Deep in the verdant forests of northern Guatemala, an exemplary crossover between field management and aviculture of techniques is taking place in order to nurture chicks to independence.
This initiative is part of a long-term project of WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)-Guatemala, supported by the Loro Parque Fundación (LPF), for the conservation of the northern cyanoptera subspecies of Scarlet Macaw which, as implied by its scientific name, is differentiated by the greater extent of blue in the wings.
There is also another important distinction. Taking into account the huge geographical distribution of the nominate subspecies macao through South America north to Costa Rica, Scarlet Macaw is not recognised as a threatened species. By contrast, the northern subspecies, because of habitat loss and internal trade within its native countries, has disappeared from most of its former haunts and is threatened with extinction. For this reason, in 2002 WCS-Guatemala began the project in the Department of Petén, Guatemala, the area containing the most important remaining northern Scarlet Macaw nesting sites in the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR), especially El Peru, El Burral and La Corona. The project not only works to sustain the high concentration of active nests in this area, it also has importance to maintain the connectivity of northern Scarlet Macaw populations throughout the Selva Maya of Mexico and Guatemala, and potentially with the Belizean population.