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Latino Daily News

Wednesday June 25, 2014

30 Scarlet Macaws Released Into Mexican National Park

30 Scarlet Macaws Released Into Mexican National Park

Photo: Scarlet macaws

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Thirty specimens of the scarlet macaw were released in Palenque National Park in the Mexican state of Chiapas as part of a program to preserve this species, the Aluxes Ecoparque Palenque said.

With this release into the wild, 100 scarlet macaws (Ara macao) have now been set free in Palenque, the press office of the park, managed by the civil association Acajungla, said in a statement.

The freeing of the 30 scarlet macaws, carried out on Sunday and open to the public, seeks to “reverse the process of extinction of this species,” the park said.

The Aluxes Ecoparque Palenque collaborates with the Biology Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, and with the Xcaret nature park of Quintana Roo, to reintroduce and preserve the Neotropical scarlet macaw in the tropical jungles of Chiapas, in the southeastern part of the country.

Palenque National Park is an ideal place for restoring the population of these parrots, the UNAM biologist in charge of the project, Alejandro Estrada, said.

This species, known as Xiuhtecuhtli in Nahuatl and Vucub-Caquix in Mayan, was extinct in the Palenque region for some 50 years, chiefly due to the illegal trafficking of its fledglings, Estrada said.

The macaws reintroduced in the region are part of a reproduction program developed by the Xcaret nature park, whose goal is to release 250 specimens over a five-year period.

Last week 27 scarlet macaws were released in the La Otra Opcion preserve in the Los Tuxtlas region, in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz, as part of the program.

Studies conducted by specialists in early 2013 concluded that there were no more than 240 scarlet macaws in Mexico’s jungles due to habitat destruction and poaching.

The scarlet macaw population has grown 41 percent since then, thanks to the reintroduction programs in Chiapas and Veracruz run by the Xcaret nature park in association with the Biology Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, and community groups.

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