Protecting Nests! Parrot Conservation in Guatemala

by Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Association
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Protecting Nests! Parrot Conservation in Guatemala
Protecting Nests! Parrot Conservation in Guatemala
Protecting Nests! Parrot Conservation in Guatemala
Protecting Nests! Parrot Conservation in Guatemala
Protecting Nests! Parrot Conservation in Guatemala
Protecting Nests! Parrot Conservation in Guatemala
Protecting Nests! Parrot Conservation in Guatemala
Protecting Nests! Parrot Conservation in Guatemala
Protecting Nests! Parrot Conservation in Guatemala
Protecting Nests! Parrot Conservation in Guatemala
Protecting Nests! Parrot Conservation in Guatemala
Psittacara Strenuus checking out their nest cavity
Psittacara Strenuus checking out their nest cavity

COLORES is a consortium founded in 2010 by One Earth Conservation, ARCAS and other partners with the goal of conserving the yellow-naped parrot (Amazona auropalliata) in Guatemala. It is estimated that there are only 500 individuals left in the wild of this species, classified by the IUCN as Critically Endangered. COLORES works in 10 "hotspots" in the Southwest region of the Pacific coast of Guatemala where the largest numbers of the species are concentrated.

NEST MONITORING

Continuing with the research and coordination work of previous years, patrols were carried out in each hot spot, to evaluate the presence of parrots, nests in cavities, features in the tree as signs of poaching, data that can be used to determine if these nests were active and successful. Threats such as the presence of bees, predators or the looting and/or destruction of nests were also evaluated. In each visit, time was taken to train the collaborators in the sites on the behavior of the parrots, to identify active nests, and it was used to maintain the bonds of friendship between the personnel of the Reserves and the COLORES project by sharing information and new findings.

ARTIFICIAL NESTS

The COLORS project continues to make and install artificial nests, experimenting with designs and placing them in places that are easy to protect against poachers. In the second half of 2021, around 47 nests were installed. Unfortunately, most were occupied by bees, and during 2022 no artificial nest was placed pending the development of a strategy to repel bees.

COUNTS


During the months of July and August, formal counts were carried out in each hotspot, taking the data: time, species, quantity, geographical movement and flight log, evidencing the presence of pairs, trios or groups of four to five individuals together, as well as movement in flocks.

ANNUAL WORKSHOP

One of the most important activities of COLORES is its annual training, education and coordination workshop for the various partners of the consortium, to present the results of the previous season (January – May) and plan activities for the following year. During the workshop of May 9, 2021 we were joined by our friends from the yellow-headed parrot (Amazona oratrix) conservation project who traveled from Izabal on the Caribbean side of the country to share their experiences. It was an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas, challenges, and solutions between the two projects.

NEST CLIMBER TRAINING

COLORES needs to form its own tree-climbing team in order to better research and verify nests. We contacted the IRTRA park who expressed great interest in participating in COLORES, and we held a training session with their grounds and tree-pruning teams who have committed to monitor the trees on the park for parrot nests. This training session and was a great step and achievement for COLORES since in the future the information collected in the field can be expanded.

EDUCACION AMBIENTAL

As part of our environmental education program and the participation of COLORES in the regional network Loros Sin Frontera (https://www.lorossinfronteras.com/), we participated in the Parrot Festival November 18-20, 2021, where gave a training workshop to teachers from the municipality of Asintal, distributing our psittacine education guide and coloring book. Educational activities with the children, included drawing contest and a bird watching tour on the grounds of the Tak Alik Abaj archeological site.

During the month of June, we visited the schools in the farms or reserves where COLORES works. In these visits we trained teachers and children, using the COLORES teacher's guide and coloring book. These types of educational activities are very important because most of these children are the children of workers or people who live in the fields and are closer to the areas where the nests are located, in addition to these they are the ones who better receive and transmit the information on the current problems of parrots in the field. In total, 4 schools were visited, reaching more than 50 children.

TRAFFICKING ENFORCEMENT

COLORES and ARCAS coordinated with CONAP in enforcement activities in the illegal trade of parrots and other wild animals. Contact was maintained with the Public Ministry, supporting activities for the investigation into the death of Pedro Viteri, a conservationist collaborating with COLORES.

NEW ALLIANCES

We also approached private entities such as the ICC, GUATEMAGICA and IRTRA in search of new alliances and new members to expand our range and purpose of work.

For more information on these and other parrot conservation activities carried out by COLORES, ARCAS and LSF, please visit ARCAS’s publications page (https://arcasguatemala.org/who-we-are/arcas-publications/), or LSF’s publications page (https://www.lorossinfronteras.com/)

Amazona albifrons using an artificial nest
Amazona albifrons using an artificial nest
Tree-climbing training
Tree-climbing training
Amazona albifrons courtship
Amazona albifrons courtship

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Yellow-naped amazon at the ARCAS rescue center
Yellow-naped amazon at the ARCAS rescue center

Dear friends of the Parrots of Guatemala,

We are finishing up the 2022 parrot breeding season, another super-challenging year!   At COLORES, our yellow-naped amazon conservation project on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, poaching continues despite our best efforts.  However, during our annual meeting held this past 9th of May, we conducted a parrot count and were treated to the beautiful sight of several families of parrots flying overhead, so we are managing to save some nests.  We haven't finished collating this year's data, but we believe we managed to protect and fledge 6 yellow napes from wild nests.  The pandemic continues complicating things, especially in terms of educational activities and workshops, but life is slowly returning to normal.  We continue our work installing artificial nests, but these nests are almost immediately taken over by Africanized bees, so we will need to install future nests with repellents. 

