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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Animal Rescue XVI: Macaws in Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua

Life is good when you are caring for injured animals. Click on the photo to learn more about Bumbelina and Midorna, our most loved members of Estacion Biologica. Photo Jen Moran.
Everyone likes pet animals. Animals bring happiness to our life in a lot of ways, by showing affection, their physical attractiveness, and by humoring us with their actions. Animals like dogs and cats have evolved thousands of years in the presence of humans, to the point that they are incapable of living distant from us. It might even seem that we are co-dependent on them, too, sometimes we can't live without them. 

These two macaws have been rescued from the pet trade, and we care for them at Estacion Biologica in Laguna de Apoyo. Photo Jen Moran.
We humans have a disconcerting tendency to interfere with the other species with whom we share this planet, however. It isn't enough that we eat some, use others to make housing, clothing and utensils. We like the idea of having animals around us, doing our bidding. We see a beautiful animal such as a macaw in the forest, and we think, "I want one". Even the precolombian people were known to capture these majestic animals and keep them as pets. It is difficult for us to accept and appreciate animals in the wild without giving in to the urge to dominate them, by capturing or killing them. 
Feather-plucking is one of several responses to years of captivity for animals that were never meant to be in cages. This bird can never return to the wild, so we are giving her the best treatment we can. Photo Jen Moran. 
Our fascination with wild animals has some perverse consequences. We insist on demonstrating our strength and courage by dominating wild animals by riding wild bulls and roping calves in rodeos, for instance. Ernest Hemingway wrote long and eloquent of his fascination with hunting animals and with the bullfight, a continuing tradition in Spain and Latin America, in which the bullfighter is pitted in a life-and-death struggle with a large, angry animal, albeit armed with deadly lances. We all know this to be an unfair fight, but millions are thrilled when the animal is conquered violently. 

This bird's broken wing has doomed her to a long lifetime in captivity. The pet trade in wild animals is extremely cruel, and should never be supported. Please do not ever pay for a wild animal! Photo Jen Moran.
Among most of us today, bullfights and rodeos are not popular. But our fascination with wild animals is such that having a wild animal as a pet is common and few people criticize this practice. However, unlike dogs and cats, wild animals suffer greatly in captivity, in ways that we may ignore as pet owners. 

These two birds are best friends and inseparable. Both are severely psychologically and physically scarred by their handling in the pet trade. Photo Jen Moran.
The pet trade in wild animals has been devastating to wildlife in Nicaragua. Today, very few people have ever seen a macaw in the wild. Nicaragua has two species, the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) and the Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus). Until about 1983, a flock of Scarlet Macaws was easily spotted flying over urban Managua, during the day, returning to roost in the Chiltepe Peninsula before dark. The pet trade took that flock away. Along the Pacific region of Nicaragua, all of which is native habitat for this glorious animal, only perhaps ten or fifteen animals remain, in the northwest corner, in the Cosiguina Peninsula. It is sad that one can not enjoy these majestic animals by birdwatching, but rather, we have to watch them through the bars of cages in zoos and the homes of wealthy individuals. 

Although both these birds suffer dramatic psychological effects from captivity, they are dying for attention. Our Eco-Warrior Volunteers at Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo help with their care. Photo Jen Moran.
Most of the wild animals we rescue at GAIA end up getting released into the wild, if all goes well, and they have their opportunity to live and die in the forest, not in a cage as subjects of the whims of humans. These two animals, however, will never return, thanks to the horrible abuse they have received in captivity. We are giving them the wildest experience possible, with cages that look to the forest, lots of space, and as diversified a set of experiences as we can manage. We hope that through our small efforts, Nicaragua is a better place for wild animals and humans, alike.

These macaws will love you!! But they still bite! Photo Jen Moran.
Would you like to help us care for rescued wild animals? Please consider volunteering with GAIA or making a donation. We need spare cages, money for food and veterinary costs, and volunteers to spend time serving them! Please contact us.

Click on the "escudo" to contact us.
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