By BBN Staff: The scarlet macaw, one of Belize’s most iconic bird species, is in real danger of becoming extinct, according to a new report issued by Friends of Conservation and Development (FCD).
FCD, the NGO which co-manages the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, issued a release this week entitled “Macaws in Danger of disappearing,” which speaks on the harmful effects that Guatemalan poachers have had on scarlet macaw populations in the Chiquibul. The FCD noted that for 2019 alone, it has documented more than 25 macaws being taken by poachers.
“Other Guatemalan communities may well be engaged on this activity; therefore, the losses can well be double or triple. If this trend
continues, the species will become extinct in a relatively short period,” the FCD said.
Guatemalan poachers are a regular problem in the Chiquibul and as a result, the FCD has committed to: seek funds to deploy Rangers into more distant areas of the forest; request assistance from the Government of Belize to have vulnerable macaws extracted from the Chiquibul and raised in a laboratory; seek to have the highest penalties imposed for
poachers caught in the act; and seek to have the highest penalties imposed for poachers caught in the act, and systematize a citizen science program that can provide for volunteers to assist in biomonitoring.
The FCD also shared some of the data from the macaw census it conducted earlier this year, noting that Belize has a minimum of 334 individual parrots in the wild. The main breeding ground for the birds is in the
Chiquibul Forest, and they breed during the months of March to August.
“This is the time when the birds are more vulnerable, thus the time when the FCD Research Unit spends its efforts conducting biological monitoring and patrolling the nesting areas. For the 2019 breeding
season, a total of 26 eggs were laid in 10 nests, 13 parrots hatched and 10 fledglings left their nest by the end of the season,” the FCD said.