Home » Vernon Arias | Bringing Back The Scarlet Macaw From Extinction | Recap

Vernon Arias | Bringing Back The Scarlet Macaw From Extinction | Recap

Watch the recap for Vernon Arias' feature documentary "Bringing Back The Scarlet Macaw From Extinction."

by Nolan Hawk

Vernon Arias is a biologist based in the town of Cóbano, Costa Rica, located in the southernmost part of the Nicoya Peninsula, a region that once teemed with wildlife. 

However, due to the construction of habitat-disrupting real estate, as well as the actions of poachers, much of the area’s most-beloved species are at risk of extinction. 

One such species is the scarlet macaw, a bird that is not only beautiful, but essential to the proper functioning of the ecosystem. 

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Vernon’s mission is to repopulate the peninsula with scarlet macaws, a feat he accomplishes through his work with non-profit organization ASOPROLAPA. 

Vernon Arias Discovers His Love for Scarlet Macaws

After graduating from college, Vernon Arias moved to Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province, where he worked with wild cats in captivity. 

It was here where he learned of the impending extinction of scarlet macaws. As he studied the species, both his love and concern for them grew. 

Before long, he shifted his primary focus from wild cats to scarlet macaws. He discovered ASOPROLAPA and committed himself fully to the organization.


First, they instigate a scarlet macaw reproduction process, which takes place within a hatchery. When the creatures are mature, they are released little by little into the wild. 

Even individuals that cannot be released into the wild, whether this be due to negative behaviors or disabilities, are used for education.

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Vernon and his team also perform school seminars, in which they teach the children about the biological role of the scarlet macaws and the importance of conservation. 

Students even take part in ASOPROLAPA’s activities by keeping records of their scarlet macaw sightings, thus providing the organization with information as to where the macaws are concentrating.

What Impact Has Vernon Arias’s Work Made?

Currently, ASOPROLAPA has released ~200 scarlet macaws into the wild. These individuals have reproduced, and their habitation has increased tourism, boosting the local economy and the Nicoya Peninsula’s residents’ quality of life.

Vernon has also acted as a positive role model for the children he educates. 

His teachings extend far beyond the subject of scarlet macaws: He demonstrates the importance of conservation and boosts the self-esteem of his students by informing them of just how important each one of them is in creating a more sustainable world.

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Aside from preserving the species, Vernon and his team have also conducted research that has widened the scientific community’s knowledge of the scarlet macaw. 

Before releasing macaws into the wild, they place a microchip-containing ring around each bird’s claw, allowing for satellite tracking.

This way, ASOPROLAPA can trace the movements of released birds, learning more about their migratory process.

What Makes Vernon Arias an Everyday Hero?

Vernon’s work to preserve scarlet macaws is heroic for a number of reasons. Firstly, the reintroduction of the species into the environment has given locals, many of whom grew up seeing scarlet macaws in the wild, a sense of community. 

The birds were, for a time, a defining aspect of Costa Rican life. Through the work of Vernon and his teammates, this may once again be a reality. 

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And because scarlet macaws are not found outside of Latin America, their increasing presence in Costa Rica has boosted tourism, therefore aiding the local economy.

Additionally, Vernon’s work is beneficial for the environment, as scarlet macaws play a vital role in the ecosystem.

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