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Hands-on help for the Scarlets

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Dr David Waugh, Correspondent, Loro Parque Fundación, tells us about how hands-on management of chicks helps the conservation of Scarlet Macaws in Guatemala

Deep in the verdant forests of northern Guatemala, an exemplary cross-over between field management and aviculture, of techniques to nurture Scarlet Macaw chicks to independence, is taking place. This initiative is part of a long-term project of WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)-Guatemala, supported by the Loro Parque Fundación (LPF), for the conservation of the northern sub-species of the Scarlet Macaw Ara macao cyanoptera which, as implied by its scientific name, is differentiated by the greater extent of blue in the wings.

There is also another important distinction. Taking into account the huge geographical distribution of the nominate subspecies, macao, through South America north to Costa Rica, the Scarlet Macaw overall is not on the threatened species list. By contrast, the northern subspecies, because of habitat loss and internal trade within its native countries, has disappeared from most of its former haunts and is threatened with extinction.


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