Breeding and Reintroduction

Rehabilitation and Release of Psittacines

Endangered Blue and Gold Macaw

Rehabilitation of Blue and Gold Macaw ChicksThe Blue-and-gold Macaw (Ara ararauna), is a member of the Psittacines which comprise parrots, macaws and parrotlets. The Macaws are brilliantly-colored, intelligent, social birds that communicate through loud squawks and scream- like sounds. The natural habitat for Blue and gold Macaws include the wetlands and woodlands of tropical South America and extends to the island of Trinidad. The Nariva Swamp with its palm-swamp habitat was the natural home to these macaws in Trinidad.

Unfortunately, in the late 1960s, the Blue and gold Macaws had been extirpated from Trinidad through anthropogenic processes such as habitat destruction and the pet trade. Initiated by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, the Zoological Society of Trinidad and Tobago and the Wildlife Section of the Forestry Division provided major support to conduct a programme of captive breeding and reintroduction of the Blue and gold Macaw into its historical range within the Bush-Bush Sanctuary in the Nariva Swamp. The Sanctuary is protected under the Conservation of Wildlife Act, Chapter 67:01 of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago.

During the project term of 1999 to 2003, thirty-one wild caught individuals were translocated from Guyana and reintroduced in three phases into the Nariva Swamp. Their progress continues to be monitored as a community endeavour and young macaws have been observed. Translocation of wild populations of parrots has proven to be a viable solution to restocking wild populations that have been regionally extirpated.

Orange-winged and Yellow-headed Amazons

In keeping with the ZSTT mandate to “maintain and breed endangered and threatened species either for research or as stock and replenishment of wild populations”, the period November to December 2009 is earmarked for the release of a second batch of acclimatized birds. Earlier in 2009, eight (8) Blue & Gold Macaws were released into the Nariva Swamp from the Manzanilla outpark. In a matter of weeks, approximately two dozen Orange-winged and two dozen Yellow-headed parrots housed at the Manzanilla outpark will be ready for release. In collaboration with the Manatee Conservation Trust, the released birds will be monitored on a weekly basis.