AsoProlapa Scarlet Macaw Reintroduction Program
The Scarlet Macaw, a majestic neotropical parrot whose range stretches from southern Mexico to the Peruvian Amazon is dwindling in population in Costa Rica. AsoProLapa began 20 years ago with Scarlet Macaws confiscated from the illegal pet trade. It would take 3 generations of offspring to shed domestic behaviors and be safely reintroduced to the wild. These beautiful birds once populated the Nicoya Peninsula, as well as 80% of Costa Rica. Due to deforestation and pet trade, their populations dwindled to what today covers less than 20%. Through reforestation and other conservation efforts there are now trees in the Southern Nicoya Peninsula to support them again. With a team of biologists and veterinarians, AsoProLapa has been able to release over 130 macaws, which have now reproduced successfully over 60 offspring in the wild.
AsoProLapa has now chosen The Wild Sun Rescue Center as the next breeding and release facility. Over the next few months we will be designing and building their habitats in order to welcome the breading pairs. Students will be involved during this process, as well as visit their primary facility to learn more about how species reintroduction is carried out and the role of the conservation veterinarian.
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Captive Breeding and the Process to Release
This process can only be performed by experts. Remember that the way a bird looks is his phenotype! Biologists test and know the genome of every bird in the program. Many pet birds are actually hybrids, they and their offspring should not be released to restore a population. Interaction with humans also changes the DNA, so offspring of pets may not have the necessary instincts due to these changes.