Illegal Wildlife Trafficking Update

January 12, 2016
  • Screen-shot-2015-03-18-at-2.34.30-PM

    Although the scarlet macaw breeding season started late in 2015 compared to previous years, a total of 15 chicks were able to integrate themselves into the wild population. Seven of these chicks were raised by their parents in the wild, while 8 were raised by research field staff in an in-situ laboratory and finally soft released. For the first time in 5 years, no chick was poached from the nests being monitored, although there were 6 poaching attempts.

    Poaching was reduced to zero because of two reasons, namely due to an increase in law enforcement patrols and constant human presence to deter poachers, and due to the extraction of at risk chicks and raised in a field laboratory. Two months after the soft release, chicks have been constantly observed feeding on wild fruits and socializing with wild adult macaws.


    Since the start of the breeding season, illegal activities were consistent in the area but concentrated more so around xate extraction. During the month of May, all 6 poaching attempts were recorded. Poachers managed to climb three cavities but on two of these, the chicks had already been extracted by the FCD Research Team and taken to in-situ laboratory, while the other had eggs. During one poaching attempt, FCD Park Rangers were stationed close to a tree cavity in an attempt to apprehend the poachers but they managed to escape. For the two other poaching attempts, poachers only made machete marks on the tree trunks but did not climb the tree. Poachers also killed a Tapir and set the banks of the Raspaculo River on fire. A camp was also discovered that had an enclosed trap indicating that potentially a wild animal was kept there. Poachers did not poach any macaw chicks from the monitored nests due to the constant human presence and the increase of patrols conducted by FCD Park Rangers.

    FCD was able to increase patrols during the 2015 macaw breeding period and specifically target illegal wildlife trafficking thanks to the support of DFID/Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund and the Wildlife Conservation Society.