Menu Close

Illegal Exotic Pet Victim Joins Refuge Family

There’s a new face at Refuge for Wildlife! Gabriela, a scarlet macaw (Ara macao), has joined our growing group of sanctuary animals that cannot be released. Gabriela was rescued when local residents discovered the bird, unable to fly, in a heavily populated area of Nosara. As wild macaws are no longer found in this area, we knew she had to have been an illegal pet. Her trimmed flight feathers, familiarity with humans, and ability to speak a few Spanish words, confirmed that she was someone’s illegal pet and therefore cannot be released.

Thankfully Gabriela will not be alone as we already have Mariano who too was the victim of the illegal pet trade. We are delighted that the two birds enjoy each other’s company and have become fast friends. Gabriela even shared her peanut with Mariano – now that’s true friendship!

Scarlet macaws were once plentiful throughout Costa Rica on both coasts, but due to habitat loss and poaching for the illegal exotic pet trade, the population has plummeted. Currently, the only viable wild populations live in the Osa Conservation Area and the Central Pacific Conservation Area.