With the help of twenty-eight amazing donors, Intertwined Conservation Corporation raised $1000 as part of a fundraiser for scarlet macaw research and protection.
The fundraiser, called “Bikes for Biologists,” happened through gofundme.com, and the proceeds will be used to purchase four new aluminum bicycles for the Wild Macaw Association.
Founded in 2014, the WMA is a Costa Rican nonprofit organization that monitors wild populations of scarlet macaws in Tiskita, Costa Rica. Though once extinct in the region due to habitat loss and wildlife trafficking, between 2002 and 2014 seventy-five scarlet macaws were successfully reintroduced to the area.
Walking through Tiskita is a very ineffective way to track the birds. The known flight range of the released macaws is over 15,500 hectares—an area about the size of Washington, D.C.
Additionally, the region is heavily forested and mountainous, with few trails or roads. In order to successfully track and monitor the birds, bicycles are a necessity for traveling across the long, difficult terrain.
But recently, the last of the WMA’s old bicycles broke down beyond repair.
Living up to its label as a rainforest, Tiskita receives between 100 and 150 inches of rain annually. It is a hot and humid environment, and bicycles can easily rust and break down.
The four new bicycles from the fundraiser will help the WMA successfully monitor the macaws, by traveling quickly through the forests and trails.
Every day WMA biologists monitor known sites. Tracking is done visually, and there are no electronic tracking devices for the welfare of the birds. Before the birds were released, each one had an ID picture taken. Each bird’s band, feather markings, and other various distinguishing features were noted, and WMA biologists use these identify each bird.
Since 2008, some of the reintroduced scarlet macaws have successfully bred. Over thirty wild-born fledglings have been observed by WMA biologists. There is no nest management of these macaws.
The seventy-five reintroduced birds came from the Tiskita Scarlet Macaw Reintroduction & Conservation Program, a breeding program started by Richard and Margot Frisius. The WMA was formed by biologist Ilona Thewissen and other specialists in order to protect these reintroduced birds.
In the future, more releases into Tiskita may take place using birds rehabilitated from the pet trade.
Long term project goals of the WMA include establishing a viable Scarlet Macaw population, using the macaws as a flagship species to protect the greater habitat, and creating conservation career opportunities to protect these birds.
More information and opportunities to parter with the WMA can be found on their website.