We have a great line up of twenty speakers for this year's symposium. Keep an eye out for updates on the speaker list and details about speaker biographies and more!

Saturday Speakers



Dr. Mark L. Stafford (bio)
"Parrots International Projects - An Update"
Parrots International, USA

Dr. Susan Club (bio)
"Diagnosis and Management of Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD) in Psittacine Birds"
Florida, USA

Paul Butler (bio)
"The Power of Pride"
RARE, multiple countries

Dr. Robin Bjork (bio)
"What Mealy Parrots Teach Us About Conservation Planning, -And-
Initial Phase of Reintroducing Scarlet Macaws to El Salvador"
El Salvador

Dr. Don Brightsmith (bio)
The Claylicks of South America"
Tambopata Research Center, Peru


Chis Biro (bio)
Short Free flight lecture and then a Free flight demo of Macaws and Sun Conures over the "M" Resort Hotel....all as we enjoy our lunch outside on the veranda overlooking the "M" pool and gardens..
Moab, Utah

Dr. Yara Barros (bio)
“Spix’s Macaw Recovery Program: Retrospective and Perspectives”

Carlos Bianchi (bio)
"How we can improve our knowledge about endangered species: a contribution from the Pfrimer's Parakeet project"


Sunday Speakers


Dr. Mathias Dislich (bio)
"Development of a Macaw Reintroduction Project
:A case study"
Blue and Gold Macaw and Green-winged Macaw
Reintroduction Project - Igaucu Falls, Brazil

Dr. Neiva Guedes (bio)
"Factors that influence the reproductive success of Hyacinth Macaw in Pantanal, Brazil"
The Hyacinth Macaw Project - The Pantanal, Brazil

Bennett Hennessey (bio)
"Five years of conservation efforts to protect the Bolivian Endangered Red-fronted Macaw"

Roelant Jonker (bio)
"City Parrots: A new tool for conservation"
The City Parrots Project, The Netherlands

Dr. Frank Lavac (bio)
"Avian Health Concerns and First Aid - Q&A"
Los Angeles, USA

Steve Martin (bio)
"The Secret of Parrot Training"
Natural Encounters, Florida, USA


Roan Balas McNab (bio)
"Macaws under fire: The Guatemala Experience - The Scarlet Macaw Project"

Glaucia Seixas (bio)
"Blue-fronted Amazon Parrot (Amazona aestiva): Management and Conservation in Pantanal, Brazil"
The Patanal, Brazil

Dr. Darrel Styles (bio)
"Diseases in Bird Conservation"
USDA Avian Task Force, USA

Jafet Velez (bio)
"From the Luquillo Aviary to the Iguaca Aviary; A Tale of Two Aviairies"
Luquillo Aviary, Puerto Rico

Ryan Watson (bio)
"Blue Macaw Conservation at AWWP"



Speaker Biographies


Dr. Yara de Melo Barros, Ph.D.

Professional Address:

Technical Director
Foz Tropicana Parque das Aves
Foz do Iguaçú, Brazil


Academic Degrees:

2001:Ph.D. in Zoology, University of São Paulo State (UNESP) - Rio Claro/SP, Brazil. Title of the thesis:  “Behavioural Biology of Propyrrhura maracana: basis for in situ conservation of  Cyanopsitta spixii at Caatinga”. 1994: Master degree in Zoology, University of São Paulo State (UNESP) - Rio Claro/SP, Brazil. Title of the dissertation: “Behavioural Biology of Forpus xanthopterygius xanthopterygius SPIX, 1824 (PSITTACIDAE): Feeding and Reproduction.” 1989: Bachelor degree in Biology, University of São Paulo – USP -  São Paulo, Brazil.

Current Activities:

  • Technical Director of the Bird Park Foz Tropicana – Foz do Iguaçú/Brasil
  • Captivity Coordinator and member of the Committee for Conservation and Management of the Lear's Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari). Responsible for the Committee's activities, meetings, elaboration and/or revision of action plans, reports, funding proposals and participation in field activities.
  • Member of the Working Group for the Recovery of the Spix’s macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii). Responsible for the Working Group’s activities, meetings, elaboration and/or revision of action plans, reports, funding proposals and participation in field activities.
  • Member of the Committee for Conservation and Management of the Hyacinth Macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus. Collaborator of the Working Group for the Conservation of the Brazilian Maeganser Mergus octosetaceus.

