Preserving Indigenous People and Parrots
This is the fifth year that One Earth Conservation has been working within Honduras. Our primary aim is the restoration of the scarlet macaw population in the Miskito region, and support of the indigenous communities there. We do this throughout the year by providing consultation and funds for food for the confiscated birds that the government brings to the village for care and liberation. Unable to get to the area during the breeding seasons of 2012 and 2013, this year we planned to do a thorough survey of nests while collecting samples as part of the Mesoamerican Wild Psittacine Health Collaboratory.
Dr. Joyner assembled a full field-ready diagnostic laboratory and clinic, able to teach the veterinary and biology students that accompanied her to this region. Disappointingly the adult population seems to be decreasing, there were very few active nests, and the poaching is rampant. Given the threats against the macaws, we also began climbing amazon nests to document their reproductive success. The good news is that after the construction of the research station with funds from One Earth Conservation and Ministry, there is more focus on macaw conservation in this area and infrastructure to support it. A large crew along with Dr. Joyner spent two weeks in the area surveying nests, filming a documentary, conducting parrot counts, placing camera traps, and conducting rodent and bat research (One Earth provided miscellaneous funds and support for all of this). While in the villages we treated a host of household parrots (all poached locally) and with the villagers, provided education and awareness raising conversations. Blood and fecal samples are currently awaiting permits for shipment to Italy. In October, Dr. Joyner signed the Scarlet Macaw Alliance on behalf of Lafeber Conservation, a major funder for One Earth. This is a coalition dedicated to preserving the national bird of Honduras. Poaching has decimated the population, but the country appears to have reached a turning point of interest in macaw conservation. We plan to return in 2015 for chick and nest health evaluation, teaching, and support of the release efforts of confiscated birds in this area. Reflections on this work can be found here and here.
This project will continue in 2015.
Hector Portillo Reyes and Maria Eugenia Mondragon Hung of INCIBIO
ICF (Forestry Service of Honduras), Universidad Nacional Autónomo de Honduras, Universidad Agricultura de Honduras, villages of Rus, Rus and Mabita, La Moskitia