Volunteer Blog: Lilli

Volunteer Blog: Line
February 9, 2024
Volunteer Blog: Julius
February 17, 2024
The Great Green Macaw reintroduction project in Costa Rica’s South Caribbean, Ara Manzanillo, has successfully repopulated the area with over 100 magnificent critically endangered Ara ambiguus. The Assisted Reproduction Program began in 2016 and presently maintains 27 artificial nests in select rainforest trees.

Developing and monitoring nests and rescuing at risk macaw chicks demand dynamic strategies. During breading season, nest-monitoring is a fulltime job. We prefer not to interfere with the natural reproductive process, however, Great Greens are so critically endangered that increasing the free-flying population takes priority. If we determine that a runt chick of a brood would not survive without assistance, we either climb the tree daily to feed the runt inside the nest, or must relocate chick to a brooding box for days of supplemental feeding before returning to nest. This significantly increases reproduction survival rate.
This year, once again Mick and Sneezy had triplets with 1 smaller chick days younger. We initially provided formula inside the nest, but climbing up and down 25 meters twice daily was not viable. The runt “Lore” was brought down to feed every few hours for 10 days and although it grew in size and strength, the siblings had also grown and dominated for parents’ food, leaving Lore with an empty crop.

To avoid hand raising Lore for a year inside the aviary, we sought an adoption. Fortunately, the nest closest to the field station had only 1 younger chick and we placed Lore into a new family. Initially, Lore did not receive food and for 3 days volunteers climbed twice a day with food. We were ready to give up, when much to our surprise, on the 4th day Lore had a full crop!

While still monitoring the nest, we are delighted to observe both Lore and new sibling cared for and growing together.