This programme was originally started 30 years ago to help conserve the two native macaw species of Costa Rica, the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) and the Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus). They started by taking in Macaws rescued from poachers by the government, as well as unwanted pets, and eventually set up a breeding programme to begin releasing the offspring of these Scarlet and Great Green Macaws back into the wild. The release programme has been very successful.
Scarlet Macaws have been released since 2002, with a success rate of over 80%. Even better, the released Scarlet Macaws have now been breeding on their own, without any human interference since 2008. In 2009 the project was expanded, and now there are three active release sites, two for Scarlet Macaws and the first Great Green Macaw release site worldwide. We are in need of volunteers to join projects in both the breeding centre and at the release sites, to help conserve and study these rare species, which were on the verge of extinction.
What to Expect?
The breeding centre is located in Alajuela, not too far from the capital city of Costa Rica, San Jose. The breeding centre's main focus is to breed and raise macaws for release. The Macaws on site are of varying ages including breeding adults, juveniles waiting for release, and chicks. They require an intensive schedule of work to keep each and every Macaw at the centre healthy and happy. However you will be greatly rewarded for your hard work by getting the opportunity to learn about Macaws and their conservation, and the experience of doing and seeing things only a few other people on the planet have.
You will be working alongside the team of international professionals and ‘ticos’ (Costa Ricans who work on the project). They will use their specific skills to enrich the lives of the Macaws, and also help and teach you about Macaw care and conservation along the way.
There are up to 5 volunteer places available at the breeding centre and a minimum commitment of 2 weeks is required. If volunteering at the release sites, you will be working at one of three release sites; Tiskita, Manzanillo and Punta Islita. All release sites are situated within the tropical jungle, and walking distance to the beach (see photo left of beach not far from release site.) You will be working with expert biologists in the field to conduct studies of the Macaws in the region.
As a volunteer, your studies of the Macaws will be focused in five key areas; Investigating survival rates; Dispersal and adaption to the local area; Social interaction and behaviour; Nesting behaviour and Foraging. The release site project is suitable for qualified biologists and/or studying students, as well as enthusiastic birders, ornithologists, zoo keepers, or conservation workers. There are only 2 places available per release site and a minimum commitment of 2 months is required. You could be working long hours in sometimes uncomfortable and arduous situations and maybe on your own.
- Program ID: # 1837
- duration: 1 to 2 Weeks2 Weeks to 1 Month1 to 3 Months
- location: AlajuelaCosta Rica10° 2' 40.506" N, 84° 13' 36.066" W
- Fitness level: Moderately Fit
- Closest Airport:
- Costs From: $500 to $1000$1000 to $1500$1500 to $3000
- Program Type: Environmental & Wildlife Programs
- Program Url:
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