Updated: Dec 31, 2019
The Peaceful Parakeet Rangers
Karasabai Village, Rupununi, Region 9, Guyana
We finished 7 days of surveying the endangered sun parakeet in the Karasabai Village area just last month. I had joined up with the parakeet rangers of this region to determine how many sun parakeets there actually were. A full survey had never been undertaken before, and for good reason. To cover the entire area means a lot of hiking, hammock camping, and getting around by boats, ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles), bikes, motorcycles, and trucks.
Rangers start young!
This amazing group of rangers was up for it, and though spread thin over a large area, we learned a lot more about this species than we knew before: where they roost (in communal or family cavities), where they nest, and where they forage. We were grateful to realize that there were more of them than the 200 we had thought previously existed, and that there were juveniles accompanying the adults, meaning that the work of these rangers and this village is bearing fruit, or rather, parakeets. Their efforts over the last years to stop poaching were having a positive impact, though the project has just really begun.
To celebrate the week’s hard work, we had a gathering where they wrote a song about their work, and performed it .
We are the peaceful Rangers
From the Pakaraimas
Protecting our parrots
Flying all around
Educating our people
Not to trap any parrots
We have that right
Stop burning up the mountains
Stop burning up the trees
Stop polluting the rivers
That belong to you
Stop trapping all the parrots
Stop trapping parakeets
Stop trapping all the macaws
That belong to you
They described themselves not just as rangers, but as peaceful rangers. The work of conservation is a work of peace. Though it feels like war at times due to the overwhelming challenges and frequent threats and actualities of violence, we must live and breathe peace in all we do, for there is no ultimate liberation unless we change the dominating culture where others are systematically oppressed and societal and environmental violence is heaped upon them.
We must be the change we wish.
We must be the peace we long for.
We must protect and liberate ourselves and others.
Let us sing. We are the peaceful rangers!
We change, protect, liberate, and sing so that we can feel welcomes on this planet and that we be welcoming to the many others to earth, our sweet home.
Cloth painted by one of the parakeet rangers, honoring our work and painted parakeets