NOW Curious Traveller Diaries

Belize, America & Canada

It was June 7th, 2020 when gunshots rang through the jungle. A man was down, and with him, a bag he’d been carrying. Inside the bag were 7 baby chicks, each only about a month old. They can’t fly, or survive on their own. They have grey downy feathers on their body, but their wings are already bright with red, blue, and yellow. The man has just climbed a tall tree to their nest, reached into the trunk and grabbed each chick one by one. They are scarlet macaws, giant tropical parrots - each of them worth around $400 on the black market. But as the poacher reaches the ground with the bag full of chicks he’s spotted by rangers. They chase him through the thick jungle. It gets intense,there’s a brawl, and shots are fired. The poacher ends up being rushed to hospital for his injuries. All seven macaw chicks are rescued and brought to an animal rehabilitation center. There, they’ll hopefully get a second chance at life in the wild.

These birds live dramatic lives - sometimes from the moment they’re born. They're prized by poachers, and being squeezed as their rainforest habitat is lost. They are astounding birds in so many ways. In his book, “the last flight of the scarlet macaw”, Bruce Barcott described them perfectly: “THE SCARLET MACAW LOOKS like a creature dreamed up by Dr. Seuss. It’s a red parrot with wings tipped buttercup yellow and royal blue…..It possesses a bill capable of cracking bones and a tongue as dextrous as a human thumb. Macaws mate for life, and those lives can be incredibly long—fifty years or more. If birds formed villages, a town of macaws would thrum with happy marriages and lively conversation.” Beautifully said.

The macaws live among huge trees in a tropical wonderland that’s always under some kind of threat, but there is a small army of people that are out to help them. My journey to meet them shows how these birds capture their hearts. This is the story of their world - the birds, and the brave people dedicated to saving them in the tropical rainforest of Belize.

About the Traveller

Chris Morgan

Chris Morgan Wildlife researcher, award-winning TV host and filmmaker

Chris Morgan is a British-American ecologist, conservationist, filmmaker, TV host and podcaster (PBS, BBC, Nat Geo, NPR). His stories from 6 continents have reached hundreds of millions of people worldwide as part of his mission to connect listeners to nature and to help conserve our beautiful planet. Chris is best known for his global work with bears, which has taken him from the Pakistani Himalayas to Borneo to the North Cascades just an hour from his home in Bellingham, Washington.

You can sit back and disappear into nature with THE WILD with Chris Morgan, wherever you get your podcasts. Reaching the top 1% of podcasts in its first season, with season four on the way. They’re fun, enlightening, immersive, and a complete escape. Season 4 is launching soon.

Living Positively


It's hard not to see the funny side of being squirted in the eye with monkey pee...


The common housefly is incredible. It outmaneuvers most of its flying counterparts and can do things that most other flying insects can't, making it near impossible to swat them.


The sheer beauty of the places we visited. The jungles of Belize were so full of life and yet so far from everyday life as we know it. Untouched and untamed - a true wilderness.


The incredibly passionate people we met on the way, all committed to saving and supporting nature, creatures and biodiversity

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