Paso Pacifico

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Protecting Nicaragua's Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrot

Through generous funding from the Loro-Parque FundaciónOrnithological CouncilParrots International, Sea World Busch Gardens Fund and the US Forest Service International Institute for Tropical Forestry we are monitoring the threatened yellow-naped parrot population in the dry forest habitat of the Paso del Istmo Biological Corridor, where parrot populations have declined precipitously in recent decades due to habitat loss and the illegal pet trade.

The yellow-naped parrot (Amazona auropalliata) is a large Amazona parrot with a unique ability to vocalize. The species is endangered in Nicaragua due to its low rates of reproduction and its dependence on quality habitat found only in mature tropical dry and riparian forests.

The yellow-naped parrot is popular for the pet trade and poaching is rampant, despite an international ban on its trade. Poaching practices are particularly destructive to forests, because when nesting pairs are found, the nest tree is often chopped or burned, and the fledglings then snatched from the nest. Stolen birds are sold illegally on the black market. Once captive, these social and highly intelligent birds are often kept in small cages and in isolation.

Paso Pacífico is gravely concerned about the steep declines in wild yellow-naped parrot populations in the Paso del Istmo. Other large parrot species that were once abundant have already gone locally extinct (the Scarlet Macaw and Great Green Macaw), and we are committed to avoiding another tragic extinction.

Paso Pacífico has begun a project aimed at protecting wild populations of yellow-naped parrots by locating critical foraging and nesting habitat within the Paso del Istmo and are identifying the abundance of birds. We are working with local communities to discourage poaching and promote the value of the birds.

Poachers are important partners in this project; we have recruited them as field assistants with the goal of shifting their attitudes in favor of parrot conservation. Those who are poachers may one day be leaders in the struggle to save this noble species.

In addition to monitoring parrot populations, we have established an incentive program, providing financial rewards for each successfully fledged parrot. Similar to our successful sea turtle incentive payment programs, this new project establishes incentive payments to landowners and farmers who protect parrot nests from poachers. Whenever we can document that juvenile parrots are able to successfully leave their nests, we make a cash award.

We also have begun a pilot study for the use of artificial nest boxes (pictured below) for parrots in areas where we have observed loss of nesting trees due to coastal development.   

Former poachers (whom we've helped become conservationists) climb high into the trees to place the nest boxes where they'll be safe from predators. Once the nests are secured, our forest rangers will be able to watch over them.   

As with our other integrative conservation programs, our parrot project advances our parrot education programs, and incorporates community workshops and film nights.

Finally, the program includes continued monitoring of all parrot and parakeet populations across the corridor, a program which began in 2008 and which enables us to monitor changes in populations.

You can help us do the work to study and protect yellow-naped by making a donation

To help your friends learn more about yellow-naped parrots face in Nicaragua, please share this video:

Contact Us

PO Box 1244 • Ventura, CA 93002-1244
Phone: 1-805-643-7044

Carretera a Masaya Km 12.4
Residencial Villas del Prado, Casa No. 7
Managua, Nicaragua
Phone: +505-2279-8423
Phone: +505-2279-7072

© 2006 Paso Pacífico