Dedication to Parrot Conservation
It was back in 2010 when I first had the opportunity to work with Dr. Sam Williams in Bonaire, where he was working on his PhD for the conservation of the Yellow-shouldered amazon (Amazona barbadensis). At this time, I was in my 2nd campaign in the Beni Department, Bolivia, as a part of a team researching and implementing conservation activities for the Blue-throated macaw.
If I am being truthful, this first experience working with Sam changed my life completely. I had found somebody else in the world who felt, smelt and dreamt about parrots the way I did. It was not something I had seen before and I could understand straight away his level of passion he had for parrot conservation. It was enormous and sometimes even unreal the level of dedication he had. But his attitude was not only what made me excited and intrigued. He had such a level of organization, role definition and clear objectives. This was something I hadn’t seen before, well, until the wonderful destiny put me on his path. But, to top it all off he gave me life lessons that I will never forget.
It was the start of a friendly relation among us, I ended up on a second campaign in 2011, being field leader in Bonaire as a part of his team. It was my first experience as a real field leader apart from my time in Bolivia with the Blue-throated macaws, I learnt a lot of new lessons. It may sound stupid, but I did not recognize most of the lessons when I was receiving them, it took me years and still even now, to understand how important they were to my career and my conservation efforts. As I write these words, I have an overwhelming sense of pride, as I remember all the things that Sam taught me.
After a bunch of years without seeing each other, but often being in touch by email, I ended up travelling to Costa Rica to visit Sam & the Macaw Recovery Network (MRN) team. Myself and my team at Parrots Conservation Bolivia (CLB) where invited to participate in the MRN’s apprenticeship program and learn about how MRN implements conservation action for both the Scarlet macaw and Great green macaw in Costa Rica.
As part of the trip my team, Jhony, Reneco, Micky and of course myself, visited the Great green macaw research station, Punta Islita Refuge & Breeding center and then ended the trip by participating in their apprentice theory week. This was a very important experience for the development of our organization in Bolivia, being able to visit and see how they run their two different sites, gave us inspiration and knowledge that will help our conservation efforts. There is no secret, just a highly motivated team of people doing their best for parrot conservation every day. Sarah, Meg, Tom, Mario, Jack, Brittany and the rest of the team deserve all my respect for their efforts and dedication.
I believe in MRN they have a wonderful future in parrot conservation, taking the lead and supporting lots of local conservationists in their own countries to make possible the recovery of wild macaw populations.
We as Parrots Conservation Bolivia (CLB) are so proud to have this wonderful opportunity, which its changing our organization in a better way.
Eternal life to the parrots and MRN!
-José Antonio Díaz Luque
Fundación para la Conservación de los Loros en Bolivia