Rescued Macaw Chicks Thriving

 
Two scarlet macaw chicks bound for the pet trade were rescued in Costa Rica last month.
 
Chris Castles with Hatched to Fly Free received two scarlet macaw chicks that were poached from their nests. A friend of the organization found the chicks in the possession of a local family that had been hired to get two macaw chicks. The person who hired the poachers to get the chicks never returned to collect them.
 
As the local family could no longer care for the growing chicks, they surrendered the chicks to Hatched to Fly Free.
 
Both of the scarlet macaw chicks are very friendly.

Scarlet Macaw Chicks

Rescued Scarlet Macaw Chicks

 
Though nothing is known about the chicks’ parentage, due to their size difference Castles believes they are from different nests. Since being taken in by hatched to fly free, both chicks have been putting on weight and developing quickly.
 
When the unnamed macaw chicks are old enough, they will be released back out into the wild.
 
The chicks were found near Cañaza.
 
Cañaza is a small region north of Puerto Jiménez on the Osa Peninsula on the west side of Costa Rica. It’s near the Reserva Forestal Golfo Dulce, a 56,000 hectare rainforest preserve.
 
Castles is the director of Hatched to Fly Free, which is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2014 that operates in Costa Rica. Their mission is to establish connections with local communities in order to protect native macaw species.
 
Over the past eleven years, Castles has been responsible for raising and releasing over 150 macaws in Costa Rica.
 
Due to poaching and deforestation, there are currently less than 4000 scarlet macaws left in Costa Rica.

Fundraiser Is a Win for Wildlife

 

WMA Fundraiser

Photo courtesy of the Wild Macaw Association


 
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.