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Jul 27, 2020

Progress Report, July 23, 2020

...Margay after.
...Margay after.

Greetings from Guatemala where the Coronavirus pandemic continues, though it seems to be “flattening” out.  The government is doing fairly well in containing the virus and currently we have 41,135 cases with 1,573 fatalities.  Masks are mandatory, and unessential travel and large gatherings are prohibited.  People are getting sick of the lockdown and the economy is not doing well, but most people realize that this is necessary to beat the virus.  Nonetheless, it’s disturbing to see single mothers with children waving white flags on the sides of the roads, asking for food.  In such an environment, it makes ARCAS’s work saving the wildlife of Guatemala even more challenging than usual.     

 

The wildlife of Guatemala and the poachers and traffickers that prey on them don’t pay attention to pandemics, and we continue to receive a steady stream of confiscated animals in Peten, Guatemala City and at our project in Hawaii.  During this first half of 2020, we have received over 200 confiscated wild animals.  I attach some fotos of the animals and their stores. 

 

The pandemic has been difficult for all of us, but it has been especially difficult for Fernando, Alejandro, Anna and the rest of the staff of the rescue center in Peten who, without the help of volunteers and interns, have been working long hours to keep the 500+ animals at the center healthy and on the road to rehabilitation and release.  Your generous donation has helped us keep the rescue center running by purchasing food and veterinary medicines for the animals. 

 

On July 10th we initiated out sea turtle conservation season at the Hawaii Park, and Sofia, Mynor and the rest of the staff there is busy burying eggs in the hatcheries.  Despite having no volunteers, and a reduced budget, and despite the lockdown, we are hoping that we can beat last year’s record of number of eggs rescued and incubated at the Hawaii Hatchery. 

 

Our volunteer and vet training courses remain closed and most of our institutional donors have postponed planned giving.   We are in crisis mode, looking for alternative sources of income to pay staff and feed animals.  We have been focusing our efforts on on-line fundraising, especially GlobalGiving, and this has helped to fill in some of the gaps.  In addition to donating directly to our projects, GlobalGiving allows our supporters and ex-volunteers to create their own fundraising pages to invite their networks to support ARCAS’s wildlife conservation efforts, so if you can help in this way, let us know.  Celebrate your birthday, run a race, or start an employee competition — there are many ways you can help us through this crisis!

 

Now that we are a 501c3 non-profit organization in the US, we have joined AmazonSmile.  If you could help us by choosing ARCAS as your charity, we would appreciate it. Same products, same prices, same service.  AmazonSmile donates 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to ARCAS at no extra cost to you. 

 

Also, you can help by becoming an ARCAS monthly donor.  You can do this via GlobalGiving, or through our Paypal account.  Recurring donors – even for small donations – are especially helpful as these are resources that we can count on from month-to-month to help us continue our work.   

 

Thanks very much for your support for our wildlife conservation activities in Guatemala, especially in these times of crisis.  Your donation helps us continue our efforts to save the wild ones of the earth.  Please let me know if you have any questions, and please come and visit us (when the pandemic is over of course). 

Hawaii meeting with all the precautions
Hawaii meeting with all the precautions
Last volunteers to leave during the pandemic
Last volunteers to leave during the pandemic
Armadillo ready for release
Armadillo ready for release
Torquise browed motmot
Torquise browed motmot

Links:

Jun 16, 2020

Season Start 2020 Hawaii Park, Guatemala

Dear Friends of ARCAS, 

Next month, July 6th, we will start the Turtle nesting season for 2020. This year it will be a little bit different from the past years. Guatemala is still in Lockdown, so travel across municipal lines is still limited. The inauguration for 2020 will be a small event with social distancing and we will follow all required restrictions. We will launch a GlobalGiving campaign to support our project. You will have for example the option to sponsor a nest for 25$ for about 93 Turtle Eggs or for only 10$ you can sponsor a local guide to do nocturnal beach patrols.

Also because of the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemia we are missing our Volunteers, we shifted our focus on working together with local communities. The community members are highly affected by the COVID-19, their income was mainly from tourists. There is zero Tourism since 3 months and we don’t have any information for how much longer this situation will last. We have to contribute to the conservation of these endangered species while also contributing to the sustainable livelihoods of low-income local residents. This year the nests might be in more danger because people have lost their jobs and see the sale of turtle eggs still as a lucrative income.

