Throughout Mesoamerica there are many wild psittacine populations in peril. Little is known about the health status of these populations, both in terms of population stability and in risks to the adult population and recruitment of juveniles into the breeding population. Clearly, habitat loss and poaching play the most significant roles. In populations under stress, other factors not normally of high significance may threaten the remaining birds, such as genetic weaknesses, predation, infectious disease, chick disease, and climate change. We plan to investigate risk factors to these populations, including a survey of parasitic and infectious diseases, as well as genetic analysis. For this aim a collaboratory is forming between One Earth Conservation, the American Museum of Natural History, the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Camerino, Italy, and a variety of in-country partners. This research project seeks to provide data that informs conservation management strategies, with a close look at what infectious agents birds might introduce from one population into another. It also provides training and capacity building for in-country partners. In 2014 we started collecting samples and provided training in Honduras, and we worked with Guatemala, Belize, and Paraguay to prepare for samples to be collected there. In 2015, Dr. Joyner will travel to Belize, Honduras, and Paraguay, and possibly also Guatemala to collect samples.
This project will continue in 2015.