This past week I attended the Mesoamerican Society of Biology and Conservation Conference in Belize City, Belize. Before I went I relaxed on Caye Caulker where I got to gaze upwards a lot at the soaring magnificent frigate birds overhead (such as the female shown above). Seeing her my own heart soared, as it did to hear the many exciting updates on parrot conservation presented at the full day parrot symposium.
There are Central American scarlet macaws on Coiba Island, Panama, and they may not be experiencing much poaching pressure - thanks to Dr. Mark McReynolds et al for this work!
There was no poaching of Belize scarlet macaws in 2015 and 2016 - thanks to Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand, Boris Arevalo, et al for this work!
There are about 115 yellow-headed parrots in Honduras in the Cuyamel area, and only 2 of 12 nests were poached - thanks to Roger Flores et al for this work!
There are many active nests of yellow-headed parrots in Belize that produced 58 chicks - thanks to Charles Britt et al for this work!
Wild yellow-naped amazons used nest boxes in Nicaragua - thanks to Martin Lezama et al for this work!
There were other presenters and many informal discussions that motivated us to plan how we can together improve the well being of parrots in Central America. Perhaps the best thing about this meeting was the excitement and support we offer one another, which is an important part of conservation work, especially in Latin America where the challenges and risks can be great. For instance, in a recent Global Witness report, two-thirds of the 185 environmental activists murdered in the world were from Latin America. Most often these activists work with little to no governmental support, and it is not unusual that the government even counters or endangers environmentalists. Writes Billy Kyte, author of this report, " Up to now the government sees these people (environmentalists) as opposing development. What really needs to happen is that these people need to be treated as heroes."
Heroes of Central America raising their hands saying "Fly Free!" (presenters and attendees of the parrot symposium in Belize)
These parrot conservationists of Mesoamerica are my heroes, working under threats and challenges, with very little resources, and often using their own funds to cover their expenses. Thank you all for what you do, and for being in solidarity and resistance with me as we build a more beautiful world, fighting the poaching and habitat loss that is rampant in the area. Together we won't ley the sun go down on these birds!
Sunrise on Caye Caulker right before the symposium