"Day ofthe Parrot" Promotes Conservation in Mexico


It is common knowledge, among those with an interest in parrot conservation in the wild, that many of the species of parrots inhabiting Mexico are at "risk" of extinction. What is not well known is that actions are being taken to assure the future survival of Mexico's parrots.

For example, along the Sierra Madre range, research, habitat preservation, and educational programs are targeting the endangered Maroon-fronted and Thick-billed parrots Rhynchopsitta terrisi and R. pachyrhyncha. Parrot biologist Dr. Ernesto Enkerlin H. is spearheading these efforts under the collaborative auspices of the Monterrey-based Instituto de Technologia, the newly established conservation organization PRO NA TURA:northeast, and the Museo de las Aves.

Further south, researchers from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Instituto de Ecologia are studying the ecology and conservation biology of the Scarlet Macaw Ara macao in the Lacandon Rain forest of Chiapas. In addition to Scarlet Macaw studies, the "Institute" is documenting the habitat characteristics of the Military Macaw Ara militaris in Cosala, Sinaloa along Mexico's Pacific coast. Both projects are being funded by the Mexican Nature Conservation Fund and will undoubtedly result in a better understanding of the requirements of these two magnificent macaws.

Along the Gulf Coast where the endangered Green-cheeked (Red-headed) and Yellow-headed Amazon parrots Amazona inridigenalis and A. oratrixthrive, research also has been ongoing as to their requirements in the wild.

Most recently however a gathering on 5 June 1998 in the city of Aldama addressed the needs of the parrots and their environment. The 126 individuals in attendance to discuss the problem were not scientists however, but students and educators from nine local schools (students ages 10-12). Activities during the day long meeting did not include scientific sessions but rather a giant "parrots and their world" poster-coloring contest, putting together parrot puzzles, making parrot buttons, and conducting group discussions as to the role of parrots in their ecosystem. Further activities included identifying animal tracks in a sandfilled trench and planting live trees in the yard of the Lions Club where the event was conducted.

The first "DIA PARA LA CONSERVACION DE LOS LOROS EN TAMAULIPAS, MEXICO/Day of the Parrot" went extremely well. Much of the credit is due to Mario Vasquez an environmental instructor from the Universidad Autonoma de Tamaulipas in nearby Ciudad Victoria, and his fellow instructors and local school teachers. Financial support for the event included small grants from TRAFFIC:NOR1HAMERICA, The Wildlife Preservation Trust International...