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Scientists from the University of Texas will investigate the reproductive cycle of the scarlet macaw in Punta Leona.

With the goal of turning it into an environmental education tool in the Central Pacific Conservation Area, scientists from Texas A&M University, under the supervision of biologist Dr. Christopher Vaughan, will begin studying the reproductive cycle of the scarlet macaw (Ara Macao) in October.

“The scarlet macaw has the largest distribution of the 17 current species of macaws, from southwestern Mexico to northern Bolivia. It has been little studied throughout most of its distribution, but is considered endangered. For example, although legally endangered in Costa Rica and other countries, the lack of research on this species restricts it to being classified as a threatened species in many Amazonian countries,” commented Vaughan.

The research will involve scientists Dr. Donald Brightsmith and Dr. Gabriela Vigo, professors at Texas A&M University, who for more than two decades have led an ambitious project in the lowlands of southeastern Peru called The Macaw Society, dedicated to long-term research on the ecology and conservation of macaws and parrots.

The research team will also include the participation of scientist M.Sc. Otto Monge, and Lic. Humberto Solórzano, a retired teacher from the Quebrada Ganado School, who has taken the videos of the macaw nests, as well as the educational coloring books about macaws to many schools in the canton.

In Punta Leona, the new stage of scarlet macaws research pursues some specific objectives such as:

  • Investigate and monitor the reproductive cycle of scarlet macaws by placing video cameras and sensor systems in and around their natural and artificial nests;
  • Investigate and monitor the nesting ecology of scarlet macaws by measuring and weighing chicks to determine growth rates;
  • Educate people in the Central Pacific about the breeding cycle of the scarlet macaw with the video cameras: a) teachers and school children, b) communities, c) tourists, d) Punta Leona partners and workers. In addition, use the website to educate the national and global public about the reproductive cycle of the scarlet macaw with the video cameras.