More than just an organization, we are an active community tasked with acting as an impartial authority, presenting objective information and data in order to promote the study and conservation of Puerto Rico's natural resources in a responsible and sustainable manner. We seek to promote an ecosystem approach, in which humans play a key role in its survival.
The Puerto Rico Ornithological Society, Inc.,
also known as SOPI for its initials in Spanish,
is a non-profit organization focused on increasing awareness of Puerto Rico's bird life, the conservation
and sustainable management of its habitats and overall ecosystems that surround us.
To this end, SOPI organizes and
offers recurring activities, including
bird identification workshops,
informative walks and talks aimed
at the general public.
The organization works to promote
a conservation vision that
incorporates entire ecosystems
and their services, through
scientific research and activities
designed to provide up to date
information on the status of avian
species on the island. SOPI's guiding principles of transparency, respectful use of natural resources and inclusion of all citizens influence the organization's decision making process.
SOPI is affiliated to wildlife and conservation oriented organizations. As part of our mission we collaborate and share resources in order to increase awareness and affect change in avian and ecosystem conservation in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
Since 1995 SOPI has been part
of multiple projects with the effort
of protecting out birds and ecosystems.
Here are some of our most important achievements and collaborations.
FUNDACIÓN DE LA
THE IBA PROGRAM
SOPI begins implementing Bird Life International's IBA Program ("Important Bird Areas") in Puerto Rico. The program is part of a global initiative whose purpose is to ensure the long term conservation of a network of critical areas for avian species and biodiversity.
For more information click here.
OF PUERTO RICO IBAs
SOPI announces the designation of 20 important areas for the conservation of birds in Puerto Rico (IBAs). The designated areas all meet the uniform criteria established by BirdLife International, which administers the program globally.
The designated areas include state forests, natural reserves and privately owned lands. Click here to learn about Puerto Rico's IBAs.
SOPI, through a collaborative agreement with Para La Naturaleza, launches and co-manages the Puerto Rico eBird portal, the digital birding data platform created and maintained by the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology.
eBIRD PUERTO RICO
STUDY OF THE
SOPI and BirdLife International designate the
entire extension of Caño Tiburones
as an "Importan Bird Area in Danger".
The CAFEiCANTO project is part of a collaborative agreement between Cafiescencia and the USDA Forest Service. CAFEiCANTO focuses on reaching farmers and residents of the San Germán, Sabana Grande, Maricao, Yauco and Las Marías municipalities. The surrounding areas of the Maricao, Susúa and Guilarte Forests were targeted in the promotion of sustainable agriculture, shade coffee plantations, water conservation and bird monitoring. SOPI completed a study of avian species present in the area.
FOREST ORNITHOLOGICAL CENTER OPENS
SOPI, through a Collaborative Agreement with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA in spanish) , inaugurated the Ornithological Center in Cambalache State Forest. This is the first environmental education center in Puerto Rico, specializing in birds and their ecosystems. The center allows the observation of birds in their natural habitat, species identification through birdsong and the details of species' natural histories.
UPDATE: The Cambalache State Forest Ornithological Center suffered extensive damages during the passage of hurricanes Irma and María in 2017. It remains closed to the public while SOPI identifies the necessary funds and resources to rehabilitate the center and reopen the facilities to the general public.
If you'd like to make a donation
to support our efforts click here.
SOPI publicly demands that government agencies recognize the true extent of the Caño Tiburones Nature Reserve. With the agencies failing to address this issue, SOPI - assisted by the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Puerto Rico - filed a Mandamus a the High Court in San Juan. Through these proceedings, SOPI solicited an order for the concerned agencies to comply with Puerto Rico Law 314, and protect the full extent of the wetland. Using accepted USGS layers, SOPI identified unprotected terrains that fall under the definition of "wetland", as established by Puerto Rico Law 314.
UPDATE: In 2018, after three years, High Court Judge Anthony Cuevas ordered the government to extend the Caño Tiburones Nature Reserve from 3,805 to 7,000 acres. However in 2019, the concerned government agencies presented a claim in the Puerto Rico Appeals Court stating that the case is paralyzed since May 3rd, 2017, due to the petition made by the Fiscal Control Board to restructure the Puerto Rico Government's debt.
SOPI is committed to this cause, and will not stop demanding the protection of the full extent of the Caño Tiburones Nature Reserve. We believe this is a clear and just claim for the people of Puerto Rico and their environment.
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT FOR
THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (FCC)
SOPI conducts an Environmental Assessment for the Federal Communications Commision (FCC) related to the presence of the endangered Puerto Rican Nightjar (Antrostomus noctitherus) in the municipality of Sabana Grande, as follow up to the study completed in 2015. Our results, in concert with local community actions, were instrumental to the protection of the endemic species' natural habitat.
SOPI is designated as a Species
Guardian by BirdLife International.
For more information clock here.
HURRICANES IRMA & MARÍA
SOPI has always taken into account the high value of Puerto Rico's flora and fauna, with a special interest in birds. After the devastation of the two storms on the island, SOPI focused all its efforts in helping communities and documenting the impact of the hurricanes on our natural resources. This was possible thanks to the help of organizations such as the National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, private businesses and individuals.
SOPI and the National Wildlife Federation join forces to seek the approval of the project known as RAWA, "Recovering America's Wildlife Act", in Washington DC. If approved, the law would bring approximately
6 million dollars for the protection of the island's natural resources, and contribute to the growth of our local economy.
INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP: CONSERVING CARIBBEAN SHOREBIRDS & THEIR HABITATS
SOPI, with the support of USFWS, and in partnership with BirdsCaribbean and Manomet, hosted an international workshop on shorebirds: their identification, survey methods, ecology and conservation issues for these species. The workshop took place in Cabo Rojo, and facilitated an encounter between local and Caribbean organizations, with the aim of standardizing our survey methods during the species' migratory seasons.
SOPI continues to move forward, working for a bright future by protecting our birds, our habitats and educating our community.