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Ometepe: Island of Hope for Endangered Parrots

Since 2013 One Earth has been working on the island of Ometepe, Nicaragua, gaining partners as we go, including the LOCOs and Flora y Fauna Internacional, and helpful lending of climbers and expertise from Paso Pacifico. Our main goal was to find out where the parrots were, and in what numbers. We discovered that they are on this island in high numbers, perhaps the highest density of anywhere in their range. They are treasure.

(photos by Norlan Zambrana Morales)

Now our goal is to understand their breeding ecology and threats to their breeding success. We suspect that one of the highest risks is poaching for the illegal wildlife trade, as it is elsewhere in Central America. This year we aim to find out, while also locating and monitoring nests, employing local community members, and holding education and community awareness activities.

We began our season in late October, for here on this island this species breed earlier than anywhere else in the range. Our conservation team met with community leaders, and held a school event which terminated in a parade. While parading down the main street in Playa de Santa Domingo, a parrot looked out from her nest as the children passed by.

Already we have identified 5 nests. With over 1000 of this species on the island, we probably need to find about 295 more nests. We have our work cut out for us, but to keep these emerald birds here flying against a backdrop of towering volcanoes, we cherish the honor of the challenge before us.

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