As part of our participation in the Loros Sin Fronteras consortium (https://www.lorossinfronteras.com/) , we have been participating in a regional public outreach campaign against parrot trafficking.  I hope you have been getting the weekly fliers we have been publishing with the support of Defenders of Wildlife. 

At ARCAS's central office in San Lucas, we continue to receive confiscated animals, including yellow-naped, red-lored, white-fronted, and mealy parrots, Pacific parakeets, and scarlet macaws.  After an initial medical screening, we send these animals on to our rescue centers either in Peten or in Hawaii on the Pacific coast.

At our Rescue Center in Peten, we continue our work rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing wildlife confiscated from wildlife traffickers operating in the Maya Biosphere Reserve.  Our scarlet macaw captive-breeding-for-release program had a record-setting year where we managed to fledge 6 chicks!  These macaws will be released in the Sierra Lacandon National Park with the aim of re-inforcing depleted populations there.  You can find more information about this program following the following link:  https://arcasguatemala.org/where-we-are/arcas-peten/our-programs/

Our many thanks for your support to our parrot conservation efforts.  Thanks also to the American Bird Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Wagmore Foundation for their support.  We are collecting the final data from this year and will be publishing our annual newsletter which we will post on our website. 

Please continue donating to the project and come visit and/or volunteer with us sometime to see firsthand the excellent work your donations are supporting.        

Macaw chicks in the ARCAS captive breeding program
Macaw chicks in the ARCAS captive breeding program
Hope for the future! Group of adults and juveniles
Hope for the future! Group of adults and juveniles

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Pedro Viteri on his farm, La Gracia
Pedro Viteri on his farm, La Gracia

The 2021 yellow-naped amazon nesting season on the Pacific coast of Guatemala ended in May. Without a doubt, this year was a tough one.  The pandemic continues to disrupt lives, businesses, and our work. Parrot poaching continues despite our best efforts.  We lost a good friend and stalwart defender of parrots and other wildlife, Pedro Viteri, who was shot by poachers as he tried to protect a nest on his farm, La Gracia.  

However, in the midst of these grave challenges, COLORES also made some important advances in its work saving the parrots of Guatemala.  We estimate that of the 9 yellow-naped amazon nests we identified in 2021, 6 successfully fledged, for an overall fledgling success rate of 85.7%, the highest percentage we have recorded.    Please visit the ARCAS publications page (https://arcasguatemala.org/who-we-are/arcas-publications/) to download the 9-2021 newsletter for a full report on COLORES's nest monitoring, education and enforcement activities.

Since June, (the off-season for nesting) we have concentrated on the installation of artificial nest boxes at our COLORES hotspots, installing a total of 40 nests at 5 different sites.  In addition, in November, as part of our participation in the Loros Sin Fronteras consortium, we participated in the regional parrot festival, where we carried out a teacher-training workshop, environmental education activities and parrot counts with students of the communities near the Tak Alik Abaj Archeological Site.  We also produced a teacher's guide and an educational coloring book about the yellow-naped amazon and the need to protect it. 

At ARCAS's central office, we continue to receive confiscated animals, including yellow-naped, red-lored, white-fronted, and mealy parrots, Pacific parakeets, and scarlet macaws.  After an initial medical screening, we send these animals on to our rescue centers either in Peten or in Hawaii on the Pacific coast.

At our Rescue Center in Peten, we continue our work rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing wildlife confiscated from wildlife traffickers operating in the Maya Biosphere Reserve.  At our scarlet macaw captive-breeding-for-release program, we fledged one chick this year, and are preparing flocks to be released in the coming years.  We have conducted macaw releases in 2015 and 2019 in the Sierra Lacandon National Park with the aim of re-inforcing depleted populations there.  You can find more information about this program following this link:  https://arcasguatemala.org/where-we-are/arcas-peten/our-programs/

Both in Peten and in Hawaii, we are preparing for the parrot nesting and trafficking season which begins in the coming weeks.  Thanks so much for your support and please come visit and/or volunteer with us sometime to see firsthand the excellent work your donations are supporting.        

Parrot conservation teacher training workshop.
Parrot conservation teacher training workshop.
A pair of yellow-naped amazons in breeding mode.
A pair of yellow-naped amazons in breeding mode.
Mama macaw with chicks in breeding program
Mama macaw with chicks in breeding program

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Organization Information

Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Association

Location: San Lucas - Guatemala
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ARCASGuate
Project Leader:
Colum Muccio
San Lucas, Sacatepequez Guatemala
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