Conservationists release 26 scarlet macaws into Guatemala’s tropical forest

As a result of habitat loss and poaching, the scarlet macaw population has been suffering a decreasing trend over the last couple of decades, with fewer than 50,000 of the red bright birds remaining in the wild. But a recent conservation effort brings good news for these handsome tropical parrots.

After being hand-fed and cared for by conservationists in field labs until they were healthy enough to be released, 26 young scarlet macaws were recently set free into the wild at Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR).

The release was part of a holistic suite of interventions from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Guatemala’s National Council of Protected Areas, aiming to save the scarlet macaw population by boosting their numbers in the region’s tropical forests.

In preparation for the release some of the chicks were fitted with VHF transmitters in order to track their movements and learn more about their survivorship rates into the wild. The birds were then placed in flight cages, which are left open to allow them to fly into the forest when they were ready.

“All of us were very excited the day of the release – including the macaw chicks. It was the first time that we had this many chicks inside the flight cage,” Rony Garcia-Anleu, director of the biological research department at WCS Guatemala, told Treehugger. “The atmosphere was one of great joy and hope.”

“I can’t explain the excitement we all felt to see macaws that we raised since they were little chicks or incubated in our camp having a second chance to live free in the jungle,” added Garcia-Anleu.

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