Mar 24, 2021

Progress Report March 23. 2021

Manuel Galindo
Manuel Galindo

Greetings from Guatemala,

ARCAS continues to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic and its consequences. The rate of infections has dropped and the government has lifted most of the restrictions on travel, but masks are still mandatory, and we are all nervously waiting for a second wave after the Easter holidays. And if that weren’t enough, the Pacaya Volcano has been erupting and the ash closed down the airport today.  Masks now fill a dual purpose!

Despite a lack of volunteers, we continue to receive and treat rescued wild animals. The wild animals of Guatemala and the poachers and traffickers that prey on them don’t pay attention to pandemics. Your generous donation has helped us keep our rescue centers running by purchasing food and veterinary medicines for the animals. We continue in crisis mode, looking for alternative sources of income to pay staff and feed animals and have been focusing our efforts on on-line fundraising, especially GlobalGiving, and this has helped to fill in some of the gaps.  

Great news:The doors of the CEBio are opening in Peten! 

March 25, ARCAS is inaugurating its newly renovated Biodiversity Education Center,  located just next to its Rescue Center in Flores, Petén.  The CEBio aims to give non-releasable wild animals a high quality of life while at the same time allowing tourists, students and other visitors to learn about the long-term damaged cause by the illegal pet.  At the CeBio we are able to give non-releasable animals which we have been rescued from the illegal trade a humane, natural habitat in which to live.  Many of these animals have been injured or have suffered stress and anxiety from confinement.  (After one year of Covid lockdowns and travel restrictions, I think we can all relate to this!)  With the CeBio, we want to create awareness in the new generation: no more animals in cages!


Protecting Nests - COLORES


The Yellow-naped amazon is highly sought-after by traffickers and consumers for its advanced ability to imitate the human voice and other sounds.  ARCAS continues its leadership in the COLORES project (@Conservacionlorosguatemala), a pioneering effort to protect the last estimated 500 Yellow-naped amazons (Amazona auropalliata) remaining on the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala.


As part of the COLORES consortium, ARCAS and One Earth Conservation have joined forces with communities and farm owners of “hotspots” where the last populations of the  Yellow-naped amazons still exist.  Much of COLORES’s efforts are spent on protecting parrot nests during the January – March nesting season.  This work is difficult and sometimes dangerous, and recently we lost one of our best allies - Pedro Viteri Arriola – who was murdered by poachers as he tried to protect a parrot nest.  Our deepest condolences go out to the Viteri family with our desire to honor Pedro by redoubling our efforts to save the Yellow-naped amazon!

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.  


Feb 11, 2021

Progress report, February 2021

Jorge Mario burying an olive ridley nest
Jorge Mario burying an olive ridley nest

Warm greetings from your Friends at ARCAS,

We wish you the best in this new year full of challenges.  Here, we are reporting on our  GlobalGiving project #42261, Release 30,000 sea turtles in Guatemala as of February 10, 2021. 

We initiated this project in September, 2019, during the height of the July – October olive ridley nesting season, with the goal of rescuing and incubating 30,000 sea turtle eggs at our Hawaii Hatchery on the Pacific coast of Guatemala. 


As reported in February, 2020, during the 2019 nesting season we successfully collected and incubated 41,192 olive ridley sea turtle eggs, and released 39,517 hatchlings with a 96% hatching success rate. 


Like other conservation projects around the world that depend on the support of volunteers and ecotours, the Coronavirus pandemic hit us very hard.  From March until December 2020, the Hawaii Parque was closed to the public, as were nearby beaches.  One of our staff members contracted Covid-19, but thankfully, didn’t suffer serious symptoms.  Due to the pandemic, during the 2020 nesting season, we were only able to rescue and incubate 9,362 olive ridley sea turtle eggs, of which 8,659 hatched, which represented a 92.4% hatching success rate. 

Unfortunately, we received no eggs of the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle, but this year there have been reports of 6 nests at different points of the southwest coast of Guatemala.  This has given us hope for the future of this species in the region though this may be just one female (they can nest up to 7 times per year).


