A documentary about the Chiquibul national park in Belize, and the people protecting it from poachers , a look at conservation today with Scarlet Macaw protection, and a short look back on Challilo Dam issue, and environmental destruction, with Sharon Matola, Greg Cho and people in Cayo.
Film is produced by Roni Matinez, Charles Britt and Filmmaker Daniel Velazquez active wildlife conservationist in Belize, this is also a creative art media project, in wish we gave cameras to the protection crew, and they took part in documenting.
Re: Scarlet Macaw in Belize
#480179 12/18/1305:40 AM12/18/1305:40 AM
"My favorite 2013 experience" Contributing to the protection of the last of their kind, the Chiquibul Scarlet Macaws
It is sometimes easy to focus on the negative, especially
when the weather is this bad, for this long? Muddy holidays with grey skies in
Belize aside... 2013 has been an incredible year! One blog could not summarize
it. So, as done in many regards during this year, I shall focus on individual, positive
activities. The world seems full of bad news and negativity and I believe this
rarely leads to positive outcomes. I prefer positive news, in order to
hopefully inspire more of you to join in and to help one of the many
individuals and organizations protecting nature, and wildlife, and ultimately
your own existence.
When thinking about the best experience in 2013, I have no
doubt but to think of the support we were able to provide to the Forest
Department as well as Friends for Conservation and Development, Scarlet Six and
the Scarlet Macaws of Chiquibul. First I would like to thank my friend Charles
Britt for sensitizing me to the urgent needs and incredible threats to these
beautiful birds, years ago. Of course I have read, and liked, „The last flight
of the Scarlet Macaw“. And which wildlife
vet does not dream of helping to save
a species! But of course the vet only contributes a tiny portion, and the lion
share of the effort is carried by the courageous rangers!
The rough estimates say we might have between 100-200 birds
left. Studies on small parts of the population had shown poaching rates of up
to 80 % of nests. To counteract extreme poaching pressures, in 2012 first
efforts at protecting individual nests were made by FCD and Scarlet Six. Thanks
to that, poaching pressure decreased in the study area. After several years of
observation and pondering how I and the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic
can assist the plight of this disappearing bird, we are now honored to be
contributing a tiny part to the efforts. BWRC and our veterinarians provided
the first in field health checks in 2013 and I participated in the Scarlet
Macaw Working group since 2012. I have to also thank Dr. Joyner for joining and
teaching us, sharing her records and experiences for our first trip into this
incredibly beautiful wilderness to establish the methodology to conduct chick
checks. Very nice for me was that the first trip group also included my
To those who don’t know: I and most of my family have a huge
fascination for the jungle. I believe it stems from some influential childhood
years spent in South America but that is beside the point. The Chiquibul
Forest is something I deeply cared about since
I came to Belize even though I get to go much too rarely. So finally going to
the much debated Chalillo reservoir, up the Raspaculo branch and seeing this gem teaming with wild life with a family member, was special treat to me personally. The ticks
especially on the first trip were my least favorite part... I have to thank Roni Martinez
for his awesome company on all of our trips! And foremost I would like to send
thanks to the many rangers for FCD and Scarlet Six and their volunteers who
dedicate themselves to this incredible birds’ fight for survival. Thanks to
everybody's awesome dedication, cooperation and coordination of efforts we were
able to check a first 7 birds, who were almost all in good health.
One of the most touching moments is shown in
this picture taken by Roni. Thanks to LoraKims suggestion all rangers got to
assist with health checks and got to listen to the incredibly fast heart
beats of their precious charges. And I think the visual expression on his face,
captured so well in the picture is better then all my words. It reminded me
that my importance may lay more in what I leave behind and how much I can teach
others to care, about nature, wildlife, and ultimately themselves. I truly
cherish those moments when I am given the opportunity to share my passion and
see it totally take over :)
One of the most upsetting moments was when we learned that
those very same chicks we touched on our first trip, were poached only 3 days later. This most
likely meant their death. And clearly demonstrated the need for more: more
„boots“ on the ground, protection efforts, financial support to pay for it,
alternative ways to prevent poaching of individual nests especially during the
end of breeding season.
I would like to thank the many individuals who have
made it possible for me to be able to contribute a small part. Please check
out the websites of www.fcdbelize.com
and email Roni from Scarlet 6 for more info at [email protected].
Consider a donation to the cause via either organization and/or if you would like to volunteer or
intern with wildlife medicine and conservation contact us at BWRC www.belizewildlifeclinic.org
We are very exited and look forward to continue and
intensify our collaboration for the 2014 field season.
A team of conservationists are fighting the odds to save what remains of the wild Scarlet Macaws in Belize. In a dense tropical jungle, a team of conservationists camp underneath the nests of endangered wild scarlet macaws in Belize, in order to protect them from being poached and becoming extinct amidst a silent war of poaching and habitat destruction
Re: Scarlet Macaw in Belize
#538237 09/13/1910:19 AM09/13/1910:19 AM
The scarlet macaw is Belize’s largest parrot and one of the iconic species found in the Chiquibul Forest. Illegal wildlife trafficking and poaching has been affecting the species for many years. But this year FCD has documented that more than 25 parrots were lost at the hands of Guatemalan poachers. Other Guatemalan communities may well be engaged on this activity; therefore, the losses can well be double or triple. If this trend continues, the species will become lost to Belize.
