Committed to conservation, Xcaret Park has an important bird breeding program to boost the populations of endangered species such as the scarlet macaw, flamingo and the king vulture.

After 10 years of study by the park vets and specialists, an endangered king vulture chick was born in the new Xcaret aviary this summer. With its white plumage, black wing tips and huge orange-red bill, the king vulture or zopilote rey is one of the most striking birds found in the jungles of southeast Mexico.

Also this summer, 23 scarlet macaws were released in Nanciyaga Reserve in Veracruz, bringing the total of birds introduced into the wild in the jungles of Veracruz and Chiapas since 2013 to 226, almost doubling the population of macaws in Mexico in three years.

In 2013, there were only about 250 scarlet macaws left in the wild in Chiapas, their numbers decimated by poaching for the illegal international bird trade and habitat loss. Xcaret vets are working with biologists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, SEMARNAT environmental agency and reserves in Palenque in northern Chiapas and Los Tuxtlas in Veracruz to bring this emblematic bird, once held sacred by the pre-Hispanic cultures such as the Maya, back from the brink of extinction.