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SANDOVAL LAKE RESERVE
TAMBOPATA TOURS - MANU NATIONAL PARK - LODGE
SANDOVAL LAKE RESERVE
TAMBOPATA TOURS - MANU NATIONAL PARK - LODGE
SANDOVAL LAKE RESERVE
TAMBOPATA TOURS - MANU NATIONAL PARK - LODGE
SANDOVAL LAKE RESERVE
TAMBOPATA TOURS - MANU NATIONAL PARK - LODGE
SANDOVAL LAKE RESERVE
TAMBOPATA TOURS - MANU NATIONAL PARK - LODGE
SANDOVAL LAKE RESERVE
TAMBOPATA TOURS - MANU NATIONAL PARK - LODGE
SANDOVAL LAKE RESERVE
TAMBOPATA TOURS - MANU NATIONAL PARK - LODGE
SANDOVAL LAKE RESERVE
TAMBOPATA TOURS - MANU NATIONAL PARK - LODGE
SANDOVAL LAKE RESERVE
TAMBOPATA TOURS - MANU NATIONAL PARK - LODGE
SANDOVAL LAKE RESERVE
TAMBOPATA TOURS - MANU NATIONAL PARK - LODGE
SANDOVAL LAKE RESERVE
TAMBOPATA TOURS - MANU NATIONAL PARK - LODGE
SANDOVAL LAKE RESERVE
TAMBOPATA TOURS - MANU NATIONAL PARK - LODGE
SANDOVAL LAKE RESERVE
TAMBOPATA TOURS - MANU NATIONAL PARK - LODGE

Macaw Clay Lick

Macaw Conservation at the Tambopata Research Center – Madre de Dios, Peru. Parrots are perhaps one of the most charming and intelligent of all birds, yet they are also the most threatened. All Psittaciforme (parrot) species except four are listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix I or II – the majority of the parrots are either threatened or critically endangered with extinction.

Macaws are the largest and the most spectacular or the parrots, with a geographic range stretching from northern Argentina to central Mexico, and consisting of seventeen extant species, one recently extinct in the wild and ten that are critically endangered.

Macaw population decline is largely due to anthropogenic reasons of poaching and habitat alteration, and macaws have difficulty responding due to low fecundity rates. While poachers may be tempted to illegally trap macaws for their value on the black market, they are worth much more to ecotourism. Studies suggest that a single bird can bring in $100,000 in revenue during its lifetime – Tambopata Macaw Clay Lick.

One such lucrative species, the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao), causes tourists and scientists alike to flock from around the world to admire its grandeur in the wild at the Tambopata Research Center (TRC) in Madre de Dios, Peru. By studying the macaws, scientists uncover valuable information about behavior, phylogeny, and breeding habits, thus enabling them to concentrate on specific conservation strategies instead of captive rearing efforts that resulted in a group of birds, coined ‘chicos,’ that cannot function normally in the wild. Macaw conservation at the Tambopata Research Center effectively combines lucrative and informative ecotourism with scientific research that delves into the behavioral and environmental interactions of macaws, allowing for the creation of effective conservation strategies that protect wild macaw populations instead of relying on captive rearing efforts.

The Ecosystem of Tambopata Macaw Clay Lick:

Despite having a wide geographic range, macaws have evolved specific nesting, foraging, and congregating niches, making them very vulnerable to habitat change resulting from deforestation, land development, and changing ecosystems – Tambopata Macaw Clay Lick.

Different species of macaws inhabit ecosystems including palm swamps, savannah, lowland and upland rainforests, yet in all cases macaws are very dependent on their ecosystem because they have evolved specific nest niches and feeding associations. Scarlet macaws in the Madre de Dios region of Peru are no exception: the single most paramount factor for the macaw population is a mature primary rainforest where the macaws can nest and forage.

Scarlet macaws have evolved to nest in mature tree cavities with preference to the genus Dipteryx, offering height protection from predators and hard, slow rotting wood. In addition, scarlet macaws, which mate for life, use the same nest site to fledge many generations.

Thus without a mature forest, scarlet macaws are physically incapable of breeding because of lack of suitable nesting sites. Similarly, the foraging behavior depends of mature forests where macaws can eat fruits and palm seeds. Interestingly, the seeds that macaws eat are toxic – they contain chemicals such as tannins and alkaloids that ward off insects from destroying the seeds.

Macaws are seed destroyers, and they overcome the toxic chemicals by ingesting clay from the riverbank, or clay lick, which neutralizes the toxic effects. Just as in nesting sites, macaws are very particular about clay lick sites where they will congregate, preferring hard clay with high sodium content.

Analysis of each subsequent macaw behavioral trait offers new insight to the particular environmental factors that make macaws very susceptible to ecological change. Scarlet Macaws are particularly vulnerable because of their reliance on mature trees for nesting, where other species may utilize other breeding strategies. In all cases, macaws depend heavily on specific ecological conditions, and even slight changes to their environment can have
massive impact on a population – Tambopata Macaw Clay Lick.

The human groups that live in association with macaws in the Amazon directly affect the population largely because of land use, but also to a lesser degree due to physically trapping birds for the pet trade or their feathers. In most cases the humans living in macaw-inhabited areas rely heavily on agriculture for subsistence, meaning that they have to clear portions of the forest to create fields to grow their crops, which include bananas, manioc, yucca, pineapple, and local fruits. The land development necessary for agriculture directly affects macaw populations, especially the Scarlet Macaws that are so dependent upon mature trees to nest in.

Additionally, gold mining operations and other land use can affect the clay lick areas where macaws congregate because the mining activity physically destroys the adjacent shoreline. Another case of human interference with macaws is the example of a small clay lick near the Bolivian border of Peru that attracts critically endangered BlueHeaded Macaws (Ara couloni) and also lies on privately owned land that the owner would like to clear.

Such loss of critical habitat would be devastating for the population of these endangered birds, but this trend occurs throughout the macaw range. Loss of habitat is perhaps the main and also most challenging aspect facing
macaws today because it continues to persist and encroach upon crucial habitat.

Sadly, poachers still trap macaws for the pet trade, despite the international CITES ban that applies to all species of macaws. Unfortunately, the most targeted species are also the most resplendent and the most rare. The Blue-Headed Macaw in particular is a relatively new species taxonomically and has high demand in the pet trade of the USA and Europe, yet the CITES ban does little to protect it from exploitations in black markets and loose control of the border between Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil – Tambopata Macaw Clay Lick.

Further, while a single rare macaw normally commands a price of near $12,000 and sometimes exceeding $60,000, the poacher may only receive $12, one thousandth of the eventual price. Not only does the population decline, but also the vast sums money involved do not influence the local person who poached the animal solely on the basis of monetary need. While human groups living in association with macaws may need to clear some forest at the detriment of macaw populations, poaching the birds is a completely illogical practice.

Rather, it is an exploitation of poor subsistence farmers and a theft of their valuable living resources. Optimism does exist however, as the situation of human interactions with macaws promotes fiscally valuable eco-tourism operations that make poaching unfeasible. An exciting example of eco-tourism and conscious land use is interaction between the Ese-Eja community and Rainforest Expeditions conservation and scientific research are employed to take advantage of the economic opportunities that macaw and other forms of eco-tourism offer.

While macaws carry high price tags in foreign markets, they are more valuable both monetarily and culturally to local communities when conserved for ecotourism. Throughout history, macaws have been of important cultural significance throughout their wide geographical range, evident through macaw feather headdresses, other garments, and pottery artifacts. Additionally, the macaw forms the root of indigenous Amazonian mysticism important in metamorphic rituals and imagery that the shaman uses to manipulate different domains of nature and understand the cosmic view of the universe.

Essentially, macaws help to provide social cohesion within indigenous tribes, and are equally valuable today because of the monetary value of eco-tourism. Recently, macaw researchers have brilliantly implemented the idea of changing poachers to conservationists, and it has worked. Local people living with macaws are actually the most knowledgeable about their behavior, which was why they are necessary pawns of the black market trade, but it also makes them valuable resources and collaborators to scientific research. Eco-tourism brings revenue directly to local communities that desperately need it. An influx of tourists who come to see the charismatic macaws and other denizens of the rainforest sustain the operations at TRC and other eco-lodges on the Tambopata River, bringing money directly to the local economy. Expansion of tourism-based conservation is a very lucrative and effective means of protecting macaw species.

The Tambopata Research Center fosters ongoing macaw research alongside eco-tourism, allowing scientists to collect valuable information about macaw behavior and develop specific tactics for their conservation. As macaw expert Charles Munn states: “Unless we understand their wild biology, we may not be able to avoid the extinction of species after species of these spectacular New World parrots” – – Tambopata Macaw Clay Lick.

Interestingly, no macaw species has gone extinct in the past century, but this fact may not continue to be true for long. The Spix Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) is extinct in the wild, and populations of the Blue-Throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) and Lear’s Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) are 70 and less than 500 respectively.

Researchers at TRC delve into a comprehensive study of macaws by monitoring daily clay lick activity and conducting extensive research of macaw breeding and nesting habits. At the clay lick, researchers census all parrots at the lick and have formed trends that match breeding seasons with clay lick use. The research suggests that peak clay lick use coincides with peak breeding season, January for the large macaws, and also that during the first week of chick development, parents feed their chicks almost entirely clay. Until this research, scientists did not fully recognize the importance that the clay lick plays in macaw socialization and also nesting and development.

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Tambopata Macaw Clay Lick Chuncho 4 Days 3 Night

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