Globally threatened from poaching for the pet trade and habitat loss, the blue and gold macaw was extirpated from Trinidad in the early 1960s. CREW Scientist Bernadette Plair brought together the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the Centre for the Rescue of Endangered Species of Trinidad and Tobago (CRESTT), the Trinidad and Tobago government and local people to restore the blue and gold macaw to the island.
Thirty-one wild caught blue and gold macaws were translocated from Guyana to the Nariva Swamp in Trinidad between 1999 and 2003. To ensure the long-term success of the reintroduction, the program involves continuing research, habitat protection, community outreach and education.
Post-release survival and nesting success have been high. Local villagers from communities bordering the reintroduction site were trained to monitor and protect the released birds. Poaching has been mitigated through community involvement, conservation education and national public awareness campaigns. Local government, private sector, corporate and international support helps to sustain the project.
The blue and gold macaw has become a flagship species for stewardship of the Nariva swamp. The people of Trinidad take pride in protecting the habitat and diversity of their island home.