The ARA Project, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

The Ara Project is a Costa Rican licensed, government-supervised, conservation organization operated by the non-profit organization Asociación El Proyecto Ara. Its primary purpose is focused on reintroducing the macaws to their former ranges, throughout much of Costa Rica.

The Ara Project has a history of successfully breeding both species in captivity and releasing the offspring, with nearly 100 macaws released to date. They maintain two release sites at Punta Islita, and Manzanillo respectively, and are developing a field base in the north of Costa Rica. 


The causes of the parrot’s decline are anthropogenic in origin and since the 1950s half of the macaw’s lowland tropical rainforest has been cleared for cattle pasture and more recently for the expansion of intensive agriculture such as pineapple. Their intelligence, beauty and charisma have unfortunately contributed to the macaw’s downfall. High demand for the pet trade fuels the illegal poaching of young chicks from wild nests. This extractive practice is hugely damaging to the population, particularly as it is already impacted by considerable habitat loss. The local pet trade also presents serious welfare concerns with captured chicks enduring terrible conditions in transit and a lifetime of poor care.


To save these species The Ara Project works in four key areas:

  1. Wild population management to boost productivity
  2. Captive breeding and reintroduction to restore wild populations
  3. Community outreach to inspire individuals to care
  4. Habitat protection and restoration to secure a future for macaws and other species


For more information, visit their website.