Arcas Wildlife Rescue Center In Guatemala Is Working To Give Endangered Wildlife A Second Chance.

Photo by Karoline Hood.

Photo by Karoline Hood.

 

When they noticed their wildlife rapidly disappearing, a concerned group of Guatemalan citizens got together, and In 1989 opened Arcas Rescue Center.

Arcas was  created  to care for and rehabilitate injured, orphaned and endangered animals brought to its facility, mainly confiscated from the illegal pet trade.

Spider monkeys.

Spider monkeys.

Photo by Karoline Hood.

Photo by Karoline Hood.

Arcas has grown into one of the largest and most complexed rescue centers in the world, receiving  300 to 600 animals per year, of more than 40 different species.

Arcas is run by a small group of dedicated staff with the help of volunteers who come from all over the world to help rehabilitate and prepare all types of animals for return to the wild.

 

While volunteering at Arcas I worked for veterinarian  Alejandro Morales and zoologist Anna Bryant who both worked tirelessly to take care of the animals at the centre. Not only do the lives of many animals rely on Arcas, but they also play a vital role in preventing species from going extinct .

Photo by Karoline Hood.

Photo by Karoline Hood.

 

Arcas Veterinarian Alejandro Morales has been at the centre for 9 years. Alejandro explains why he works at Arcas.

"I am a practising Veterinarian specialising in wildlife medicine at the rescue centre. My job is not just making sure the animals don't get sick but to follow their development from when they come in from being confiscated from the illegal pet trade all the way to when we are able to set them free."

"In between that there are everyday activities ranging from some days I will be a plumber, an electrician, a carpenter, respond to emails and grants. I will do a little bit of everything. There is  actually not that many people that do wildlife conservation and there is not that much economic support, so you are limited in the amount of people that can do things, so a single individual has to be multi-purpose." 

"Amazon parrots and scarlet macaws are the most illegally trafficked animals in Guatemala. There are estimated to be 350 scarlet macaws left between three countries, Guatemala, Mexico and Belize. It's a different subspecies from the rest of the scarlet macaws on the planet So it's a unique population. Last year we released nine which makes 359 our plan is to reintroduce every year between five and ten for at least five years to increase the wild population by 20%."

 

Photo by Karoline Hood. Scarlet macaw.

Photo by Karoline Hood. Scarlet macaw.

Photo by Karoline Hood. Rescued scarlet macaw. The impact of the illegal pet trade.   

Photo by Karoline Hood. Rescued scarlet macaw. The impact of the illegal pet trade.

 

"People can help by changing the way you live, realise you are both part of the problem and part of the solution. We all like to see animals, sometimes we have had wild animals in our house and that's part of the problem. But you're also part of the solution if you advocate and educate people and let them know where illegal animals are coming from and how cruel the industry is. If you have a wild animal in your house most likely it comes from the illegal pet trade most likely it was mistreated and its whole family was killed. Up to 90% of animals die in transit, for someone to have one parrot in their house nine died."

"parrots That come from pet stores may have come from registered breeders that breed them in captivity legally,  But if you backtrack their founding individuals must have been illegal because those animals don't come from domesticated surroundings. Animals bred legally should have a microchip or a band so you can see where it comes from. If not it is most likely funding illegal drugs or illegal animals."

Ways to Help. 

This is a non-profit, you can support by donating, volunteering or being an adcocate.

Donate http://arcasguatemala.org/donors/how-can-i-help/

Volunteering http://arcasguatemala.org/volunteering/

Photo by Karoline Hood.

Photo by Karoline Hood.

The time I spent volunteering at Arcas was very rewarding. There are over 650 animals at Arcas, so there was plenty of work to do. My daily duties included cleaning the enclosures, preparing the food and feeding the animals. Including a lot of endangered animals. 

 

Photo by Karoline Hood.

Photo by Karoline Hood.