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Suitability of the South Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica for Reintroduction of the Great Green Macaw Ara ambiguus

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DOI: 10.4236/nr.2014.511057    2,419 Downloads   2,838 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

The Great Green Macaw Ara ambiguus is an endangered species whose most important food resource and nesting site in Costa Rica is the mountain almond tree Dipteryx panamensis, threatened mainly by deforestation. In this study, we analyse the suitability of reintroducing A. ambiguus in the South Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica by examining whether the ecological and socio-cultural conditions required for the reintroduction are met in the area. The methods developed in this work include biological sampling, cartographical analysis and semi-structured interviews, among others. We set La Ceiba Nature Reserve as study unit and starting point of the analysis due both to its conservation status, favouring the potential release of individuals, and its ecosystem representativeness. Our results suggest that the habitat is suitable for reintroduction, with frequent presence of D. panamensis in the region, as well as other feeding options and potential nesting sites in the study area. The cartographic study reveals that the species could rely on a forested surface of up to 7000 hectares, which would be sufficient for sustaining a viable population. As for the socio-cultural analysis, illegal logging and low protective frameworks were identified as the main potential threats for the species. Nevertheless, we perceived positive conservation attitudes among local people and a pro-active commitment of political stakeholders. We conclude that a viable South Caribbean reintroduction of A. ambiguus is possible in conjunction with a threat mitigation programme.

Cite this paper

Fraixedas, S. , Fernández-Llamazares, Á. , Rico, A. , Bach, A. , Borrós, M. , Barriocanal, C. and Boada, M. (2014) Suitability of the South Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica for Reintroduction of the Great Green Macaw Ara ambiguus. Natural Resources, 5, 653-665. doi: 10.4236/nr.2014.511057.

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