A national census conducted earlier this year showed that Belize has a minimum of 334 individual parrots in the wild. Its main breeding area is known to occur in the Chiquibul Forest, where it then flies across the Main Divide into the Stann Creek District for feeding purposes. Normally the species breeds during the months of March to August. This is the time when the birds are more vulnerable, thus the time when the FCD Research Unit spends its efforts conducting biological monitoring and patrolling the nesting areas. For the 2019 breeding season, a total of 26 eggs were layed in 10 nests, 13 parrots hatched and 10 fledglings left their nest by the end of the season.
Chiquibul proofs to have the right ecosystem for not only xate, mahogany and cedar but also for macaws. Maintaining a credible deterrence across the landscape has been a formidable task due to the limited resources. The FCD has been able to avoid any poaching on the primary area where biomonitoring takes place but other remote areas are being targeted by poachers. To address this situation FCD will aim for the following interventions: 1) seek funds to deploy Rangers into more distant areas; 2) request from Government the extraction of parrots that are at high risk of being stolen and lab rear them; 3) impose highest penalties for poachers caught in the act; 4) systematize a citizen science program that can provide for volunteers to assist in biomonitoring.
Over the years the US Department of the Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service, British High Commission Office in Belize, Belize Electric Company Limited and the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic have been assisting in the biomonitoring, research and education program.
Threatened and isolated: Scarlet Macaws in Belize
Re: Scarlet Macaw in Belize
#545455 10/10/2004:36 AM10/10/2004:36 AM
Scarlet Macaws – How Do They Adapt and Survive in the Wild?
Tonight, we bring you part two of our Belize Zoo Live feature stories. As we told you on Wednesday night, the zoo is taking their animals into the classrooms through live virtual sessions that are scheduled to start in the coming week. While there is interest from educational institutions, the Belize Zoo wants to make this experience available for local schools. To give you an idea of what the lessons may look like, in our story tonight, we learn more about the big colorful scarlet macaws. These birds are endangered and only a few hundred more are found in the wild in Belize, but they have some characteristics that they use to survive. Reporter Andrea Polanco takes us along for a lesson about macaws’ adaptation with Education Director Jamal Andrewin Bohn of the Belize Zoo.
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
The Scarlet Macaws are nosy birds. They use their squawks and screeches to communicate in their flock – such as to send warnings or to mark their territory to secure their habitat. Sometimes these loud calls are heard miles away. Their frequent throaty vocalizations whether low, medium or high pitch help them to survive in the wild. The Scarlet Macaws strong, curved beak is a physical characteristic that helps them to adapt, whether in captivity or in the wild. They use it to cut through nuts and hard fruits.
Jamal Andrewin Bohn, Education Director, The Belize Zoo
“They are a seed disperser. So, for example you are giving them pepitos – a favourite snack not only to Belizeans but also to the macaws. You can look at a bird and tell a lot about what it eats based on the structure of their bill. So, their bills are made specifically for cracking open hard nuts and fruit. There is a lot of power behind that and that is why we have the friendly advisories about not putting your hands in – a parrot’s beak can do some damage. It is almost like they have a hand built into their face – they can align the seeds along the lining of their bill, use their tongue like a thumb to manipulate objects and when they have it set – they just use that force to crack it open and eat the inside. And because they are such messy eaters, half of what they eat goes in them and half goes on the ground, so if you think about macaws traveling for miles in the forest, they help to spread stuff around and help with that diversity of plants and trees.”
Although these birds use these physical and behavioral characteristics to thrive – their numbers are dwindling. The Scarlet Macaw is an endangered species. Poachers target the scarlet chicks at just days old and not much to look at – because when they are grown their colorful feathers and ability to mimic human sound make them ideal for the pet trade. These colorful feathers also help these birds to survive in the wild.
Jamal Andrewin Bohn
“So, you notice the bright red coloration right? That is what they are famous for and a lot of people are surprised that a bird in the tropics, in the green would be so bright red. You would think that they would stand out and be easily spotted by predators or hunters but from a distance they do blend in quite well with this kind of greenish environment to the point where you can be right under a tree of macaws and unless they want you to know that they are there and they suddenly fly off, you don’t even know – they do camouflage well. But what scientists have found out is that one key adaptation or benefit for having those red feathers is the pigment – the protein that make up the red that they have – the parrots produce it themselves and it is actually more resistant to getting degraded or broken down by bacteria or humidity in the tropics.”
The scarlet macaws are very social and clever birds, but they are also seen as aggressive at times. They often move or gather in a flock which is another element that has helped them exist in our forests for a long time – with some macaws living well beyond fifty years.
Jamal Andrewin Bohn
“The way that parrots evolved – they have a lot of advantages when they start to work as a group, having flocks; to forage as a group and defend themselves at night. They have an alarm system – it is almost like a community watch when they are nesting together and obviously it is easier to find mates if they are in a continuously moving community rather than going out on their own to find a mate and potentially falling prey. So, that social structure that they have has much to do with their evolutionary advantages – much like people.”