The Rebound of the Vallarta Region’s Military Macaw

Carol Anderson invites us to the Vallarta Botanical Garden and shares a special story from the tour guide:

While recently vacationing in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, I visited the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, a 81.5 acre wildlife preserve boasting over 200 species of birds, including hummingbirds, and 80 species of butterflies.

In addition, the gardens contain the Vallarta Conservatory of Orchids and Native Plants including Vanilla and a micropropogation laboratory for endangered orchid species.


The gardens also include the Rhododendron House which was a treat with orange blooming rhododendrons in full bloom.

Our guide on the tour was Jorge Novoa who shared the story of his family’s endeavour to save and renew the local population of the Military Macaw (guacamayas, Spanish for Macaw).

Photo provided to Carol by Jorge Novoa

His story started with a tragic beginning. The family ranch is located about 20 kilometres from the Botanical Gardens. Up until 2012, it was home to a colony of Macaws. One morning, Jorge’s brother-in-law looked out to see the hollow pine tree where the Macaws were nesting had been cut down. The nest cavity was carved out indicating that the devastation was caused by poachers who took the young hatchlings to be sold on the black market as illegal pets.

In order to give the remaining pair of Macaws a place to nest, segments of the original trunk were fashioned into nesting boxes and hung in another pine tree.

Photo provided to Carol by Jorge Novoa

Amazingly, the nest boxes worked and another generation of young guacamayas were successfully born.

More recently Jorge, our guide, and his brother-in-law have designed and built a number of nest boxes. They have been installed in the pine trees by hoisting them into pine trees both on the farm and at the Botanical Gardens. The population of Macaws has increased from 2 pair to 30 pair.

If you visit Puerto Vallarta, a trip the Vallarta Botanical Gardens is a must and a visit to the farm can also be arranged.

Learn more about the Vallarta Botanical Gardens here:

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