I hope these short lines find all of you and your loved ones doing great and having success in your personal goals, your plans, and your projects. Earlier this year I sent a message that began as “The 2013 breeding season in the Iguaca Aviary (former Luqillo Aviary) began with the right foot…” Well, we had another awesome season on behalf of recovery efforts of this species.
As many of you may know, the captive management of endangered Puerto Rican Amazon is a collaborative effort between the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (José L. Vivaldi Memorial Aviary, better known as the Río Abajo Aviary) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Iguaca Aviary former Luquillo Aviary). Together, we had another great year. Ricardo Valentín, the Rio Abajo Aviary Manager and Aviculturist produced a record year for the program of 66 chicks (a record for the Rio Abajo aviary and a record for the captive breeding program. At the Iguaca Aviary, we produced 41 chicks. That is a total of 107 chicks in one season. A number of hatchlings have never been seen before and this is the first time in the history of the captive efforts for the recovery of A. vittata that more than 100 chicks were produced in a single season. Furthermore, since the first captive chick was produced, we reached the mark of 1000 hatchlings in captivity.
Both aviaries had high rates of fertility, hatchability and survival. Actually, the survival of hatchlings for the Iguaca Aviary, 86.36%, has been the higher in the history of the Luquillo/Iguaca Aviary. Survival for 2012 was a record as well until that year and was 70.17%. We are extremely pleased with the results, but we need to keep working hard as team to have even better years and keep raising the bar.
Both aviaries were able to provide fertile eggs and chicks for the management and success of several nesting cavities in the wild at El Yunque National Forest (formerly known as the Caribbean National Forest)and at the Rio Abajo State Forest, being the cornerstone of the release program by providing enough individuals for such purposes. We are very proud to say that when you put together all the components of the program (both captive breeding facilities, both wild flock management programs and the release program) we have an all-time record of around 500 Puerto Rican Amazons.
Passion and teamwork has been the key elements for success. I am extremely excited to share this good news with all of you. Please, feel free to share this good news with as many people as you want. I believe that it’s great to hear this kind of news about the success of conservation programs and how we can collaborate to make more of these success stories.
Update by Jafet Vélez-Valentín, M.Sc., M.A.R. Wildlife Biologist/ Aviculturist/ Iguaca Aviary
Operations Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Puerto Rican
Amazon Recovery Program