Roan Balas McNab

A long-time enthusiast of nature dedicated to promoting the co-existence of people and wildlife, Roan Balas McNab arrived in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in 1996, studied the impacts of chicle gum and “xate” palm frond harvesters on wildlife in Uaxactún.  Building on this work, he established a community-based conservation project and assisted Uaxactún villagers in obtaining the largest community-managed forest concession in Mesoamerica. The Uaxactún community forest functions as a crucial biological corridor, linking Tikal National Park with the Maya Forest areas in adjacent sections of Belize and Mexico. He continues supporting the area’s management, and raising awareness about increasing threats to biodiversity.
With WCS support, in 2001 he helped found Asociación Balam, now WCS’ Guatemalan NGO partner in the conservation of the Maya Biosphere Reserve. WCS now assists Balam in reaching their goal of co-management of Mirador-Rio Azul National Park, a natural and cultural wonderland containing the largest and most intact ancient Maya sites remaining in Guatemala.
From 2001-2004, he co-directed a biological monitoring project to evaluate the impacts of certified low impact forestry, evaluate the state of scarlet macaws, monitor the extent of deforestation and forest fires, and inventory the species in unstudied areas of the reserve. 
Since 2004, he has led WCS Guatemala’s participation in WCS’s Living Landscape Program to strengthen the links between wildlife, landscape planning, and targeted conservation interventions. This project continued WCS’ focus on the scarlet macaw as a key flagship species facing the threat of extirpation in Guatemala.
Currently, McNab hopes to expand the program by developing new projects to strengthen the capacity of communities to protect and manage their areas, expand efforts to research and protect jaguars across the reserve, continue with programs designed to increase the number of wild macaws in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, and increase access to basic education in allied rural communities by emphasizing modern technology.


Carlos Bianchi

Professional Address:
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
Oregon State University
USGS FRESC 3200 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis, OR. 97331.

Carlos Bianchi has a B.S. in Biology and a M.S. in Ecology, both from University of Brasilia.

For over 12 years, he has been involved with research and conservation projects mainly involving parrot species in captivity and in the wild. He worked for three years (1999-2001) as the Bird Curator for the Brasilia Zoological Garden, where he improved the captive collection of parrot species.

In 2001, he went to work as a consultant for threatened species in the Fauna Protection Coordination of IBAMA (Brazilian Federal Agency of Environment). During that time, he was actively involved in the establishment of conservation strategies for a number of species, becoming a member of several conservation committees such as for the Spix Macaw, Lear's Macaw, Hyacinth Macaw, Golden Conure, Alagoas Curassow and some Brazilian raptors. He also has contributed in several publications, including Conservation Action Plans, for a number of Brazilian endangered species.

Carlos is currently a Doctoral cadidate in Wildlife with a Fulbright/CAPES Scholarship at the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, working on the endangered Pfrimer’s parakeet in central Brazil.

Chris Biro

Chris Biro studied electrical Engineering and served as a US Army  Drill Sergeant before starting The Pirate's Parrot Show in 1990. Chris has been flying a variety of parrots singly and in groups for the public since 1993 and is an advocate of the bird keeping public  learning about positive reinforcement training methods. During show season the birds are flown at different locations each week at county and state fairgrounds, parks, and other venues across the United States.  Off-season he spends most of his time working with pet parrot owners, maintains a 3,000 sq foot aviary for rescued and abandoned birds that have come into his care, and develops the flight skills of his 22 bird flying team.  Chris is the founder of the freeflight email list, started in 1990. Chris is most recently known for his youtube videos of flying macaws in the desert terrain around Moab, Utah. Photos, videos and training articles by Chris can be seen at his website www.wingsatliberty.com

Parrots: more than pets, friends for life.

Chris Biro
(206) 618-2610



Dr. Robin Bjork, Ph.D.

Científica Principal
Programa de Ciencias para la Conservación, SalvaNATURA
Colonia Flor Blanca, 33 Ave. Sur # 640
San Salvador, El Salvador
Web site: www.salvanatura.org

Robin Bjork is a Senior Scientist for SalvaNATURA, a non-profit non-governmental environmental organization in El Salvador. She holds a doctorate in wildlife science and a master’s degree in coastal ecology. Her past research has focused on documenting spatial patterns of regional migrant tropical birds with a goal of providing guidance to regional conservation planning. Robin began working with wild psittacines in 1994 when she directed development of the first radio tracking device to withstand the force of macaw bills and used the device to track the movements of Great Green Macaws in Costa Rica. Her dissertation research identified the migration of Mealy Parrots across Guatemalan lowlands, the first detailed documentation of such a pattern in psittacines. She continues conservation research with wild parrots and macaws and is currently directing a program to reintroduce Scarlet Macaws to El Salvador.


