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Born Free USA Global Field Projects

Macaws in Honduras

Published 04/18/11

Revered by the Maya (the ancient peoples of Guatemala and Honduras), scarlet macaws once flew in abundance over much of Central America. Today their numbers have drastically fallen throughout Latin and South America, as the beautiful birds are under constant and sustained threat from deforestation and poaching. 

The scarlet macaw is the national bird of Honduras. Fully grown, they weigh a little more than 2 pounds and are slightly under 3 feet long, from head to tail feathers. Mostly red, they also have bright yellow and blue coloring. They eat mostly fruits and seeds, and their squeaky call can be heard for miles. Left undisturbed, they can live for more than 50 years.

Some of those scarlet macaws live near the small community of Rus Rus in the eastern Honduras region of La Mosquitia. An indigenous person who was leading local efforts to protect the macaws, Tomás Manzanares, in December 2009 was shot four times by criminals who wanted to take over the land where he and others resided. Manzaneres survived, and four months later he returned to the area with Dr. LoraKim Joyner, the director of Lafeber Conservation and Wildlife in Gainesville, Fla. Together, with the consent and assistance of other local people, they launched an effort to build a biological research station that aims to protect and monitor the scarlet macaws.

Born Free USA is happy to have contributed funds for that research station. Through your generosity, we intend to give more. A little money goes a long way toward making the research station a success. For example, the salaries of four security guards — whose presence is vital to protect the macaws from illegal poaching — total less than $17,000 annually. Regular nest checks and health assessment studies cost a total of $6,000 a year.

Please consider a donation to help one of the most beautiful birds on Earth. If 50 people were to give $20 apiece, we could contribute $1,000 toward their protection in Honduras. Success at the biological research station near Rus Rus will mean not only a healthy population of scarlet macaws, but also the preservation of rainforest habitat that many other wild creatures, of many species and sizes, call home.

Read updates about our scarlet macaw project.

See the scarlet macaw project's photo gallery.

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