We will be participating in the International Coastal Clean Up (Ocean Conservancy) on beach clean ups and working on solid waste recycling with local communities.

 

In 2019 ARCAS rescued and incubated 41857 olive Ridley Sea Turtle eggsand released 39,517 hatchlings, which represents nearly a 96% hatching success rate. We plan to to even rescue and release more this year! Unfortunately, we received no leatherback eggs, nor have we heard of any nests laid on the entire Guatemala Pacific coast during the November – January nesting season. This year seems everything is different, hopefully the leatherbacks return back this season to lay their eggs on the beach.

 

We hopefully can count again on the support of all the amazing and generous donors through GlobalGiving.

Many thanks to our staff, collaborators and volunteers who have spent many nights under wind and rain patrolling the beaches and burying nest.

Mar 16, 2020

Project update - Corona virus

Liberacion of spider monkeys
Liberacion of spider monkeys

Greetings from Guatemala.  I hope all is well for you in these crazy times.  Like everyone else in the world, we are feeling the effects of the Corona virus pandemic.  Guatemala has 6 confirmed cases and has closed its borders and is not allowing entry of airline passengers from China, Europe, Iran, the US and Canada, among others.  It has also cancelled schools and Easter processions, and gatherings larger than 100 people. 

 

ARCAS relies heavily on its paid volunteer and vet training courses to cover its day-to-day operating costs, and due to the outbreak and restrictions on international travel, these volunteers and students have cancelled for the upcoming months. We have entered crisis mode and have launched an emergency campaign on GlobalGiving to raise funds to help cover the costs of food and medicine for the animals we have in our care in Peten, Hawaii and at the San Lucas central office, as well as to support the salaries of our animal keepers.  Link: http://goto.gg/45719  If you could share this link with friends, family and potential donors, we'd appreciate it.  We now have 501(3)(C) status in the US, so let us know if you need a copy of our IRS letter for tax purposes.   If they want to become monthly donors, they can use this account as the Corona account is just temporary.  Like everyone else in the world, we are hoping that things blow over in the next few months, but we are in dire straits now trying to care for the 500+ animals we have under our care. 

 

Although the Corona virus is creating economic havoc around the world, it might also help us in our fight against animal trafficking.  A wildlife market in Wuhan, China has been identified as a source of the COVID 19 virus where the virus may have been hosted by pangolins, bats or snakes before jumping over to people.  The Chinese government has imposed a ban on wildlife trade and consumption, though wildlife in medicine and research is still permitted.  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/science/coronavirus-pangolin-wildlife-ban-china.html  Hopefully this will convince people that owning and consuming wildlife is not only wrong, but bad for your health. 

 

On a brighter note,  on 19th of February, we released 15 spider monkeys (Ateles geoffoyi) in the  northern section of the Yaxha Nakum Naranjo National Park in the Maya Biosphere Reserve.

These animals were rescued from illegal trafficking, rehabilitated under strict health and behavior protocols in our rescue center, and are now free to give life to the forest.  They have been equipped with VHF collars to track them and assess their adaptation to the environment.  Our monitoring team is in the forest observing and learning from these animals in their new life in the wild. 

 

Also, after five years of trying, we finally succeeded in reproducing a pair of yellow-naped amazons at the Hawaii Park!  They are a species notoriously difficult to breed so we're really happy.  We hope to use the offspring from this captive breeding program to replenish local populations of the yellow-naped parrot depleted from poaching.  Because of their advanced ability to imitate the human voice and other sounds, these parrots are highly sought-after on the illegal pet trade, and according to estimates by the COLORES project, less than 500 of these parrots remain in the wild. 

 

Thanks very much for your support for our wildlife conservation activities in Guatemala, especially in these times of crisis.  Your donation helps us continue our efforts to save the wild ones of the earth.  Please let me know if you have an questions, and please come and visit us (when this Corona business is over of course).

 

 

 

 

Liberation of spider monkeys
Liberation of spider monkeys
Liberation of spider monkeys A
Liberation of spider monkeys A
Liberation of spider monkeys B
Liberation of spider monkeys B
Yellow-naped amazon nest
Yellow-naped amazon nest

Links:

 
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