Dr. Don Brightsmith, Ph.D.

Professional Address:

Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Texas A&M University, Mail Stop 4467, College Station, TX 77843-4467


Donald Brightsmith holds a Ph.D. in Zoology from Duke University, an M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Arizona, and a B.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell University. His interest in birds started at a young age with binoculars in the backyard and has led him to projects, presentations, teaching and advising in Costa Rica, Peru, Brazil, Indonesia, Spain, England, Australia and throughout the US. His specialties are tropical ecology, ornithology and wildlife conservation, especially topics related to wild parrots. He has worked on parrots in Peru since 1993 and has run the Tambopata Macaw Project since 1999. His research has focused on a wide variety of topics including parrot conservation, clay lick use, nesting, foraging, habitat use, etc. He also conducts research on diets of captive and wild parrots. As an advisor to government and private parrot conservation projects throughout Latin America and in Indonesia he is helping put his knowledge to work for the benefit of wild parrots.


Dr. Paul Butler, Ph.D.

Professional Address:


1840 Wilson Blvd., Suite 204
Arlington, VA  22201
email:  rare@rareconservation.org
telephone:  703-522-5070
fax:  703-522-5027


 Current activities

Paul is Rare’s Senior Vice President of Global Programs. With more than 30 years of experience in tropical conservation, Paul Butler has developed model programs in conservation education and social marketing and he is the creator and director of Rare’s Diploma in Conservation Education.  A graduate of Northeast London Polytechnic, Butler lived and worked in the Caribbean for more than 25 years. His signature conservation-marketing program, Promoting Protection through Pride, succeeded in bringing back the endangered St. Lucia Parrot and since 1987, Butler has seen “his” program successfully replicated in over 100 sites in 40 countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Through this program, Paul has enabled hundreds of partner organizations build their pubic outreach and communications capacity and use innovative, yet simple, social marketing tools to raise awareness of environmental threats and then garner public support for environmental activities.

Through Rare Pride, Paul has facilitated the establishment of nature reserves, wildlife legislation and community-managed protected areas resulting in improved community livelihoods and the rebounding of threatened wildlife populations. Paul has developed multi-project agreements with The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International and Wildlife Conservation Society, among others. Paul also currently oversees three Pride training centers and their staff members as they deliver one to two three-month training programs per year in the UK, Indonesia and Mexico. He has received many honors, including the UN Global 500 Award, ASTA/Smithsonian Environment Award, the Caribbean Conservation Association Award, the Chicago Zoological Society’s Presidential Award, and the St. Lucia Medal of Merit.


Dr. Susan Clubb, D.V.M., Dip ABVP (Avian)

In 1975 Susan earned a BS in Zoology from the Auberun University followed by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1978. In 1994 she was Board Certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners - Avian and recertifed in 2002.

Susan is the owner of Reinforest Clinic for Birds and Exotics, Inc. and Hurrican Aviaries, Inc, a breeding facility for exotic birds. She is currently the Staff Veterinarian for Jungle Island, Miami, and Consulting Veterinarian for the following: Kaytee Product;, Loro Parque, Tenerife; Graham Hall Nature Preserve, Bridgetown Barbados; Fundacion de Rehabilitacion de Tropicales, Panama. She has received the Presidents Award from the Association of Avian Veterinarians twice, 2004 and 2006. She has served in various positions within the Association of Avian Veterinarians up to and including President. She has over 70 publiched articles in various Avian Publications and Symposiums. She has been author or coauthor of more than 25 books.



Dr. Mathias Dislich, D.V.M.

Graduated in veterinary medicine at São Paulo University in 2000. Since then has been working at Foz Tropicana Birdpark in Foz do Iguassu - Brazil. Member of the working group of the reintroduction Project " Iguassu Macaws ".

Lecture´s title : Development of a Macaw Reintroduction Project : a case study

Lecture´s Abstract :
The lecture will introduce the project " Iguassu Macaws " ,which is being developed at Foz Tropicana Birdpark. The aim of the project is to reintroduce and establish a viable population of green-winged and blue-and-yellow macaws in their Southern range of distribution: the Iguassu Falls area in the Southwest of Brazil.


