Posted: Friday, September 30, 2022. 10:26 am CST.
By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: The 2022 Scarlet Macaw breeding season has ended with much success in the Chiquibul, thanks to a total of 13 volunteers who assisted in biomonitoring and the arduous work of the Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) Research Unit.
By the end of the season, in September, a total of 24 macaws made it to the wild, FCD noted.
With a population of approximately 350 individual parrots found in Belize, these young macaws will strengthen the natural population.
The Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao cyanoptera), representing Belize’s largest parrot species, is locally endangered primarily due to wildlife trafficking and habitat loss.
It is listed as a species of high conservation concern in the Wildlife Protection Act of Belize.
The Chiquibul Forest is the key foraging and breeding habitat for the species in Belize, as a result, FCD has systematically been documenting and conducting biological monitoring of the species for more than 8 years.
Three years ago, FCD also instituted an Antipoaching Unit to intercept and deter poachers who become the main threat to macaws in the Western Maya Mountains.
This season FCD’s Bio Monitoring Team monitored a total of 15 nests with chicks, out of which twenty grew and fledged naturally from their cavity.
There was 1 unfortunate event in which one of the chicks died due to natural causes, probably due to suffocation as a result of flood flies invading its cavity, FCD said.
Four other chicks had to be extracted to a laboratory, due to the high risk of poaching and were later soft released into the wild.
There was no instance of documented poaching in the monitored areas; however, evidence from ranger observations and reports from Guatemala indicates that poaching of scarlet macaw chicks did occur in other parts of their breeding grounds in the Chiquibul.
The illegal wildlife trafficking activity emanates from Guatemala where poachers annually operate in the Chiquibul seeking the scarlet macaws for the pet trade.
The conservation efforts this year were made possible with financial assistance from the Protected Areas Conservation Trust, Nature Trust of the Americas, Harvest Caye Conservation Foundation, and Fortis Belize.
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