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Guatemala

Scarlet Macaw Rescue


Many things could be said about the most beautiful bird of the Mesoamerican lowlands, the Scarlet Macaw... The Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) is about 30-36 inches in length. It used to live in the lowland Mesoamerican jungle, the Chiapas region in Mexico, the western part of Guatemala, in the Peten jungle, and the entire Caribbean and Pacific Coasts of Central America.

It could also be found in South America’s rainforests, such as in the Manu National Reserve in Peru. Scarlet Macaws live in valleys -close to rivers and lagoons- where they can obtain the minerals they need to eat in order to prevent intoxication from certain plants they feed on.

Both male and female of this species are similar in appearance: bright red plumage, yellow upper wing coverts, blue rump and tail covers, whitish skin on their faces, pale gray bills above and black below. They are a beautiful and extremely endangered species.

To the Maya Civilization Scarlet Macaws were Sacred. They represented the daylight and the rising Sun. They used to hold ceremonies in their honor, like they did for their gods as well as for the Sacred Quetzal and the Lord of Night, the stalker, the Jaguar. Many lords and rulers of Maya cities took the name "Macaw" for themselves to magnify their personality and power.

Deforestation has reduced the habitats to just a few areas where Scarlet Macaws still survive. On top of it all Scarlet Macaws are highly prized in the illegal pet trade, sometimes being sold for up to $2500. Therefore, some people in certain communities adjacent to Scarlet Macaws’ breeding and nesting sites have found poaching or "harvesting" their pigeons a lucrative opportunity to help increase their economic opportunities.

Ecotourism and Adventure Specialists is now supporting projects for the protection of Scarlet Macaws.

We work together with the communities we visit in conservation and economic alternatives for people living in the areas where the last Scarlet Macaws live. Through ecotourism we hope to be giving them the opportunity of receiving economic benefits and be addressing a big part of the real problem... In any case, we are confident that through our activities with these communities we are taking steps towards securing the survival of Scarlet Macaws...

Ixcoche Lagoon, an important nesting site on the Usumacinta River, is a natural stop for Scarlet Macaws in the Peten and the Lacandon jungle. One of the most important communities in the area is called "Laureles". The people from Laureles have been poaching the Macaws’ babies and taking them out of the jungle, across the border (with Mexico), to sell. We are sharing the idea of taking care of Macaws with them and they are open to the idea of receiving benefited from ecotourism. Soon we would like to see them taking people through the jungle to see the Scarlet Macaws in their natural habitat.

Every time you or anybody else chooses to take a trip through the Usumacinta River to see the Scarlet Macaws with us, you are contributing to its conservation and the economical development of many people in the area. Next time you are planning a birding trip, don’t forget that the future of this sacred bird is in your hands! Check our tours coming up soon!

macawrescue@ecotourism-adventure.com


 
 

© 1998- 2011 Ecotourism and Adventure Specialists

Ecotourism & Adventure Specialists is the leading cultural & natural tourism outfitter in the Maya World region operating tours in all of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize & Honduras since 1995 with the back up and experience only 30 years as professionals in the tourism industry can guarantee. Ecotourism & Adventure has begun its operations in South America as more and more of our travelers demand the same quality services they are used to for unique itineraries in Peru, Chile, Argentina and Ecuador.