Less than 1,000 scarlet macaws remain within the habitat corridor spanning Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico. They are threatened by habitat loss and increasingly, by trafficking for the pet trade. Compounding the problem, their nests are also attacked by aggressive, invasive Africanized honey bees—also known as “killer bees”—that sting parent birds to death or drive them away, leaving fledglings to starve and are also under threat from forest fires raging in key nature reserves.
WCS’s health team in Guatemala is protecting the species in its last Central American refuge by helping hand rear and rehabilitate fledglings from disturbed nests while studying the health needs of these wild animals. Such efforts are critical to the species’ conservation, with the pressure of poaching now driving these birds towards regional extinction in Guatemala and Belize.
WCS veterinarian Dr Luis Guerra spoke to Mongabay about their efforts to save the Scarlet macaw