2012 Scarlet Macaw Protection Documentary

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Working with partners across borders

Female Scarlet stands guard at the entrance to her nest. Notice the nest is on a dead tree. This is just one of the many nesting trees which died after the reservoir was flooded. The dam brought higher energy rates at the expense of an endangered and declining species. Not only did nesting trees get affected, but also critical foraging habitat. 

Approaching the confluence. This used to be a large floodplain with dozens of large Quamwoods suitable for nesting and as food source. Now, only a few dry trunks pierce above the waterline. Yet, the beauty in the background still reminds us of the magic left in this forest...

Why I work in the natural world? For its sheer beauty and staggering resilience! The Chiquibul has survived the country's largest and most devastating Hydro dam, poaching every year for the past two decades and beyond, illegal hunting and logging in multi million figures, illegal farming and settlements... its been thru it all. Yet, the beauty within, springs right back, sometimes in the simplicity of a gentle rainfall over the canopy... sometimes in a towering and more formidable manner.

This year our colleagues from WCS-Guatemala once again sent us help. Here one of their expert climbers goes up to retrieve the chicks from the nest. Below our wildlife vets wait anxiously to begin health checks.

Dr. LoraKim Joyner shows me that the stet goes on the chest, not the head, to listen for heartbeats. LOL. I was listening to neural activity. 

Hope in such a tiny body. And to think that this lil scarlet could bring new genes to this isolated population, hope for the species, all in such a tiny lil body! 

 Listening to a tiny Scarlet Macaw chick's heart beat. It instills so much hope into me, replenishes my pride and polishes my determination to help save these iconic birds of the Maya Forest.

Check out posts by our Partners:



Saturday, April 20, 2013

A few stumbles but a great start

This past week we deployed the guys to the field to begin locating nest sites and begin the monitoring and protection season. After adequate training, the crew is ready to climb trees this year. After an early start we arrived at the reservoir and began the journey upstream and keeping a close lookout for active nests.

It wasn't long before we began to locate new nest sites. Time to chop our way over to it.

After arriving at the nest it's time to pull the line over and then the rope. It was quite a steep shot so it took a few attempts before we got the finishing line over. Once that was accomplished everything else happened pretty quickly. The female observed us from a nearby tree.

Charles climbed the first nest to kick off the 2013 monitoring season. There were 4 eggs! (Photos coming soon).

Coming back down is always a little bit of a relief.

We continued upstream until we reached a pair of nests that were under intense pressure last year. We started almost a month earlier this year so we're hoping these nests will be able to avoid the poaching they experienced last year. They did successfully re-nest last year but it'll be great if they can finish up earlier this year. The female patiently watched and waited for us to finish up.

Evidence of poaching from prior years.

Rudi and Luis getting the rope prepped to haul over while Rufino get's his climbing hear ready.

Here is Rufino climbing his first wild Scarlet Macaw nest!

He took some photos in the nest and observed three eggs. Unfortunately, there were small bees nearby that didn't like his presence one bit.

The female flew off and came back later on with her mate to observe us.

The guys stayed up there for a week searching for new nests. Six nests were observed and one more climbed which had 3 eggs. One of the eggs was predated, we believe by a lizard. The boat suffered a puncture but was repaired at the end of the week. The jeep also is experiencing clutch problems, but will get repaired soon. Conservation is not without its complications that's for sure. 

The crew headed back out yesterday and next week will be a nice advancement in the program. Drs. LoraKim Joyner and Isabelle Paquet-Durand will be heading out with us to provide guidance and training with monitoring the health of chicks for this season. Little by little we are advancing the Scarlet Macaw conservation program in Belize.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The 2013 Scarlet Macaw nest protection effort has kicked off! After a delay starting out training on Mountain Pine Ridge, we headed down to San Antonio Village to conduct climbing training. So, the Jeep clutch went out. The guys did fantastic! Two solid days learning the ropes (literally), safety, data collection, etc. However, the crew is now ready to take the monitoring this year to the next level.

Belarmino, Rufino, and Charles working on setting up the gear.

Rufino all geared up to climb.

Rufino on the rope.

And up he goes.

Good times...

Luis heading up the rope.

Belars getting comfortable on the rope.

Going over the datasheets/

Rudi heading up.