Paso Pacifico thwarts wildlife crime
Paso Pacifico thwarts wildlife crime
Within the last month, our team on the ground in Nicaragua was able to track down 2 stolen Yellow-naped Amazon parrotlets and successfully return them back to their parents. The photograph above shows one of these baby parrots being cut free from the string it was tied to in a local home. Of the 16 nests that Paso Pacífico has been monitoring this year, only two were targeted by poachers and one of those turned into the success story above.  
Within Nicaragua, the population of the Yellow-naped Amazon has declined so dramatically due to poaching and habitat destruction that the species is at risk for local extinction. For the past seven years, Paso Pacífico has been working to protect this threatened species and we are excited to finally see the benefits from the long term investment. We have had record success in 2016 with the highest number of parrots (12) to have fledged the nests; four of which we are actively tracking with radio transmitters.
Paso Pacífico's conservation efforts with the Yellow-Naped Amazon have been sustained by the Loro Parque Foundation. Other partners in the project include the International Institute of Tropical Forestry with the U.S. Forest Service and the IADB's Multi-Lateral Investment Fund.
Poaching and the illegal trade of wildlife is pushing many species to extinction and with the internet providing an ideal marketplace, the black market for illegal wildlife products is worth an estimated $19-20 billion a year. In Central America, the illegal trade of sea turtle eggs dramatically impacts successful nesting and has caused large population declines in several species. In response to this issue, Paso Pacífico has been working towards a tech solution to help conservationists track the movement of poached eggs through the black market. Our solution of creating artificial turtle eggs with hidden GPS tracking devices was chosen as a winner in the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge.
As one of the 16 winners, Paso Pacifico was invited to present at SXSW Interactive (annual technology conference in Austin, TX) where Eduardo Boné represented us on a panel with Ravikant Singh of Binomial Solutions (fellow Challenge winner), judge Crawford Allan of TRAFFIC and wildlife expert Catherine Workman of National Geographic. You can watch our winning solution in action here, where you will see Eduardo demonstrating how the tracking technology works with eggs hidden in the audience.  We are grateful for the opportunity to present at SXSW and for the opportunity to participate in this globally important competition.
Earlier this month Sarah Otterstrom and Orlando Jarquín of Paso Pacífico attended the Partners in Flight Conservation Business Plan Workshop in Guadalajara, Mexico, which focused on tropical dry forest and bird conservation throughout Central America and Mexico. During the event experts and partners from Latin and North American governments, universities and NGOs worked together to develop a strategy conserving habitats across the migratory pathways of Central America. Two of the species targeted in the workshop were the resident Yellow-Naped Amazon parrot and the migrant Painted Bunting (pictured below).
As a result of the workshop, the Guadalajara Declaration was drafted, which puts forth a shared vision of conserving bird habitat in the Western forests of North and Central America. This workshop was made possible through the leadership and collaboration of multiple partners including the Organization of American States, Partners in Flight, CONABIO, the American Bird Conservancy, El Jaguar Reserve, the University of Guadalajara and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
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Jose Francisco Vanegas Cortez, a.k.a. Chico, is a forest ranger at Paso Pacífico. While Chico originally began working with us to reforest his own land ten years ago, in 2011 he joined the team as a ranger to help monitor endangered wildlife such as the Black-Handed Spider Monkeys and the Yellow-Naped Amazon parrots. Chico also serves as a mentor and trainer in our Junior Ranger education program. "Maíz Seco" (Dry Corn) as he is called by friends due to his slender stature and endless energy, is an expert in identifying trees and he knows every branch on the trails he helps protect! Don Chico takes pride in his own farm where he grows basic grains and raises animals, but also in the role he plays as a guardian of local biodiversity and reforestation efforts.  
Yellow-Naped Amazon takes flight
Over the past year Eduardo Boné-Morón worked as Managing Director for Paso Pacífico from our California office. Thanks to his leadership with the team, Eduardo was able to make important contributions to our conservation projects. He helped set up a system to track the conservation impact of Paso Pacifico and assisted us in better planning our diverse activities on the ground in Nicaragua. Most recently Eduardo represented Paso Pacífico as a winner of the USAID's Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge at the South by Southwest Interactive conference. Although Eduardo will be moving on to a new opportunity, his time with Paso Pacífico is greatly appreciated and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors!
This month on Instagram: