Rus, Rus – La Moskitia, Honduras
When we left the field site surrounding Rus, Rus in June, 2011 we knew 13 chicks needed protecting from poachers The communities of Rus Rus and Mabita organized parrot patrols. The men of the community donated their time, and also got financial support from Born Free and Lafeber Conservation and Wildlife to support these activities. This effort was coordinated by Santiago Lacuth Montoya of Mabita. (For previous blogs on this unfolding story click here, and here, and here).
Almost immediately after the scientific team left the area, poachers moved in and took chicks from our nests. However, Santiago and his parrot patrols were alert to this development and confiscated 7 chicks from the poachers. We deliberated what would be the best course for these birds, and if we could risk their lives and well-being by trying to release them near their wild families. The decision was made to let the chicks mature to fledging age and then to slowly release them by opening the temporary cage doors and allowing them to roam further and further every day. Through this effort, 6 of the chicks are now free flying and come back to their holding cage in the center of Mabita every night for feeding and protection. The 7th chick suffered a wing injury when it was taken from its nest by the poachers, and is currently with 5 others in Puerto Lempira, awaiting release in Mabita in the next few weeks.
Santiago also reported to me that 6 chicks fledged successfully in the wild, and only one of the 13 was lost permanently to poachers.
So here’s how I sum up the success of the parrot patrols…resounding!!! The efforts of the people of these communities resulted in 12 of the 13 chicks being able to stay in the wild near to their flocks and families, instead of spending the rest of their lives in small cages. They also were able to return a 14th chick to the wild from a nest we had not studied.
Releasing confiscated birds is never an easy endeavor. That is why this “first try” is so amazing. It also lets us know that with international financial resources combined with commitment of these indigenous people, the parrots can be protected until we find a way to stabilize the area so the birds can fledge naturally and safely.
Given these results, we are already planning on having parrot patrols February – July 2012. Please consider giving to our Adopt a Nest Program or contributing any amount you can.
In hope of peace for the people and parrots of the world,