Photographer Frans Lanting’s camera lens captured this Scarlet macaw (Ara macao) nesting in a tree cavity in Tambopata, Peru. One of the most vibrantly colorful birds, this parrot species is rapidly losing its habitat while individual animals are poached for the global pet trade, where a single bird can fetch prices reaching $2,000. Nest poaching for macaw and numerous other parrots poses a grave threat to their long-term viability in the wild. A burgeoning ecotourism industry, where wild birds are left alone to be viewed by enamored tourists in their natural surroundings, could save them. Simultaneously, however, stricter controls must be put in place to stop the global trade in exotic birds. After the United States drastically restricted—in some cases prohibited—importation of the most threatened wild birds, the European Union became the world’s most significant importer of these animals for the pet trade. Now, an effort is underway to push the E.U. to follow America’s lead and ban the import of wild-caught birds (see story pages 10-11).
Photo by Frans Lanting