Current International Research Projects

The Macaw Society | Wild macaw research & conservation in the Americas

Wild Scarlet Macaw during a health check-up as part of the research done by The Macaw Society

Due to their large size and great beauty, macaws make excellent flagship species and serve as charismatic focal points for the conservation of the ecosystems where they occur. Unfortunately, throughout most of tropical America, large macaws have suffered major population declines. 

The Macaw Society (previously known as the Tambopata Macaw Project) is a long-term scientific research study of the ecology and conservation of macaws and parrots that started in 1999. It is lead by Dr. Donald J. Brightsmith and Dr. Gabriela Vigo-Trauco of the Schubot Center for Avian Health at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (VMBS). Since 2020,  it has switched its focus to a more applied conservation approach and it is operating with a more global perspective throughout the Neotropics, working to establish new research alliances.

The Macaw Society operates in the Tambopata region in the Amazon lowlands of southeastern Peru and in Punta Leona on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It currently develops and evaluates techniques for increasing the reproductive output of wild macaws, expanding knowledge of macaw nesting behavior, increasing understanding of the complexities of clay lick use, tracking macaw movements through satellite telemetry, and evaluating tourism as a method of protecting macaws and their habitat. Through a variety of channels, this information is shared with local native communities, governments, and conservationists worldwide.

Read more about The Macaw Society

African Wildlife Conservation: Genomics, Genetics & Health

African Wildlife: Buffalo

Conservation genomics is a relatively new field of study that uses biotechnology for the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. Within species, the level of genetic diversity is directly proportional to a species’ ability to adapt, survive, and thrive. To date, one of the most detailed conservation genomics studies of any wildlife species focused on American bison. This species experienced a well-documented population decline between the years 1800 and 1900 that reduced its numbers by over 99%. The spectacular recovery to over 700,000 animals present today is a testament to their genetic constitution and is recognized as one of the most significant accomplishments in modern conservation biology.

Dr. James Derr leads international research efforts, using the bison studies as a model, to expand the use of these genomic technologies for the benefit of African wildlife species.

Read more about the African Wildlife Conservation Genomics project here.