Are you planning a visit to Belize? Perhaps you’re interested in learning more about this tiny Caribbean country? Or do you simply want a good read? If you answered yes to any of these questions, The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw by Bruce Barcott, might be the book for you. It is a classic David and Goliath story.
In this case, “Goliath” is the Fortis Company. This large Canada-based corporation wants to build a dam in one of the most pristine rivers in Belize. “David” is a small group of concerned citizens who know what the construction of this dam will mean. It will herald in the destruction of irreplaceable wildlife habitat that is home to jaguars, tapirs and one of the last known populations of Scarlet Macaws.
The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw is an engrossing tale. It reads like a good novel but the story it tells is true. Barcott’s prose are enthralling, as is the story itself. This quick read is filled with drama and adventure. It is heavy with tales of courage and heartache. It sheds light on what it really means to fight for conservation. And what is truly at stake if we lose.
Unfortunately, despite valiant efforts to stop them, Fortis moved ahead with construction of the dam. The Fortis company completed the Chalillo Dam, now over a decade ago. It has been as damaging to the environment as everyone predicted. The dam has caused degradation of water quality. It has destroyed nesting habitat for the Scarlet Macaw and so much more. But rest assured, Belizeans continue to fight for the conservation of their natural habitats and wildlife, giving hope to all of us.