Conservation

 

 The key to conservation is getting the local community involved and committed to the goal of saving the species. This strategy has been successfully used in many other conservation projects and is considered vital to the success of the survival of the Yellow-Eared Conure.

Fieldworkers have continually worked with the community to gather facts about the bird known locally as the "Guacamaya". The local people are familiar with the bird and believe that it is good luck to touch the wings of the bird as it flies by (which is possible according to the fieldworkers). Interviews with the campesinos have provided valuable information about the Yellow-Eared Conure's habits, location and movements.

 

 Colombia's civil conflict has benefited the Yellow-Eared Conure and other endangered species in the area. The region is controlled by the FARC guerilla rebels who strictly prohibit hunting wildlife. The local people adhere to this rule. An education program will continue to help ensure that the local people abstain from hunting or robbing nests even if the guerilla are no longer in control.

An education campaign is raising the awareness of local people who normally would not notice the Yellow-Eared Conure other than to admire its attractive plumage. This campaign includes talks as well as the distribution of posters and T-shirts. The campaign is considered to be highly successful. In fact, a keen observer who saw the Loro Orejiamarillo poster reported the seeing the Yellow-Eared Conure and led the Proyecto Ognorhynchus workers to the current flock of birds. Without this report, the fieldworkers might not have ever found the Yellow-Eared Conure.

 The education program will continue to keep the community involved in saving the species. This plan includes presentations in schools and public meetings; one-day workshops to involve the community in project conservation efforts; posters; T-shirts; and advertising a parrot conservation message on local radio and TV. These local programs will continue to be an integral part of the conservation strategy.

 
  Field research of the species will continue in order to study the breeding biology and behavior; population movements; habitat and diet preferences; and developing an ecological map. Artificial nests will be introduced to see if the Yellow-Eared Conure will accept them, especially in areas where nesting sites are limited. Salt and mineral supplements will be placed in a low tree in the roost site as a possible method of attracting flocks. All of the data gathered from field research will be used to develop long-term conservation strategies.

 

  Proyecto Ognorhynchus also has goals to purchase land in order to secure and guard small areas of palms that are consistently used for nesting and roosting. The decision for purchasing land hinges upon the Yellow-Eared Conure remaining in the area year-round. If land is purchased, it can be managed specifically for the benefit of the species.

Another goal is to promote a Land Stewardship and Reforestation program. This plan would encourage landowners to voluntarily set aside steep slopes and wetland areas for reforestation. The volunteer landowners would be provided with fencing materials and plants with the understanding the area could not be converted to pasture for 20 years.

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