Dr. Neiva Guedes, Ph.D.

Professional Address:
Presidente do Instituto Arara Azul
Coordenadora do Projeto Arara Azul/UNIDERP
Doutoranda em Zoologia pela UNESP/Botucatu

 Current activities

Director of Projeto Arara Azul, the Hyacinth Macaw Project, the Pantanal, Brazil (the flagship parrot conservation project to save the world's largest parrot). Ms. Guedes is a professor at the UNIDERP, Brazil and is president of Instituto Arara Azul


The Hyacinth Macaw Project, started over 10 years ago by biologist Neiva Guedes, has the objective of promoting the conservation of the hyacinth macaw in Nature, while disseminating the importance of conserving the biodiversity of the Pantanal Wetlands region and mobilizing the local population in favor of the region's conservation. The project includes the monitoring of macaws in nature, the monitoring of artificial and natural nests in a 400,000 hectares area, and working with local landowners for protecting the species.

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Bennett Hennessey

Professional Address:

Director Armonia/ BirdLife International Lomas de Arena 400 Casilla 3566 Santa Cruz de la Sierra Bolivia

A. Bennett Hennessey was born in Quebec City, Canada. At the University of Toronto he completed a customized zoology/environmental science degree (before a conservation biology degree existed). He visited Bolivia for a month in the rainforest, and then worked on conservation projects in the Republic of the Congo for a year. In 1995 Bennett decided to live in Bolivia on a long-term basis to continue his bird research and conservation activities. He has been involved in over 25 ornithological expeditions within all the main habitat types in Bolivia: Rainforest, Yungas forest, Grasslands and Dry forest and has completed species specific research of such threatened species as Wattled and Southern-horned Curassow, Blue-throated Macaw, Red-fronted Macaw, Military Macaw, Bolivian Recurvebill, Yungas Antwren, Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant, Bolivian and Brazilian Swallow-tailed Cotingas and Scimitar-winged Piha. He has archived over 1300 sound recordings at Cornell Bird Lab's Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds. Bennett is the first author of the Annotated List of the Birds of Bolivian (2003). He became the executive director of the Bolivian Bird Conservation NGO Armonía/ BirdLife International in 2002 which has grown in three years from 2 conservation projects and 3 employees to 15 Bolivian bird conservation programs with 30 Bolivian employees. He is also the director of BirdLife's South American Threatened Bird program, which supports on-ground conservation actions and trains new conservationists in South America.


Roelant Jonker M.Sc.

Director of City Parrots, an organisation that advocates the use of urban areas in the conservation of parrots.

Roelant did his master thesis on the “ helper at the nest behaviour” of the Yellow-eared Parrot in Colombia. After graduating he started studying naturalised parrot populations with his partner Grace. Their focus lies on a small population of Scarlet macaws that have been living in the Netherlands for over 30 years and 4 generations.

Roelant's main interests are the adaptational processes parrots undergo when colonising urban areas. Why Parrots are so successful in cities and how this can benefit the conservation of this highly endangered avian class.


The Belém Golden Conure Project

The natural world is a far different place now then it was 10,000 years ago or even a 100 years ago. Every natural ecosystem on the planet has been altered by humanity. In quoting Heraclitus: “change is the only constant”, change by itself should not be cause for alarm. But the rate of change has also accelerated with the effect that many species presently cannot adjust in time and face extinction.

Conservation biology has responded to these threats with two main strategies:

  1. Habitat preservation and restoration: creating a space where change is contained and species can pursuit their evolutionary path.

  2. Captive propagation: sheltering a species from all detrimental influences and maintaining them in a living museum.

The Belém Golden Conure Project explores a 3rd option for the conservation of species. Where instead of sheltering a species against change or removing it from its environment we help it to adapt to a changed environment, focussing on urban landscapes.

Over 50 parrot species maintain a population in urban areas. Our goal with introducing the Golden conure to Belém, where the species is native, is that in a decade or two it will be as numerous there as the Wild parrots of Telegraph Hill are in San Francisco or Amazon parrots in Southern California.

Why parrots do so well in Cities?
Not a crop pest:Live in cities holds many benefits for parrots over natural habitats. One major threat to parrots in the wild is that they damage crops and farmers protect their crops by shooting them. The wearing and use of firearms in urban areas is largely prohibited and there are few crops to be protected in cities. 

