We are glad to announce the online availability of the film, "Poachers and Protectors," commissioned and produced by the US Fish and Wildlife service. It tells the story of our project in La Moskitia, Honduras and the courageous people there who are trying to preserve their cherished scarlet macaw. This bird is highly endangered in the region and people from the local villages are making a difference.
The people can make a difference because they are supported with stipends to patrol the area. They are sustenance farmers, hunters, and fisherpeople and exist largely outside of a cash economy. The funds that we can divert to them from our gracious donors, such as the USFWS, help them take care of themselves (for example, by buying school materials and medicines for their family), so that they can then take care of the parrots.
The film demonstrates how and why community conservation can work, and must work. If the local people are not engaged and committed, then the long-term survival of conservation efforts becomes more precarious. Over time, the poachers can become protectors as they choose to meet their basic needs with different choices. Conservation efforts from those in solidarity with these villagers combined with donations (from people such as One Earth Conservation's donors) can assist with community development. This allows local people to become educators, rescuers, and protectors while the slow change of cultural expectations can take root among succeeding generations in the project area.
In the meantime, lives are saved.