The five scarlet macaws rescued last week in the Chiquibul have now entered their second stage of a 5 stage soft release program into the wild. For the next two months they will be fed and raised at a laboratory located in their natural habitat in order to get used to the wild and minimize any human imprinting.
Friends for Conservation and Development - FCD Belize
The future of Scarlet Macaws in Belize seems uncertain due to the ongoing illegal wildlife trade that threatens their survival even in the safety of the country’s dense forests. The illegal practice has become a common practice in the Chiquibul National Park in western Belize, where Guatemalan poachers raid nests for young birds to sell in the black market. This was the case on June 7th, when seven young Scarlet Macaws were saved from such a fate when two poachers were intercepted by rangers of the Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD). The chicks were taken to the Belize Wildlife Referral Clinic (BWRC), where they will be looked after until maturity, and based on recommendations released back into the wild.
The encounter between the FCD rangers and the poachers took place around 6PM when they were conducting a routine exercise mounting cameras to monitor the poaching of endangered Scarlet Macaws. The poachers, identified from Guatemala, were well inside Belizean territory and allegedly armed. An FCD ranger was obliged to fire his weapon in self-defence, causing a non-lethal injury to one of the poachers. According to a report from FCD, he was immediately detained for illegal entry and poaching of protected wildlife. The other poacher managed to escape. The arrested person is identified as 36-year-old Porfilio Ramirez Tirgeros of La Rejoya, Peten Guatemala. He was transported to a medical facility in San Ignacio Town and then to Belize City. All the birds were found inside a bag carried by Tirgeros.
The rescued Scarlet Macaw chicks were placed in the care of the BWRC, which was the nearest facility and partners with the FCD and the Forest Department with this type of rehabilitation. Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand at BWRC told The San Pedro Sun that their goal at the clinic is to return the Scarlet Macaws to the Chiquibul Area as soon as possible. Unfortunately, from the seven birds, only five survived the ordeal. It is believed that they died because of the way the poachers handled them. The remaining five chicks are between 25 and 40 days old and will need between 60 to 90 additional days to reach full maturity.Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun