“Education and inspiration are what drive conservation,” said Juan Carlos Cantu, Mexico program director for Defenders of Wildlife. “An educational partnership with the Tamaulipas environmental authorities is a huge step in the right direction for the protection of parrots and the military macaw."

Tamaulipas, MEXICO

Their striking green plumage with flashes of blue and metallic-yellow in flight make the military macaw an inspiring sight for anyone lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the IUCN-listed vulnerable and U.S. Endangered Species Act listed species. In Mexico, the population of parrots has faced an uphill battle against poachers who steal the birds from their native habitat and sell them into the illegal pet industry. 

Defenders of Wildlife has been advocating for the species in the country for years, protecting nesting sites and working with local and state governments to garner support for the colorful birds. We are thrilled to share the news that Defenders has funded and completed the construction of brand-new signage to support bird watching in several military macaw nesting and roosting sites in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas—which is right near the border of Texas. 

“Education and inspiration are what drive conservation,” said Juan Carlos Cantu, Mexico program director for Defenders of Wildlife. “An educational partnership with the Tamaulipas environmental authorities is a huge step in the right direction for the protection of parrots and the military macaw."

The signs are posted at three entrances into a giant biosphere reserve called El Cielo, which is frequently visited by tourists hoping to see the beautiful birds. The goal of the signage is to help visitors understand the value and importance of the birds in the wild and teach them how to behave when visiting nesting sites so as not to disturb or cause harm to the Macaws. 

Cantu added, “More public engagement will lead to more investment in protecting the species from poachers and the illegal pet trade. Hopefully, this is just the start of many good things to come from our work in the region.”

This project is part of a broader goal to help encourage localities and the public that military macaws contribute much more to the local tourism industry than they do when sold into the illegal pet industry. 

Thanks in part to the work Defenders of Wildlife has done with the signage project and to promote parrot watching in Mexico, there is a significant impact on the local economy. In 2019 nearly 87,000 parrot watchers appreciated the birds in the wild, contributing $18 million to the economy. This is in contrast with the revenue of just under $120,000 from the capture and sales of parrots into the pet industry. 
 

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

Media Contact

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Hawk Hammer headshot
Hawk Hammer
Communications Specialist
hhammer@defenders.org
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Juan Carlos Cantu
Juan Carlos Cantú
Director, Mexico Program

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