A little over two months ago, a Guatemalan poacher was caught with several young Scarlet Macaws in the Chiquibul Forest by rangers at Friends for Conservation and Development. The poacher, 36-year-old Porfilio Ramirez de Quiroz was shot and arrested while the macaws were taken to the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic. The birds needed to undergo a rehabilitation process before they could be released into the wild. Today, we spoke with the Executive Director of the FCD, Rafael Manzanero, to get an update on the macaws’ progress.
Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, Friends for Conservation and Development: “The five Macaws that were rescued were also placed in a lab and they were hand fed and reared and those we are expecting that the release program will occur within the next seven to ten days. That is a soft release which basically means that we would open the gate of the big cage and it doesn’t really mean that they would just go off and fly away you know they will still be attempting to find their way but that is really the program to see that eventually they will find their distance away from their main cage and so they would be found into the wild as soon as possible. One of the poachers was captured that person more than likely is serving a prison term right now or the person was fined under three particular conditions; one was for having the Scarlet Macaws with him, illegal entry and then also assault on one of our park rangers. For the Scarlet Macaws the person was charged $10,000 or two years in jail and then for assault it was $1,500 and then for illegal entry was another two months I believe in terms of imprisonment.“
Initially, there were seven Scarlet Macaws, but two of them did not survive after being poached.