Chris Castles has been operating rescue, rehabilitation and release centers throughout Costa Rica for over 13 years, including at Punta Islita in Guanacaste, and Punta Uva on the Caribbean coast. In 2014, Chris and the U.S. non-profit, Foster Parrots, Ltd., set up a new Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release Center in the Osa Peninsula in the South Pacific of Costa Rica, home to Central America's last stronghold of at least 1,200 wild Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao).
The center, initially known as ‘Hatched to Fly Free’, constructed its first aviary in 2015, thanks to the generous support of sponsors such as Foster Parrots Ltd and the Vincent J Coates Foundation. Since then is has received 51 birds from the Costa Rican government’s Ministry for the Environment (MINAE) and from local residents and businesses, and has been able to successfully rehabilitate and release 23 birds back into the wild so far, with several others pending release in 2018. The center also provides a sanctuary for former pets that are unsuitable for release and for birds that are too badly injured to be able to survive in the wild. Activities at the center are sustained thanks to unwavering support from donors and the efforts of volunteers and Research Assistants.
In 2017, the Hatched to Fly Free was officially incorporated under its new permanent name, Macaw Conservation, and strategic allianceswere established with several conservation organizations and research institutions, including the Laboratory for Conservation Geneticsat the University of Costa Rica (UCR), Intertwined Conservation Corporation and the Wild Macaw Association.
is made up of international specialists in avian health & husbandry, alongside biologists & zoologists with combined experience of over 40 years working with parrots and macaws. See our staff & volunteers in action!
Chris Castles | President
Chris started breeding parrots when he was just seven years old and bred several native and non-native species in his home country of New Zealand. Specializing in psittacines, Chris worked at the Wellington Zoo before moving to Costa Rica in 2003 to work with Amigos de las Aves. In 2009 he founded the Avifauna Reintroduction Alliance (ARA) project, hand-raising and releasing over 200 macaws at sites around the country, including Punta Islita, Punta Uva and Punta Banco. In 2010 he led the world’s first ever release of captive-bred Great Green Macaws into the wild. Chris set up the new rescue center in the Osa Peninsula in 2015, before co-founding Macaw Conservation in 2017.
Marc Johnson & Karen Windsor| Foster Parrots Ltd.
Founded in 1989 and formally incorporated in 1999 by CEO, Marc Johnson and Executive Director, Karen Windsor, Foster Parrots, Ltd. is the largest parrot rescue organization in the northeast United States and one of the most well-respected avian rescue and welfare organizations in the country. The desire of the founders to also protect the freedom of wild parrots and preserve natural habitat led them to pursue an ambitious project in the South American country of Guyana in 2005. Here they established a village-based eco-tourism effort that has been successful in providing protection for wildlife and support for the conservation efforts of Guyana’s indigenous Amerindians.
In 2014 Foster Parrots, Ltd. and Chris Castles joined together in a partnership to carry on Chris’ important work in Costa Rica and to establish a new breed and release program on the Osa Peninsula. Land was purchased to anchor the project and the first aviaries were completed in 2015.
In 2007 Foster Parrots established the New England Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary on 15 acres of rural land in Hope Valley, Rhode Island. This facility now serves as the permanent sanctuary arm of the organization and a regional resource for Humane Education and avian/exotics services. Nearly 400 parrots, representing over 50 different parrot species, currently reside at the NEEWS.
Allison Argo makes films that lend a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. As a multiple Emmy award-winning filmmaker, Argo is known for her strong stories and intimate portraits of endangered wildlife and the issues they face in a human-dominated world. ArgoFilms has created a unique niche in natural history film-making. As Producer, Director, Writer and Editor, Argo has been making films for over two decades. She has produced, directed, written and narrated 18 films for National Geographic and PBS. Her films have won over 100 awards internationally. Allison's 2013 documentary film, PARROT CONFIDENTIAL, introduced the world to Chris Castles and his extraordinary work with the scarlet and great green macaws of Costa Rica. Her latest film, THE LAST PIG, continues Argo’s mission to speak out for the voiceless. Through this film she hopes to inspire compassion for all living beings and to repair the disconnect between humans and what we consume.