Macaws into the wild

By Nili Olay
This item appears on page 52 of the April 2014 issue.

A picture I took of two young scarlet macaws appears in my article on Costa Rica (Dec. ’13, pg. 32). These birds had been raised and released by the ARA Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rebuilding the wild scarlet macaw population

While vacationing at Hotel Punta Islita (Islita Beach, Guanacaste, Costa Rica), on the Nicoya Peninsula in northwestern Costa Rica, I walked to the ARA compound and learned the steps the staff takes to raise and then release the macaws.

While the birds are in captivity, the staff gathers local food for them so they develop a taste for what they’ll need to eat when released. Once released, the birds often come back to visit their friends in the cage… at least, for a while.

If you ever saw these birds soar, you would be breathless. It is exciting to know that conservation projects such as this are working on behalf of the macaws. I encourage those of you traveling to the Nicoya Peninsula to visit this site.


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