Humans are Threatening the Existence of Macaws

The scarlet macaw is one of several endangered macaw species, mostly due to poaching.

Kate Shin, Staff Writer

Seven macaw species are on the brink of being threatened with extinction. Eleven macaw species are being threatened with extinction. Seven macaw species are extinct. Macaws are disappearing from the wild, and anthropogenic activities are endangering the lives of these intelligent, majestic, and beautiful birds.


According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “Poaching is the number one threat to the scarlet macaw, largely driven by a domestic and international pet trade.” Poaching, which is the illegal hunting or catching of an animal, is being used to trap and sell macaws from the wild. Macaws are mostly poached to be used in illegal pet trade. Many macaws are captured as babies from their nests and painfully stuffed into bags in order to be sold or traded illegally by poachers. They grow up unable to survive in the wild because they were never able to learn important survival skills, and they were never able to adapt to wild habitats. In addition to taking baby macaws from their nests, poachers will use net guns to trap macaws in order to sell them, breaking their feet off in the process as shown in a video by National Geographic. These methods of capture are saddening and cruel, and they can even lead to the deaths of macaws.


Macaws are native to tropical forests in Central and South America. Unfortunately, these habitats are being destroyed and deforested by human activity for agricultural purposes. For instance, the Amazon rainforest is “the biggest deforestation front in the world,” according to the World Wildlife Fund. The Amazon is also home to several macaw species. Macaws heavily depend on trees for shelter, nesting, and food. With trees being cut down in the Amazon rainforest as well as other tropical forests throughout Central and South America, macaws are left without a habitat. This can sadly lead to the endangerment and extinction of these parrots as well as other animals living in tropical forests. 


Overall, humans are negatively impacting macaw habitats and illegally capturing and killing macaws, causing numerous macaw species to become endangered or extinct. We must conserve our forests as well as put an end to poaching in order to help protect the macaws of our world. Promote and support organizations that work towards preserving tropical forests and macaw species. If thinking about keeping a macaw as a pet, make sure that the macaw was legally bred in captivity. Report poaching. Follow the law. Remember where wildlife belongs—in the wild.