Our partner, Jambelí Rescue Center, is the only captivity-breeding site of this endangered species. Generally, their specimens arrive at the center as victims of illegal trafficking, which is the main threat of this species and other parrots. Currently, they have five breeding pairs, so ten individuals were carefully selected to be part of this important process.
The Ayampe Reserve is a communal property of 2,000 hectares managed by the Jocotoco Foundation, and Las Tunas and Ayampe Communes since 2010. It borders the Machalilla National Park, for which we have received broad support from the Ministry of the Environment and local authorities.
The ten macaws are the first group of parrots that were released in the reserve. They were transferred at the end of July to a pre-adaptation cage in the Ayampe Reserve. The cage measures 20 meters long, 5 meters wide and 6 meters high. The macaws could exercise and strengthen their flight muscles throughout this period. Seeds and native fruits were included in their diet so that, once released in the forest, they could find food for themselves. The macaws accepted the native food immediately.
Three months after the transfer, the macaws were ready to be gradually released. It means that food is kept in strategically located feeders until they can feed themselves. Additionally to release them, it was necessary to place telemetry devices in order to locate them once free. It will determine the success of the project and the possible people-fauna conflicts. The selected telemetry equipment was destroyed by their peaks, days before the liberation. For this reason, we decided to release only four individuals who would not move away from the pre-release cage. These four individuals are being monitored by our rangers. The next step is to find a telemetry device that works and would help free the remaining ones.
Environmental education is a key component in this project. We have implemented socialization campaigns for the project with children, adolescents and adults in all the communities surrounding the liberation site. The story "Ara the macaw” was given to the children in different schools. The children are learning about the importance of forests and avoiding having wild animals as pets. As can been see, we received a monumental support from local communities. We believe that together, the project will definitely be a success.
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We are looking for volunteers for the monitoring phase and future reintroductions.
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