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Transformative Parrot Conservation in La Moskitia, Honduras

Updated: Feb 11, 2023

The authors of this paper, Hector Portillo Reyes, Gail Koelln, and LoraKim Joyner invite your comments and collaboration. Please contact us for a copy as we are protecting the location of the study because of the illegal wildlife trade targeting sites that are disclosed on the internet.

Conservation is an art, created uniquely in every project. Much like a dance between local actors, and national and international interests and organizations, there may be prescribed steps, but there are also missteps and spur of the moment movements. No one preordained conservation plan will fit all regions and all species, so it is difficult not only to assure positive outcomes based on past experience, but to document which conservation actions are essential, and even, which ones are harmful. Describing conservation projects in narrative fashion might indicate possible approaches that lead to success, at least on a short-term basis. In this article, we describe the Apu Pauni Project, a coalition of communities and organizations striving to recover the macaw populations in the Miskito region of Honduras.

The majority of efforts are aimed at species management and livelihood support, as the needs of both people and parrots there are urgent and deep. Offering stipends for patrols may have been the biggest contributor to our success so far, as it supports the people and also protects the nests. We highlight these actions and others we consider to have had the most impact on reducing the poaching and supporting the people, and suggest recommendations based on lessons we have learned. Perhaps the strongest advice we can give is that conservation must be an external and internal transformative process, including decolonization practices, where inter- and intra-personal skills are of paramount importance, as is the vision of a just, equitable, and compassionate society.

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