Elephant Seal

In January, 2021, we were visited by a very large and rare species, the first reported presences of an Elephant Seal on the Pacific coast of Guatemala.  This enormous animal 3M long beached to rest at different points along the south coast as it migrated from El Salvador in the south to Mexico in the north.  He caused QUITE a stir!!! We wish him well on his journey… presumably to Baja California.  (Please see attached video when he beached in El Salvador)


Sea turtle population monitoring

Thanks to the support of the USAID Guatemala Biodiversity Project and See Turtles, we continue our sea turtle population monitoring activities on 7 index beaches along the Pacific coast.  Please see the latest Situational Analysis on ARCAS’s publications page:  You can also find a recent article using this data published with colleagues at the Del Valle and Southern Norway Universities.     


GlobalGiving funds from this project were used to hire local sea turtle guides and researchers who conducted nightly patrols and buried eggs and released hatchlings at the Hawaii Hatchery.  It also covered transportation and per diem expenses for the transfer of stranded sea turtles (Please see attached fotos)

Many thanks to the SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and the Taiwanese Mission/Agricultural Ministry  Bamboo Project for their support in building our new sea turtle hatcheries, researcher’s housing and necropsy rancho.  With these new installations we are able to accommodate the increasing numbers of stranded marine wildlife, researchers and visitors to the Hawaii Park. 

Also our many thanks to the 200+ donors to the 30,000 sea turtle eggs campaign.  Together with can save the sea turtles of Guatemala!


Un cordial saludo de parte de sus Amigos de ARCAS,

Te deseamos lo mejor en este nuevo año lleno de desafíos. Aquí, estamos informando sobre el proyecto GlobalGiving # 42261, “Liberación de 30,000 tortugas marinas en Guatemala” hasta la fecha 10 de febrero del 2021.

Iniciamos este proyecto GlobalGiving en septiembre de 2019, durante el apogeo de la temporada de anidación de la tortuga parlama (Lepidochyles olivácea) de julio a octubre, con el objetivo de rescatar e incubar 30,000 huevos de tortuga marina en nuestro Tortugario Hawáii en la costa del Pacífico de Guatemala.


Como se informó en febrero de 2020, durante la temporada de anidación de 2019 recolectamos e incubamos con éxito 41,192 huevos de tortuga parlama y liberamos 39,517 crías con una tasa de éxito de eclosión del 96%.


Como otros proyectos de conservación en todo el mundo que dependen del apoyo de voluntarios y ecotours, la pandemia de Coronavirus nos afectó muy fuertamente. Desde marzo hasta diciembre de 2020, el Parque Hawaii estuvo cerrado al público, al igual que las playas cercanas. Uno de nuestro personal contrajó Covid-19, pero afortunadamente, no sufrió síntomas graves. Debido a la pandemia, durante la temporada de anidación de 2020, solo pudimos rescatar e incubar 9,362 huevos de parlama , de las cuales 8,659 eclosionaron, lo que representó una tasa de éxito de eclosión del 92,4%.

Desafortunadamente, no recibimos huevos de la tortuga baule (Dermochelys coriacia) especie en peligro crítico de extinción, pero ha habido reportes de 6 nidos en diferentes puntos de la costa suroeste de Guatemala. Aunque puede ser solo una hembra (pueden anidar hasta 7 veces al año), esto nos ha dado esperanzas para el futuro de esta especie en la región.


Elefante marino

En enero de 2021, fuimos visitados por una especie muy grande y rara, la primera arribada reportada de un elefante marino en la costa del Pacífico de Guatemala!  Este enorme animal de 3M de largo varó para descansar en diferentes puntos a lo largo de la costa sur mientras migraba desde El Salvador en el sur hasta México en el norte. Él causó una gran conmoción!!! Le deseamos lo mejor en su viaje ... presumiblemente a Baja California. (Ver video:


Monitoreo de poblaciones de tortugas marinas

Gracias al apoyo del Proyecto de Biodiversidad de Guatemala de USAID y See Turtles, continuamos nuestras actividades de monitoreo poblacional de tortugas marinas en 7 playas índice a lo largo de la costa del Pacífico. Consulte el Análisis Situacional en la página de publicaciones de ARCAS: También puede encontrar un artículo reciente con estos datos publicados con colegas de las universidades de Del Valle y el sur de Noruega.




