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Triple Alliance of Compassion, Awareness, and Hard Work: Saving the Parrots of Paraguay

Cerro Memby on way to Cerro Cora
I journey with three other companions from Asuncion in Paraguay to the National Parks in the Departments of Concepcion and Amambay: Nora Neris and Anabal Bogado of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (SEAM) and Dr. Andres Alvarez of the National University Veterinary School. Our goal is to survey the parrot population, which we have been doing since 2015 in this area, This time we will be especially concentrating on the National Parks.

View from morning parrot count September 6, 2018

View from morning parrot count September 6, 2018

Our first stop is Cerro Cora National Park. It is named for the surrounding hills that grace the landscape as we entered this region, though it is most widely known as where the last battle of the Triple Alliance War (1864-1870) occurred. Here the President of Paraguay, Francisco Solano López, died in battle, saying "I die along with my country." Paraguay did not end, but the war devastated the country.

Memorial where the President died near the river (above) and his likeness below in the park's museum.

The park reminds one not just of past ruin, but current as well, due to the massive deforestation in the area. I am hopeful that we will find some parrots here, and we do after conducting one brief formal count early in the morning of September 6, 2018:

Amazona aestiva (turquoise-fronted amazon parrot) = 3

Brotogeris chiriri (yellow-chevroned parakeet) = 16

Eupsittula aurea (peach-fronted parakeet) = 2

Peach fronted parakeet perched during morning count (above) and male feeding female (below)

Yellow-chevroned parakeet during morning count

Any additional species were too far away to identify, and these unidentified individuals only numbered 8. Surely a longer period of time in the park would reveal more individuals and more species, but even still the results suggest that there is not much parrot diversity or abundance here. Habitat loss and the illegal wildlife trade has taken its toll.

Other birds during count (Southern-crested Caracara, possible Shiny Cowbird, and Masked Tityra)

This is not to say that we will give up by any means on this park or turn our back on efforts here. It has a strategic location on easily accessible roads next to a city, Pedro Juan Cabellero. It would be a great location for education and ecotourism activities, and for further parrot counts to really see what is here in the hills and river valleys around.

Headed pack to park headquarters after the morning count

We who love Paraguay and her wildlife assert that we will make a stand here, saying, "Let the parrots live well along with this country!" We make this happen by making a triple alliance of compassion, awareness, and hard work.

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