town. This program is strictly voluntary, but many kids show up each month for the presentations about the scarlet macaws, and to hear the biologists speak about the birds and their breeding biology. The key to success in this area is to have the kids involved with the conservation efforts. With this in
the children are rewarded with new notebooks, t - shirts depicting their status as Guacaguardianes, a hat with the Guacaguardianes logo, and when they have accomplished most of the assigned tasks, they are given their pin depicting them as official guard- ians of the Scarlet macaw. So far, the parents have been very receptive to the education and have encouraged their children to attend meetings. The parents have also reported that their children follow birds all around the neigh- borhoods. New goals are now being discussed to expand the program out a bit further into other small communities near the station. Biologists have reported that there have been changes in the local attitudes toward the birds. There is a definite decrease in the number of kids shooting at birds with slingshots and a few artists have depicted the logo of the Guacaguardianes onto buildings around town Funding for this program and other anti - poaching education is very limited. The US Fish and Wild- life Service has awarded some funding through March of 2022 under the US Endangered Species Act, but corporate Mexico has not responded to re- quests for funds as of yet. As parrot lovers we can help. Natura Mexicana is in need of donations to keep this program and others going. There are plans to buy binoculars for the children that show an in- terest in continued preservation of the macaws in southern Mexico. To help fight poaching and encourage conservation in the communities where the last of the Scarlet macaws fly, you can donate through the PayPal email address below. You can earmark your funds for the Scarlet macaws by putting a note in your PayPal donation. https://www.paypal.com/donate/?cmd=_s - xclick&hosted_button_id=7VGCAB6WN8KLA
Rodrigo Leon teaches children of the community about the scarlet macaws.
mind, a program was designed where kids can earn the status of “ Guacaguardianes ” or Macaw Guards, and receive rewards based on their sightings and records of birds in the area. The first lesson these children are taught is that the scarlet macaw represents Mexico, and they are fast becoming extinct due to the activities of the illegal trade. They learn that poaching, agriculture, clear- ing forests, and cutting Ceiba trees is resulting in a sharp decline in the number of scarlet macaws that fly free in Mexico. They are all given a notebook and told how to take notes on the birds they see in the community during their day at school and in the evenings in their free time. The kids have reported sightings of birds during feeding times, and some have followed birds to their nesting sites to report on their nesting habits as well. Biologists can use the information to map out how far from the station the birds travel for food or nest sites. Some chil- dren even report if they can see a leg ring on the birds they followed. Activities during their meeting might include such tasks as making drawings of the birds or doing a count of how many birds they may have recorded in one day as a group. When funding is available,
AFA Watchbird 21
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