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Mexican park gives macaws new lease on life

Monday, May 06, 2013 - 01:57

May 6 - Mexico's Xcaret Ecological Park is reporting progress in its efforts to revive the country's struggling population of scarlet macaws. Human activity has led to a precipitous decline of the species in its natural jungle habitat, but the park says its captive breeding program is helping restore the spectacular bird to its former glory in the wild. Elly Park reports.

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Mexico's Xcaret Ecological Park is reporting progress in its efforts to revive the country's struggling population of scarlet macaws. Human activity has led to a precipitous decline of the species in its natural jungle habitat, but the park says its captive breeding programme is helping restore the spectacular bird to its former glory in the wild. Elly Park reports. STORY: For the newborn scarlet macaws at Xcaret Ecological Park, life is comfortable. But if the species is to be saved from extinction, the park believes its captive breeding program must provide all the care necessary for these birds to survive later in the wild. The Scarlet macaw was once a common sight in Mexico's jungles. Today however, the bird can be found in only two remote areas separated by hundreds of kilometers, the victim of deforestation and illegal hunting.. Scientists at the park, led by Biologist Rodolfo Raigoza, are trying to reverse the decline. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) WILD FAUNA MANAGER AT XCARET PARK, BIOLOGIST RODOLFO RAIGOZA, SAYING: "Three years ago we started working on a project to reintroduce Scarlet macaws in Mexico and release them into the wild." And so far, the project has proven successful. 400 healthy birds are living in the park today although gradually, the mature birds are being released into the wild, according to the program's ' Dr. Salomon Gonzalez. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PRESIDENT OF ACAJUNGLA A.C. AND FOUNDER OF ALUXES ECOLOGICAL PARK IN PALENQUE, DOCTOR SALOMON GONZALEZ, SAYING: "They have to adapt to the climate, their new surroundings and little by little change the diet they had in Xcaret for a more wild one so that when they are set free it's easier." After a lifetime in captivity, a cage door opens and 20 Scarlet macaws take flight into an area where the birds have not been seen in 60 years. And the conservationists say that this is just a beginning.. They hope to reintroduce another 250 macaws to match their numbers in the wild and help them repopulate on their own..

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Mexican park gives macaws new lease on life

Monday, May 06, 2013 - 01:57