Image of Young professionals and logo of Baird's Tapir Survival Alliance with text: "Introducing the Avengers for Baird's Tapir Conservation"
Image of a scarlet macaw with text: "Watch our new film about protecting scarlet macaws from trafficking!"

From the peaks of the Talamanca Mountains to the depths of the Mesoamerican coral reef, Central America possesses one of the richest concentrations of species and ecosystem diversity on Earth. The region is home to spectacular species such as the jaguar, Baird’s tapir, harpy eagle, red-eyed tree frog, and scarlet macaw.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Central America Program provides critical support to conserve priority species and ecosystems across high-biodiversity value landscapes in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor while simultaneously benefiting local communities.

Working with our partners, the Service has implemented a regional strategy in Central America to protect the region’s five largest remaining intact forest landscapes. As part of this effort, a Human Footprint and Cow's Hoofprint' Report showed that illegal cattle ranching is responsible for more than 90 percent of forest loss in remaining wildlife strongholds. In 2017, these results were shared with indigenous groups, protected area agencies, and civil society organizations from nine countries at a convening supported by the Service and our partners. This spurred the development of a joint commitment known as "The Petén Declaration." Signed by 25 of the attending organizations, the declaration recognizes the causes of forest loss and commits to concrete actions to address them.

The Service also supports innovative efforts to protect keystone species in the region. Here are a few examples:

• Projects to reduce human-jaguar conflicts have been implemented, working with ranchers and land-owners to create win-win scenarios that reduce cattle losses, and also retaliatory killings of jaguars.

• In 2018, the Baird’s Tapir Survival Alliance was created with support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, uniting regional experts to protect the largest mammal in the region, whose ecological role as a seed disperser of large trees and “Gardener of the Forest” is unparalleled.

• We supported the expansion of a successful community-led project to patrol and protect scarlet macaws in the La Moskitia area of Honduras from wildlife trafficking, making it the largest community-patrolled parrot conservation area in Latin America (approximately the same size as Grand Canyon National Park).