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In 2020, a total of 25 macaws returned to the wild as a result of the of the improved biomonitoring conducted by FCD. Of these 25 chicks, 18 fledged from their natural nest while 7 were released through the in-situ program which was re-initiated that year. In 2021, 24 macaws fledged successfully to the wild and of these, 17 were from their natural nests while 4 from the in-situ program. Additionally, a fully functional field base camp was constructed and allowed for

FCD to safely host volunteers who participated through the Citizen Science Program. In 2020, FCD hosted 20 volunteers while in 2021, we hosted 21 volunteers. 6 FCD staff received training in Customer Service and 4 field staff (100%) also received training in Wildlife Care and Wildlife Protection Act.

This project has provided FCD with the capacity to institute an innovative Citizen Science Program and has enabled our staff to launch a Save Our Scarlets (SoS) Tour as a signature experience. Full endorsement is pending from the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Sustainable Development 

How was the community involved?

FCD’s Biodiversity Research and Monitoring Team were involved throughout the project. They were the team that conducted the field activities related to the monitoring and protection of the scarlet macaw. 

The local volunteers were also involved as they were provided the opportunity to participate in the program as Citizen Scientists. These volunteers were from all over Belize and included local tour guides, university students and local conservation and adventure enthusiasts. At the end of their voluntary experience, the individuals have filled an evaluation form and 100% of volunteers rate the experience at 10 out of 10.

One of the volunteers, Galento Galvez, who participated in 2021 said, “I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to experience the gifts that Belize has to offer. It’s a very insightful program that imbeds the necessity for conservation and protection in Belize!”

What’s Next?

For FCD, the Scarlet Macaw Conservation Program is a long-term program. In Belize, the scarlet macaws are still endangered and, therefore FCD’s ongoing efforts to safeguard this species is multi-faceted and include protection of their natural habitat, deterring the poaching and trade and increasing awareness. The current management plan of the Chiquibul National Park also identifies the scarlet macaw as a conservation target.

A binational Illegal Wildlife Trafficking Taskforce has been created to address the threat to the scarlet macaw and other wildlife so multiple players are involved in the discussion and actions regarding this species. The Citizen Science Program has also been instituted as part of the Scarlet Macaw Conservation Program.

The scarlet macaw breeding habitat has remained as an exclusive area for research and monitoring. However, it does have a high tourism potential. FCD does require to establish a solid presence and program that is conducive towards generating a financial stream for macaw conservation yet ensuring that the population is safeguarded. Capacity building and exposure to on how to do this will be important as we progress into a tourism development scheme.

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