Los fondos de GlobalGiving de este proyecto se utilizaron para contratar guías e investigadores locales de tortugas marinas que realizaron patrullas nocturnas y enterraron huevos y liberaron crías del Tortugario Hawaii. También cubrió los gastos de transporte y viáticos para el traslado de tortugas marinas varadas (ver fotos adjuntas)

Muchas gracias también al Fondo de Conservación SeaWorld Busch Gardens y la Misión Taiwanesa / Proyecto de Bambú del Ministerio de Agricultura por su apoyo en la construcción de nuestros nuevos tortugarios, la vivienda para investigadores y rancho de necropsias. Con estas nuevas instalaciones podemos dar cabida al creciente número de animales marinos varados, investigadores y visitantes del Hawaii Park.

Nuestro agradecimiento a todos los donantes a la campaña de 30.000 huevos de tortuga marina! 

Olive ridley nest
Olive ridley nest
Releasing olive ridley hatchlings
Releasing olive ridley hatchlings


Nov 24, 2020

Progress report, November 2020

Red-fronted amazons
Red-fronted amazons

Greetings from Guatemala where we are still recovering from tropical storms Eta and Iota which did a lot of damage to the eastern part of the country. We also continue to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. The rate of infections has dropped and the government has lifted most of the restrictions on travel, but masks are still mandatory, and we are all nervously waiting for a second wave with the holidays. 

We are finishing up the sea turtle nesting season and have over 4000 eggs buried in the Hawaii Hatchery. That is a low number for us, but the beaches were closed for much of July and August, and we have not received any volunteers or interns to help us with egg collection and data gathering. 

Despite not having any volunteers, we continue to receive and treat rescued wild animals. The wild animals of Guatemala and the poachers and traffickers that prey on them don’t pay attention to pandemics. So far in 2020, we have received over 86 animals at our rescue centers in Peten, Guatemala City and Hawaii.


The 28th of August we carried out an animal release in the Yaxha Nakum Naranjo - National Park in Peten. Among the animals released:

  • Nine-banded armadillo - Dasypus novemcinctus
  • Ocelot - Leopardus pardalis
  • Jaguarundi - Herpailouros yaguarundi
  • Coatimundi - Nasua narica
  • 18 different turtles of 4 different species
  • 40 parrot - (including: White-fronted - Amazona Albifrons, Red-fronted - Amazona Autumnalis, Mealy - Amazona Farinosa, White-crowned - Pionus Senilis)

Our many thanks to the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP) and the Humane Society International for their support with this release.  


The pandemic has been difficult for all of us, but it has been especially difficult for Fernando, Alejandro, Anna and the rest of the team 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. Your generous donation have helped us keep the rescue center running by purchasing food and veterinary medicines for the animals. THANKS!



The red-lored amazon (Amazona autumnalis) is one of the most-frequently trafficked animals in Guatemala.  They can live up to 80 years, so, in addition to being illegal, keeping them as pets is a life-long commitment.  

These two parrots were recently donated to ARCAS by an elderly couple who, after 30 years, found they were no longer able to care for them.  In addition to being really loud, they can inflict serious bites.  





We have also recently published several important papers on the sea turtles and parrots of Guatemala which you can find on our publications page:



THE NEXT SIX MONTHS ARE CRITICAL for the survival of ARCAS and Guatemalan wildlife. 

We are happy to hear that a Covid vaccine is on the way, but it will probably not be readily available until next spring.  Although we are opening to the public in December, our volunteer and intern programs will probably not begin recuperating until mid-2021, and most of our institutional donors have put their conservation programs on hold due to the economic crisis.   

Meanwhile, we continue receiving orphaned animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and are finishing up our sea turtle conservation season at the Hawaii Park.   

Please help us make it through the next 6 months by making a donation this GivingTuesday (December 1st) to   Donations up to $2500 will be matched by GlobalGiving, though the % match will be determined depending on our ranking at the end of the day.   

Help ARCAS and the wildlife it protects make it through the next months!!! 

Nine banded armadillo
Nine banded armadillo
Olive ridley sea turtle
Olive ridley sea turtle
Injured margay
Injured margay
Margay recuperated
Margay recuperated


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