Me teaching about how to nourish wild macaw chicks
In my last blog I spoke of how the conservation team in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve is attempting to augment the wild macaw population by incubating eggs and placing the hatched chick into foster nests. This process entails being able to feed the chick once s/he hatches up until it is accepted by his or her new parents. Feeding parrot chicks may be routine in captive, controlled situations, but how do you prepare and serve food in areas with spotty electricity, long hours away from any kind of store?
To answer this question, I gave a presentation on feeding wild chicks yesterday at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s headquarters in Flores, El Peten, Guatemala. I reviewed concepts and techniques of pediatric nutrition, and demonstrated how to use Nutristart. Nutristart is a powder that you simply mix with hot water to have a complete diet for parrot chicks, although adding 1/8th to 1 tsp of peanut butter might be needed for macaws. Lafeber Company donated this food so that WCS may feed the chicks, which will nourish the wild macaw population. Following this I demonstrated how to use Emeraid, also from Lafeber Company. This is a powdered enteral diet for weak or debilitated chicks. They do see sick and malnourished chicks in the wild, especially the 3rd chick, and an easily prepared emergency diet such as this might save future lives.
Chepe volunteering to be a chick so I could demonstrate tube feeding
As a wrap up for out time together, I asked a few questions to augment my ethnoornithology study, which is focusing on how to support the human dimension of avian conservation in Central America.
Filming the presentation and ethnoornithological discussion
I asked the conservation team members what values were important to them that they got to live out in their work. They spoke of the importance of their relationships with one another: that they are united, and value the dedication, respect, humor, and creative interplay that fills their days and nourishes their own spirits. Under it all is their love for conservation and to be doing something positive, with others, that helps heal the world. I then asked what they would ask of the world and they replied to you. “Do something real, not just for show. Every person can do something, and what you do, no matter where you are, will help us here.”
I translate this
into: If the situation of the world or
your community bugs you, do something about it.
It matters what you do!
I translate this into: If the situation of the world or your community bugs you, do something about it. It matters what you do!
Bug seen from side of road on our way back to Flores (photo by Dr. Melvin Merida)