Save from trade:Urban people do not usually depend on wildlife for sustenance and ignore or are unaware of parrots in their area. Lesser sulphur crested cockatoos and Red-crowned amazons for example are both highly prized and desirable parrots for the pet industry. Both species have managed to build seizable urban populations and nest poaching is a rare occurrence. 


Dr. Frank Lavac, D.V.M

Professional Address:

Wilshire Animal Hospital

2421 Wilshire Blvd.

Santa Monica, CA 90403


Academic Degrees

A Board certified Avian specialty Veterinarian with a private practice in Santa Monica, CA. 

Colorado State University:
       B.S. with distinction, Microbiology, 1974
       M.S. Microbiology, 1977
       D.V.M. 1980


Internship in small animal medicine and surgery in West Los Angeles, CA. 1980-81.
Avian Diplomate, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, 1994; recertified 2004.
Phi Beta Kappa


 Current activities

Medical Director, Wilshire Animal Hospital, AAHA certified, Santa Monica, CA.
Avian and Exotic lectures at the Western Veterinary Conference, American Animal Association meetings, North American Veterinary Conference, Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, International Emergency Veterinarian Clinicians Conference and numerous local veterinary and aviculture groups.


Steve Martin

Natural Encounters, Inc.

One of the best-known trainers in the world, Steve Martin has pioneered the art of training a variety of birds and animals through positive reinforcement. He is has been a master faconer for over 40 years and a parrot trainer for more than 45.

Steve's training experience includes hundreds of species of birds and mammals. He is a Trustee with the World Parrot Trust, a Core Team Member of The California Condor Recovery Team and has served as a behavior consultant for the Hawaiian Crow and Hawaiian Hawk conservation projects.

He is also the founder of IAATE (International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators) and has served as its President four different times. Steve spends approximately three quarters of every year traveling to zoological facilities around the world serving as a behavior consultant. He has now worked at over 60 zoological facilities in 14 different countries.

Steve is known for his commitment to conservation and education. Each year his company donates close to $100,000 to conservation projects, each show he produces has a strong conservation education message, and Earth Day is an official holiday at his company.


Dr. Glaucia Sexias, Ph.D.

PhD and MS in Ecology and Conservation, from Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul – Brazil, and BS in Zootechny from Federal University of Santa Maria – Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Founder and coordinator of the Blue-fronted Amazon Parrot Project since 1997, with the assistance of her team, composed by field technicians and externs. Originally, the Project had partnership with the Mato Grosso do Sul State Government, through the Wild Animal Rehabilitation Center (CRAS). Since 2004, the Project is affiliated with the NGO Neotropica Foundation of Brazil, where Gláucia volunteers. She is also member of the committee for the Conservation and Management of Amazon Parrots, coordinated by the Chico Mendes Institute / The Ministry of Environment. She has published many articles and chapters about her studies with the Blue-fronted Parrot.


I got my BS degree in Zootechny from Federal University of Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in 1988. Since then, I have been working with fauna conservation at Mato Grosso do Sul state. During 11 years I worked for the Mato Grosso do Sul state Government, through the Instituto de Meio Ambiente de Mato Grosso do Sul (IMASUL). During this period, I was coordinator of the Wild Animals Rehabilitation Center (CRAS) for seven years, and manager of Biodiversity Conservation for other four years.
On 1997 I started the Blue-fronted Amazon Parrot Project, for believe that this species, although not classified as threatened yet, could arrive to this classification, allied to the total lack of knowledge about this species. I conciliated the Project’s activities with my duties at the Government until early 2004, when I decided to exclusively dedicate to the Project and the parrots. Since then, the Project is afilliated with a NGO in Mato Grosso do Sul, the Neotropica Foundation of Brazil (Fundação Neotropica do Brasil), and supported by different institutions and individuals concerned with the conservation of the Blue-fronted Parrot.
 On 1999, after a 2-year course, I got a specialization degree on Environmental Studies from Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS), studying the use of radiotelemetry for monitoring Blue-fronted Parrots after reintroductions. Following that, I got my MS degree on Ecology and Conservation, also from UFMS, working with reproductive biology of Blue-fronted Parrot, and the development of free ranging and captivity nestlings. Recently I got my PhD degree on Ecology and Conservation, studying the diet and the use of different habitats for reproduction and roosting sites by Blue-fronted Parrots, at South Pantanal.
Currently, along with Blue-fronted Parrots, I have been studying other psittacine species in the Pantanal, with the aim to gain more knowledge about psittacines, and better contribute for their in situ conservation.


