Puerto Limpera, Honduras: July 14, 2012
I spoke with Tezla Gonzalez of ICF today and here’s the latest scoop of what is going on with this year’s breeding season chicks….
A month ago when I left Honduras we had 13 chicks in wild nests, and 5 that had been confiscated earlier from our study area. We set in place before we left with the communities of Rus Rus and Mabita an arrangement where the local people would patrol the nests with the 13 chicks daily. Almost immediately the patrols encountered poachers and they confiscated 7 chicks, one with a broken wing. I am guessing that this chick had his or her wing broken when it was forcibly removed from the nest. We ourselves didn’t temporarily remove 4 of the chicks because the nest cavity and entrance did not lend itself to easy and safe extraction. This concern however did not deter the poachers.
I have also heard that there are 3 others Scarlet Macaw chicks at the nearby military base that were recently confiscated, and one Great Green Macaw chick.
Currently Tezla Gonzalez is taking care of 6 of the chicks and the community of Mabita is taking care of the other 6. All these chicks come under her guardianship, and she said she feels like “Mama macao.”
There is good news and bad news in this situation. The bad news is that we did our best to protect these chicks and to keep the macaw families intact, but we were unsuccessful – we still lost most of them. I can tell you that it is easy to be overwhelmed with the immensity of the challenges facing the parrots in this area.
Thank goodness for the good news. There is a growing infrastructure and support to keep these chicks close to their free flying families with the hope of releasing them so they can rejoin the wild flock. I believe that if we can keep up this effort next year with patrols lasting from February – July, this protective presence will eventually turn the tide on people’s perceptions in the area. One day it will no longer be to their advantage to steal the chicks, as community pressure and other economic alternatives abound.
But that is the future. Right now our efforts are twofold.
1. Raising funds to support these parrot patrols starting in February 2012.
2. Caring for these confiscated birds as we develop a release strategy so that they too may know the freedom of flying over their pine savannas.
We would appreciate any help you can give us for cage construction and food for the confiscated birds, and for the patrols starting in 2012.
You may contribute by adopting a nest.
You may also contribute through One Earth Conservation.