Nicaragua is losing one of its most iconic and colorful species – the Cyanoptera macaw (Ara macao cyanoptera). This subspecies of the scarlet macaw has a distinctive wing pattern and is critically endangered: by 2015, Nicaragua’s population had dwindled to a mere 14 birds!
So, with support from Loro Parque Fundacion, the Brandywine Zoo, Projets Plus Action, and individual donors, Paso Pacifico has been working to rescue these macaws from the brink of extinction. Nicaragua’s last population is in the threatened dry tropical forests at Cosigüina in northern Nicaragua, so we focused on that area and the local villages of El Rosario and La Salvia.
In addition to monitoring the macaws in the field, we launched an educational program that taught 35 local children about the significance of the cyanoptera macaw and their habitat. The kids played games, painted, drew, saw videos, and even experienced theater through an official mascot—Macaito!
Macaito helped students to understand the importance of protecting his home and the surrounding forest. He told them about how hard life is for the macaws, telling stories of losing family to fires and poaching. Macaito is a lot of fun to work with, and with his help we hope to create a positive outlook on taking care of natural resources and the macaws. We look forward to continuing our work with the communities to protect the cyanoptera macaw and its habitat.
And guess what? Through our efforts, two macaw chicks have successfully fledged their nest. This is the first successful macaw nest documented in the area in over 20 years!
We are so excited! For more photos and details about this effort, we invite you to read our latest newsletter.