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Seeding Conservation with Love

Updated: Feb 11, 2023

I just returned this week from our parrot conservation projects located in a tiny village, Mabita, in La Moskitia, Honduras. It is largely made up of two interrelated families that came to this area in the 1980's. They were escaping the violence on the Coco River which divides Honduras from Nicaragua. This area was wracked with guerrilla activity and inundated with refugees during the Nicaragua Revolution. The violence continued long after the war ended. One of the founders was detained by the authorities for a crime he didn't commit, and then tortured to the extent that he never walked again. Later, drug trafficking, gang rivalry, and land invaders kept the people fearful and vulnerable to robbery and assassination.

A wild 11-week old scarlet macaw chick after a health exam, being cared for and protected.

The young chicks of our project are the seeds of future hope for a flourishing population of parrots, and people, in this region

Though violence seeded this village and has accompanied it's growth, so has beauty and hope. Recently I was told a new story of the origin of the village's name. One of the other founders saw a beautiful lagoon here with flowers, and thought she would call the area "Mab" which means "seed" in Miskito, and the name then perhaps morphed to "Mabita," meaning "little seed."

The conservation team at one of our camps, made up of members of Mabita, and its sister community. Rus Rus. These communities together are the center of where efforts have been planted to grow conservation in the region.

(Dr. Joyner far left)

Mabita indeed began small. At first only a few people in the village were interested in preserving their disappearing macaws. Now, poaching in the village has virtually stopped, and there are 11 villages in total participating in conservation actions and patrols across more than 5,000 square kilometers. A tiny seed has grown into the largest community protected parrot conservation project in the world.

The team mimics macaws flying free (above) and then has a little fun (below).

I don't know if human kind can ever avoid the tragedy and violence inherent in our species and societies, but there will always be fertile ground for the flowering of something beautiful and powerful beyond all thought of possibility. Wherever you are, don't hesitate, do something to witness to and guard life, even if it is a small effort. For conservation action is love, and you are a seed.

A rescued, then liberated, adult scarlet macaw, enjoying the fruits (and seeds and leaves) of the labor of the villagers in Mabita and Rus Rus, who have built a sanctuary for wildlife. Because of them she and many like her

are free and flourishing.

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