian predators,too, could join those birds already on the endangered species list. Leslie Brown wrote in 1976that nearly half of the 59 species of eagle were under threat. Those who appreciate naturewill be hoping that the harpy can surmount this threat, to soar on over the forests of SouthAmerica.


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