Reintroduction of the Scarlet Macaw and Field Research Initiative
for Parrot Conservation
In 1999, Amigos de las Aves, a Costa Rican conservation organization,
initiated a Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) restoration program in Curú.
13 Scarlet Macaws were released and they are independently foraging. The
survival rate has been over 90% year over year. Active nesting has been
documented; in July 2004 two juvenile birds between 4-5 months of age were noted flying with the flock. This is the first successful breeding of reintroduced Scarlet Macaws in Costa Rica.The macaws are
seen on a daily basis within the wildlife refuge and are frequently sighted
foraging on beach almonds along Curú’s pristine beach and
in the more open areas of the wildlife refuge where their favorite food
resources are found. Future releases will be conducted in hopes of establishing
a viable population in the area. For more information visit Amigos de las Aves on the web at www.hatchedtoflyfree.org and for more regarding research at the site visit www.amigosdelasaves.org
2003, a field research initiative was implemented to study the established
population of the Scarlet Macaw. Greg Matuzak, a Conservation Biologist,
developed and implemented several studies to document the nesting, foraging
ecology, food availability, and movement patterns of the macaws established
in Curú. In late 2003 and early 2004, Greg developed and implemented
additional studies to document the status and ecology of the entire parrot
community in Curú. These include roost counts of the threatened
Yellow-naped Parrot (Amazona auropalliata) and point counts to document
the abundance of each species of parrot on a month over month basis. This
research will provide the necessary information to develop a parrot conservation
plan for Curú and protect suitable nesting sites.
Artificial and Coral Reef Restoration and Conservation Projects
Over 15 years ago a reef restoration project was initiated in the Bay
of Curú using 7,500 old tires. In 2002 and 2003, INRECOSMAR and
Raleigh International installed a PVC tube artificial reef in the Bay
of Curú. So far, the restoration projects have been successful
at increasing fish diversity and abundance and other marine life in the
Bay. For more information regarding the artificial reef project, contact
marine biologist, Alvaro Segura, at INRECOSMAR (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
In 2002, a new Psammocora stellata coral reef was discovered in the Bay
of Curú. This reef is one of only three known Psammocora sp. reefs
in all of Costa Rica. Marine biologists from the University of Costa Rica
and Universidad Latina are conducting a scientific research project to
map and study this unique Psammocora stellata coral reef in the Bay of
Curú. The researchers are finding that it is the largest and healthiest
of its kind in Costa Rica. For more information regarding the study of
the coral reef, contact Bernadette Bezy at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curú MoSI Program – Migratory Bird Monitoring
The MoSI program (Monitoreo de Sobrevivencia Invernal -- Monitoring Overwintering
Survival) www.birdpop.org/MoSI/MoSI.htm is a cooperative effort among
agencies, organizations, and individual bird-banders in Mexico, Central
America, and the Caribbean to operate a network of mist-netting stations
to monitor habitat-specific over-wintering survival rates for both migratory
and resident landbird species coordinated by the Institute for Bird Populations
The purpose of this 5-year study is to determine annual and over-wintering
survival of both migratory and resident landbirds.
many excellent studies on the ecology of wintering Neotropical migrants,
we really understand very little of the complex web of interactions among
these species, the resident species, and their environments. Even less
is known about the demographics of birds in the Neotropics and about the
vital rates (productivity and survival) that drive those demographics.
The Institute for Bird Populations is committed to furthering the understanding
of how climate, weather, and habitat characteristics, and their interrelationships,
influence the ecology and demographics of both migratory and resident
Neotropical birds. Our ultimate goal, however, is to utilize this understanding
to help formulate management and conservation strategies for reversing
the population declines of Neotropical birds.
Curú Wildlife Refuge and Hacienda, a MoSI station is operated in
the mangroves near Sendero Laguna. In its first year of operation (2003/2004)
339 birds were captured, 148 neotropical migrant birds of 22 species were
banded, and 102 species of birds were documented using the mangroves.
Four more years of monitoring will be conducted at Curú between
2004 and 2008.
of Spider Monkeys
The Set Us Free Project includes the reintroduction of the Spider Monkey
(Ateles geoffroyi) in a remote area of the wildlife refuge. The Spider
Monkey was driven to extinction on the Nicoya Peninsula and this project
aims to develop a protocol for implementing successful programs aimed
at the reintroduction of Spider Monkeys in the wild. Several Spider Monkeys
are foraging independently and several pairs have successfully reproduced
in the refuge in past years. Future releases are in the planning stages
and a research program is being developed for the Spider Monkeys. A critical
element of this project is to acclimatize the monkeys in a pre-release
cage away from contact with humans. A supplemental feeding program has
been implemented during the first few after the monkeys’ release,
until they can forage on their own.
Environmental education programs related to the Scarlet Macaw, Spider
Monkey, and marine conservation projects have been developed and implemented
in Curú. For example, several classes of local school children
visited Curú in early 2004 and were taken to an area of Curú
Bay where an artificial reef and coral reef exist. The school children
were taught the importance of protecting their marine environment for
their futures and the importance of supporting conservation programs aimed
at the environment. In 2003, several large signs were made to explain
to school groups and tourists the history and objectives of the conservation
programs that exist in Curú. In the future, an expansion of environmental
education programs will help integrate Curú’s conservation
programs and objectives with local schools and organizations.