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Protecting Endangered Parrots in Mexico

Project Cost: $121,322

Funding Raised: $60,661

$33.40 per acre (1 acre = 43,560 sq ft)

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The jungles of the southeastern region of the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico are home to the Endangered Yellow-headed Amazon and the Endangered Red-crowned Amazon. There are three specific properties called Regalo de Dios, Ejido Santa Juana and Los Colorados that support these parrots and many other threatened species, and it is urgent that they be protected.

Regalo de Dios ranch hosts a large number of migratory species and has a large population of resident species, including the Red-crowned Amazon. Both the Ejido Santa Juana property and Los Colorados ranch are isolated, forested oases that provide critical habitat for Yellow-headed Amazon populations. Unfortunately, both sites are surrounded by agricultural fields and cattle ranches that threaten to encroach on the habitat.

Rainforest Trust and local partner Pronatura Noreste seek $121,322 to protect 3,632 acres and safeguard the Endangered Yellow-headed Amazon and the Endangered Red-crowned Amazon. This will be done through the creation of the Regalo de Dios Protected Area, Ejido Santa Juana Protected Area and Los Colorados Protected Area.

Fast Facts

Location
Tamaulipas, Mexico

Size
3,632 acres

Key Species (Based on IUCN Red List)
Dennis’ Chirping Frog (EN), Graceful Splayfoot Salamander (EN), Red-crowned Amazon (EN), Yellow-headed Amazon (EN)

Habitat
Tropical Rainforest

Threats
Illegal logging, agricultural encroachment

Action
Expand protected habitat

Local Partner
Pronatura Noreste

Financial Need
$121,322

Price per Acre
$33.40

Biodiversity

This area has high biodiversity due to its proximity to the El Cielo Biosphere Reserve and the Sierra de Tamaulipas Biosphere Reserve. Although there are no complete inventories of flora and fauna in the three properties, the neighboring biosphere reserves boast 386 birds species (two Endangered), 97 species of mammals (six endemic), 28 amphibians (two endemic) and 1,128 species of plants (66 orchids, 481 fungus and nine endemic).

Yellow-headed Amazons, which are found on these properties, are social parrots that live in flocks of up to several hundred individuals and nest in hollow tree cavities in monogamous pairs. Nesting success is low, and Yellow-headed Amazon populations have declined dramatically due to habitat loss. Red-crowned Amazons inhabit gallery forests, deciduous woodland and open pine-oak woodland on ridges up to 1,000 meters, but they can also be found in smaller numbers in agricultural landscapes with a few large trees.

Challenges

Habitat loss from illegal logging has put the Yellow-headed Amazon and Red-crowned Amazon species in danger of extinction.

Outside federal and state protected areas, more than 85 percent of the forests have been deforested for agricultural and livestock use. There are few lands that still preserve the native vegetation of the area. In Mexico, Yellow-headed and Red-crowned Amazon populations have not been accurately estimated, but they are certainly declining since nest poaching in some areas reaches 100 percent. The least affected populations are usually found on private properties where owners offer some degree of protection against the poachers and preserve habitat fragments.

Communities

There are currently ten people living in the Rancho Los Colorados area. The occupants tend to cattle in the area and will offer the facilities for the protection of the parrots to the partner, field biologists and rangers.

There are no people living in the other two areas. There are private properties and community-managed lands (ejidos) surrounding the three proposed protected areas, but a consensus is not required from them to establish a protected area. However, if parrots leave the protected areas to other neighboring lands, interviews will be conducted with landowners to promote a possible new protected area or at least request that the species be not harmed or trapped. The environmental authorities will accompany the biologists in these interviews, since local communities know it is illegal to catch parrots.

Solutions

Rainforest Trust and local partner Pronatura Noreste seek $121,322 to protect 3,632 acres and safeguard the Endangered Yellow-headed Amazon and the Endangered Red-crowned Amazon.

The partner will work with the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) to declare and integrate the three properties into the national network of protected areas voluntarily destined for conservation. They also hope to identify the parrots’ abundance, movements and habitat use to determine future priority sites. To protect the chicks during nesting season, biologists and rangers will survey the protected areas to prevent the poaching of the parrot chicks. For each property, two rangers (one biologist and one personnel of the Federal Office for Protection of the Environment in Mexico) will conduct surveillance tours at sites where nests have been identified.