Dr. Mark Stafford, D.D.S.

  • Parrots International
  • 15332 Antioch Street. #417
  • Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Academic Degrees:

1975: BA Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

1975: BA Environmental Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara

1980: DDS. University of California, Los Angeles, Summa Cum Laude

Current activities

 Dr. Mark Stafford is the founding director and president of Parrots International. Parrots International is a not for profit organization dedicated to the promoting and fostering international cooperation in the conservation of endangered parrot species. Parrots International works in cooperation with other conservation organizations, donors, field research teams, responsible aviculturists and parrot clubs to assist, propose, develop and fund conservation projects throughout the world. The basic premise of Parrots International is that "Conservation happens in the Wild."

    Mark and his wife, Marie, have traveled extensively throughout Central and South America, and the Caribbean to view, photograph and film wild parrots. The goal of these trips has been to gain an understanding of the natural history of endangered parrot species, the environmental and human derived pressures relating to their endangered status, and to understand the possible steps that can be taken to bring these beautiful parrots back from the brink of extinction.

    Dr Stafford has directed Parrots International to help fund research and conservation projects for the Hyacinth Macaws in Brazil; the Great Green Macaw in Costa Rica; the Lears Macaw in Bahia, Brazil; the Yellow Shouldered Amazon in Bonaire; the Bahama Amazon in Abaco; the Blue-fronted Amazon in the Chaco of Argentina; the Slender-billed Conure Project in Chile; the Pfrimer Conure Project; the Military Macaw in the Oaxaca State of Mexico; and the Puerto Rican Parrot, one of the ten rarest birds in the world. In addition Parrots International is involved in the land purchase, habitat restoration and the future release of the Spix’s Macaw back into the wild. In 2006 Mark and Marie received recognition at the US Capital LBJ Room by the head of the US Fish and Wildlife Service for their assistance with the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Project. Dr. Stafford, and Parrots International, is a member of the Committee for the Management and Conservation of the Hyacinth Macaw, as well as a consultant for the Committee for the Management and Conservation of the Lear’s Macaw and the Spix’s Macaw Working Group.


Dr. Darrel Syles, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Professional Address:

Veterinary Medical Officer USDA APHIS 4700 River Road, Unit 84

Riverdale, MD 20737


Current activities

Dr. Styles is an expert in avian infectious and metabolic diseases and their molecular etiology; avicultural science and husbandry; and wild bird conservation and management with respect to disease control and captive rearing programs



Jafet Velez, M.S.

Supervisor of the USFWS Luquillo Aviary for the captive breeding of the Puerto Rican


In 1992 begun his career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Field Technician for the recovery efforts of the Endangered Puerto Rican Parrot.  Most of the time, he was monitoring nesting cavities in the wild and assisting in the Luquillo Aviary daily works.  In the mean time (’94-’98), he was working in his master’s degree in Environmental Health from the University of Puerto Rico/Medical Science Campus (Thesis Title: Presence of Antirabies Antibodies and Diagnosis of Rabies in Small Indian Mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) Captured in the Caribbean National Forest (El Yunque)).  By 1996 he spent most of the time working directly with the parrots in captivity and by 1998 was the senior technician of the Luquillo Aviary and assistant to the operations coordinator.  By 2000 became the Luquillo Aviary Team Leader.
Has been blessed with a wonderful wife, which understands the long hours of spent at the aviary and three awesome children.  Equally has been blessed with great friends and colleagues such as Dr. Susan Clubb, Julie Murad and the Gabriel Foundation, Dr. Mark Stafford, Mari, Mando and Carmen, the AFA, the AAV, Dr. Darrel Styles, Dr. Antonio Rivera, Dr. Eduardo Valdes, and many, many, many others that provide guidance, ideas, assistance, support and became teachers/partners in the conservation of one of the most endangered psittacines in the world.  They have provided the Recovery Efforts of the Puerto Rican Amazon with valuable complimentary tools to continue the increase of this species in captivity and in the wild.
Since Jafet became the Luquillo Aviary Team Leader, now the Iguaca Aviary, the yearly production of Puerto Rican Parrots chicks in captivity in such facility has increased from a mean of about 5 to about 15 per year, being 2007 the highest record ever for this facility with 22 chicks.  Some of the major changes Jafet has incorporated to the management of this species in captivity has been but not limited to;

