Berthy Vaca reports for El Deber:
The meeting to talk about the traffic of species, taking as a flag the jaguar, will be on July 24 and 25 in Santa Cruz. For conservationists, the villagers of the communities must become protectors of the threatened fauna
In the Santa Cruz Kempff Mercado zoo, they live no more than five red-forehead macaws. Photo: JORGE IBÁÑEZ
The red forehead macaw (Ara rubrogenys, for science) is in the category of critical danger in the red book of wildlife of Bolivia, which keeps a record of the species at risk of extinction, by hunting for commercialization in the black market of pets and because for many producers of the dry valleys of the country, they represent a threat to crops.
Faced with this urgent situation, the EL DEBER Radio made yesterday the Forum of the Red Forehead Macaw, a flight of extinction, in which experts gave guidelines for the conservation of this unique species and, in addition, Rodrigo Herrera, legal advisor to the Vice Ministry of the Environment, unveiled the national biodiversity strategy and policy, which includes a specific component regarding the fight against wildlife trafficking, starting with a workshop on this topic, which will be held on July 24 and 25 in Santa Cruz.
Likewise, Herrera anticipated that a draft of a new Environmental Penal Code is being prepared in order to toughen penalties for this crime and also proposes the inclusion of new environmental crimes with exemplary sanctions.
Traffic does not stop
The plumage of the red forehead macaw is showy. Predominantly glowing green color, with vivid red-orange in the upper end of the wings and in the crown, its main characteristic. It is unique in the world and Bolivia has the privilege of being its natural habitat, in the coves of the dry inter-Andean valleys of Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, Chuquisaca and Potosí, where the main causes of its decline is the degradation of its ecosystem due to the man and traffic.
It is estimated that there are currently about 600 individuals in the wild and their capture continues, because two weeks ago, in Cochabamba, conservationists kidnapped squab individuals of red-forehead macaws plucked from the nest by traffickers who are being processed. “We adhere to the criminal actions of the Office of the Prosecutor, requesting the application of Article 223 of the Criminal Code, which has a penalty of up to six years in prison for the possession of these birds. The judicial body needs to have more tools to impose higher sanctions, which is why we are proposing a new Environmental Penal Code not only related to crimes against wildlife but also to pollution, deforestation, etc.”, indicated Herrera.
Raise to avoid traffic
Abraham Rojas, in charge of the School of Environmental Education of the Noel Kempff Mercado zoo, is in favor of informing about the delicate situation of this macaw to the inhabitants of the communities of the valleys to ensure that the conservation of this bird is directly linked to the populations that coexist with this species.
Abraham Rojas is also in favor of a plan that is executed in the USA with several species of parrots: the legal reproduction in captivity of these animals for sale as pets, a measure that reduces illegal trafficking. It considers that in Bolivia this program can be replicated under a special norm.
Jorge Eduardo Ríos, head of the UNODC global program to prevent and combat crimes against wildlife and forests, indicated that the preservation of natural wealth depends on the actions of the Government and youth. “They have to do the campaigns and make sure that the resources are used in a sustainable way. It is necessary to make a diagnosis to be part of this challenge (to take care of the environment) because if not, we are all fried,” said Ríos.
The path of extinction through which the red forehead macaw is the turning point for the Government to face the fight against the trafficking of our species.
The population decreases
According to data, in the decade of the 1980s, until the mid-1990s, red-forehead macaws reduced from 5,000 to 2,000 birds. Today it is believed that some 600 survive in the wild.
Update the Red Book
Bolivia has a book with the list of endangered species, prepared in 2009. Conservationists ask that it be updated.
Vital for other species
The red forehead macaw helps the plants in late regeneration, like the soto, whose hard seed falls to the ground and this parrot breaks it with its beak, eats the jane. It spreads and then germinates.