The Spix Macaws who are also known as Blue Macaws have been extinct in the wild for over twenty-one years. The beautiful birds, who are native to South America, lost their fight for survival due to rampant deforestation and the human greed of illegal pouching. Unfortunately, here in Belize, the nation’s most recognizable parrot the Scarlett Macaw has also become an exotic commodity in the illegal pet trade and is under constant threat from illegal poachers. The Friends for Conservation and Development has been working diligently to protect these majestic birds in their natural habitat. Research assistant Francisco Galicia has been traversing the banks of the Macal River for the past decade protecting and observing the Macaws of the Chiquibul.
Francisco Galicia, Research Assistant: ““What we do at the beginning of the Scarlet Macaw season is we came here in the month of March just to check the Scarlet Macaw’s activities and to see where is the area where the Scarlet Macaws are nesting. So basically how we operate here on both sides of the river is that early in the morning we come out and do patrols. We basically have every year around ten ten to fourteen nests active every year. We suffer the illegal impact from our neighboring countries. They come and steal our Scarlet Macaw chicks and take it back to their country and sell it, that is one of the reasons that we are here. Meaning that not because we are here as a research team means that we’ll take the full responsibility to see any illegal activities and take responsibility for that. When we encounter illegal activities what we do as a research team we just inform the rangers and then the rangers take the full responsibilities and coordination in how they will be operating. That is mainly how we work with the illegal activities. We climb the trees, we start to monitor by seeing Scarlet Macaws lay eggs, when the chicks hatch and up to the Scarlet Macaw babies will be released into the wild.”
Galicia’s four-man research team also conducts studies on the quality of freshwater sources in the area and studies on the animal population to get a better understanding of the Jungle’s ecosystem.