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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Animal Rescue XVI: Wild animals deserve to live free

Capturing an animal in the wild to make a pet of it is doubly insidious. The pressure on some animal species by the pet trade has caused the complete elimination of their populations in large areas. Macaws are a good example of this. We care for two macaws at Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo, both were wild animals that suffered capture and brutal treatment in captivity.
Great Green Macaw
Bumbelina is a Great Green Macaw. Photo Pablo Somarriba.
Both the macaws have broken wings, as a result of the rough treatment given to them in captivity. These poor animals will never fly again. Because of the cruelty of the commerce in wild animals in Nicaragua, they are permanently condemned to live with humans. At least we can give them natural surroundings where they can be happy. The have large enclosures which permit them to move around and see in all directions, into the sky and the forest. They are allowed to leave their enclosures daily, and they get an ample, varied diet, with lots of interactions with people and other birds.

We kept the two macaws in a common enclosure several months. The Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao), however, has developed a common ailment among captive new world parrots-feather plucking. She plucks not only her own feathers, but also the feathers of her best friend Bumbelina, the Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus). We have placed a mesh divider between them, so they can see each other and even touch through the mesh, but no more plucking! Feather plucking is one of many pathological manifestations of wild animals in captivity when they should be free in their natural habitats.

wild animals
These baby opossums were brought to us by kind-hearted folks who found them abandoned. Photo Pablo Somarriba.
We at GAIA provide shelter for wild animals that have been found injured or unable to survive in the wild without rehabilitation, and pets that owners request to return to the wild. Recently, we received two young common opossums (Didelphis virginianus). These animals were found by a Nicaraguan family who gave them lots of care while they grew. But they found that the animals were needing more space and soon should be ready to be liberated. We took them and quickly returned them to the wild. They lived a few weeks in a hollow tree on our property, before moving on to the forest behind Estacion Biologica in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve.

wild animals'
This White-throated Magpie-Jay (Calocitta formosa) chick was raised at Estacion Biologica and released into the wild, where he continues to live happily. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.
We have great plans to continue, to improve and amplify our capacity to handle wild animals. We need your help. Would you like to volunteer some time to care for wild animals? Or donate food or money to pay for their well-being? We need lots of cashews, fresh fruit, and materials for cages, among other things. Please contact us if you would like to volunteer or make a donation. Please help us make Nicaragua a better place for all beings.

wild animal
Contact us to participate in animal rescue!

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