    • Routine Endoscopic Examination by Dr. Antonio Rivera and Dr. Susan Clubb.
    • Proactive management of nesting cavities.
    • Focus efforts in “production” of new pairs, genetically and behaviorally compatible.
    • Remodelation and updated technology of our avian hospital.
    • The development of a Cooperative Agreement with Dr. Valdes (Disney’s Animal Kingdom/Animal Nutrition Center) and the Central Florida Zoo for PRP diet evaluation and improvement.
    • Zinctoxicosis cases management with Dr. Antonio Rivera.
    • “Environmental Enrichment and Exploratory Behavior in PRP’s” A study in collaboration with Dr. Iris Velázquez from UPR in Humacao (Prepare environmental enrichment devices and artificial feeders in order to examine exploratory behavior and feeding proficiency.
    • Part of the new aviary conception/development/construction team.
    • With Dr. Joanne Earnhardt, director of the Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology and her wonderful team, including Sarah Long a Senior Population Biologist, American Zoo and Aquarium’s Population Management Center coordinated the Puerto Rican Parrot captive population management workshop.  The captive population management techniques, data, programs and strategies developed in this workshop assists the USFWS/Luquillo Aviaries and the PR Dept. of Natural and Environmental Resources/Río Abajo Aviaries in the synchronized management of the species.

Ryan Watson

Academic Degrees:

Post Graduate Degree in Ornithology – Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW, Australia.Trade Certificate in Applied Zoo Keeping – Box Hill TAFE, Hawthorn, VIC, Australia.

Professional Address:

Blue Macaw Coordinator

Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP)

P.O. Box 44069

Doha, State of Qatar


Current activities

  • Blue Macaw Coordinator for the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation. Manage the private captive breeding programs of Spix’s Macaw Cyanopsitta spixii, Lear’s Macaw Anodorhynchus leari and Hyacinth Macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus for His Excellency Sheikh Saoud Bin Mohd. Bin Ali Al-Thani owner and founder of Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation, Doha, Qatar.

  • Primary studbook manager of Spix’s macaw and supporting studbook manager of Lear’s macaw on behalf of the Brazilian Governments department for natural resources the Institute of Chico Mendes for the Conservation of Biodiversity (ICMBio).

Ryan Watson was born in Singapore in 1978 but raised in his home country of Australia where he has been keeping and breeding birds since childhood, starting with the usual “beginners” birds such as Zebra finches and Budgerigars. By his late teens, Ryan had graduated from the easier to keep species and was particularly focused on breeding and hand-rearing Eclectus parrots. It was also around this time that Ryan gained employment at a Western Australian bird dealership, Birdworld, where he was to spend a little over two years. Ryan gained much experience during this time, particularly in the field of hand-rearing parrots for the pet market.

The experience gained at Birdworld equipped Ryan with the necessary skills for his next position as a bird-keeper at the Adelaide Zoo. Under the tutelage of well known West Australian avicultural identity, Phil Digney, Ryan was given the opportunity to undergo the steepest learning curve of his career and to get more involved in his emerging passion for wildlife conservation. During his time at the zoo, Ryan initiated and managed the zoo’s successful Blue and gold macaw free-flight display and managed to raise $10,000.00 for Great-green macaw research in Costa Rica and $5000 for Blue-throated macaw research in Bolivia. Ryan also held the Australasian regional studbook for the endangered Swift parrot Lathamus discolor and was a primary person involved in the first time successful incubation and hand-rearing of two of Australia’s most endangered bird species, the Regent honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia and the Black-eared miner Manorina melanotis. .

Ryan left the Adelaide after three and a half years after accepting a position with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation as their hand-rearing coordinator on the Echo parakeet Psittacula eques echo recovery programs. This position was seasonal and in between his three seasons working on the program, Ryan spent time working in Hawaii at the Keauhou Bird Breeding Center, a facility run by the San Diego Zoo for endangered Hawaiian birds. Ryan also completed a post graduate degree in Ornithology and was a regular guest speaker at avicultural conventions and club meetings.





All content except where otherwise noted is ©2008 Mark Stafford. All rights reserved.
Parrots International: 15332 Antioch Ave. #417, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

updated: Dec. 11, 2008