Scarlet macaws released into the wild

The first 9 Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao cyanoptera) that were raised in captivity in the Scarlet Macaw Reproduction Program were recently released in the Sierra del Lacandón National Park, Guatemala. These macaws will support the rapidly declining population in Central America: only 300-400 birds are left in the wild. A challenge is that the large numbers of Scarlet macaws in the Amazon basin keep the species off international endangered species lists, even though the species is becoming extinct in Central America. Seeing the macaws fly away in liberty was an enormous privilege and it motivates us to continue protecting their habitat.

Our partner organization ARCAS, a prominent wildlife rescue center in Guatemala, started the Reproduction Program in 1994. Staff from ARCAS and Defensores de la Naturaleza (FDN) searched for the most adequate place to release the macaws. Sufficient food and water sources had to be available, and the area had to be sparsely inhabited by humans. Sierra del Lacandón fulfilled the prerequisites. Five of the macaws were fitted with GPS collars so they can be monitored for a year to establish their survival, migration patterns, feeding and nesting areas. We´ll keep you posted with news on this first as well as the coming groups to be released.

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