Project Protects Military Macaw Nests from Poachers

GR.– The green body of these Macaws remind of Poirot, the mischievous little parrot in my children’s stories.  In one story, Poirot comes close to becoming a victim of the pet trade.

Juan Carlos Cantu.– “For the third year in a row, this nest monitoring project prevented poaching of endangered military macaws.

“At one time, you could see the striking plumage of the military macaw up and down the length of Mexico. But over decades, as we lost swaths of forest habitat and saw poaching for the illegal pet trade become more aggressive, these birds began to disappear from the wild. Today, only a few thousand remain in Mexico, in small, fragmented areas isolated from one another. And the threats that put this species in danger still continue.

“Military macaws are one of the most sought-after parrot species in all of Mexico for the illegal pet trade. While poachers will take macaws of any age, nestlings are the most vulnerable. And the methods they use to reach these young parrots are devastating in more ways than one.

“Military macaws nest in cavities high up in trees. To reach a nest, poachers will often cut down the entire tree – a practice that puts the nestlings in danger, and destroys healthy nesting habitat for the species. So three years ago, we joined forces with a team of scientists in Puerto Vallarta to start a nest monitoring program. With a watchful eye on a specific group of nests, the scientists could collect important data about these birds in the wild. And if poachers knew the nests were monitored, they would be less likely to strike.

“This year, I’m happy to say that we closed out the third successful season of the project in a row! MS Carlos Bonilla and his team of researchers were able to monitor 22 nests this season, 14 of which had successful parents rearing chicks until they fledged the nest. Not one of these nests was poached by traffickers. The end result: 15 fledgling macaws safely left their nests with their parents.”  Continue reading: Project Protects Military Macaw Nests from Poachers

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