The protected blue and gold macaws are facing habitat loss in T&T but thanks to the efforts of two avid animal lovers, the birds are once again returning to the forests.
Darrin Ramoutar and Kerry Latchman, the owners of Samsara Nature Park have already bred more than 100 blue and gold macaws, scarlet macaws and dozens of yellow-headed parrots, all of which has been released into the forests.
Known as avid animal rescuers, Ramoutar said they hope to also breed red howler monkeys in the future.
During an exclusive interview with Guardian Media, Ramoutar showed a tiny macaw egg taken out of an incubator.
The birds are paired and kept in a cage where they lay eggs in a barrel. Once the eggs are sourced, they are placed in the incubator for 28 days.
Apart from the macaws, Ramoutar and his team of volunteers have saved horses, goats and snakes in the past.
Through the assistance of their friend, Tisha Motilal, of Animal Welfare Network, Ramoutar said they acquired 12 old racing horses. Though they were marked for death, Ramoutar said they found new life at the park.
With the guidance of horse trainer Learie Seecharan, a qualified jockey from the T&T Racing Association, they have started giving riding lessons to adults as well as children aged six to 10. Each lesson costs $200 which goes towards the upkeep of the horses.
Ramoutar said it costs about $1,000 per week to care properly for a single horse. The animals are fed Brodmere horse feed which they get from local agro shops. Because the horses were abused on the race track and fed copious amounts of steroids to combat pain, Ramoutar said it takes up to two years to rehabilitate the animal.
"Some of the horses take a while before they trust you. We are really happy that we saved these and we really have to thank Tisha," Ramoutar added.
Since the park was opened to the public last July, they have managed to acquire a three-legged goat named Goatie, seven donkeys, wild hogs, ponies and hundreds of local birds including chickens. Ramoutar said they wanted people to have an appreciation for all animals.
"Instead of having people think of only eating our wild animals, we want them to love animals," Ramoutar said.
He explained that a family of wild howler monkeys live in the forests of Penal on the outskirts of the 20 acres nature park. Once the breeding is successful, Ramoutar is hopeful that the Penal forests will one day be filled with the sounds of the red howlers.
He said from the end of February, they will open a picnic area where families can camp out with the animals. There will also be a trail into the forests for avid horseback riders as well as a lake. The area is monitored with surveillance cameras.
Latchman said he hoped that the Government could assist them in realising their dream of having a sanctuary for wild animals.
"Many people know what a tiger looks like but they have never seen an ocelot even though they live in our forests. They have never seen a lappe, an agouti or a wildhog. They all live in our forests and are far more valuable alive rather than dead. People from various parts of the world will pay in US dollars to see our wild animals," Latchman said.
He called on corporate T&T to assist them in saving T&T's protected animals. Anyone wanting to assist can contact Ramoutar or Latchman at 340-3737 or 380-0791.