The GAIA Program Wild Nature Conservation Projects

The GAIA Program Wild Nature Conservation Projects

Calocitta formosa Jeffrey McCraryProtecting the environment requires a lot more than just hugging trees. As director of the GAIA program in the Nicaraguan not-for-profit foundation, FUNDECI., Jeffrey McCrary works on technical issues to protect the environment in Nicaragua. How Nicaragua manages its environmental issues in the face of a rapidly growing economy and a deep transformation is key to the sustainability of its success as a nation, and in particular, its wild natural resources are issues of international importance.

The GAIA program works to unify efforts between local people, national and international volunteers, scientists and professionals, the international cooperation and donor communities, and the Nicaraguan government, to promote prosperity among rural Nicaraguans while protecting and improving conditions for wildlife and their habitat.

GAIA has worked on a variety of issues of importance to the conservation of natural resources in Nicaragua, such as:

Jeffrey McCrary

Blue-crowned Motmot, in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua. Photo Jen Moran.

The hydroelectric project TUMARIN

Wind energy in Nicaragua: Covensa, Blue Power, Eolo

The Nicaragua Interoceanic Grand Canal

Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve Management Plan

Chiltepe Peninsula Nature Reserve Management Plan

Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo

Wild animal rescue and advocacy

Protection of the Natural Heritage of Nicaragua



Nicaragua lies in the middle of the Mesoamerican isthmus, with year-round warm weather. Substantial numbers of migratory birds winter here, some of them just pass through Nicaragua during their extensive migrations in each direction, and a few species of birds nest here and then migrate southward during the non-breeding period.

Jeffrey McCrary bird

Other birds, such as the pictured Chestnut-capped warbler (Basileuterus delattrii), are strictly resident species. That means that they never move particularly far from the area where they were born, possibly only excepting what is called dispersal, which occurs as birds mature and depart from parental assistance. Of the more than seven hundred bird species documented in Nicaragua, about a third of them are found in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. One of the more important bird species there is the Chestnut-capped Warbler.

Birds from this location have been reported in a pair of scholarly articles on new and novel reports of birds in Nicaragua. In the first of the two new bird species reports, co-authored by Wayne J. Arendt, Salvadora Morales, Joseph T. Arengi and Lorenzo J. Lopez, first documentations in the scientific literature for ten species were given: Fulvous Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor), Nazca Booby (Sula granti), Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus), Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), Wilson’s Plover (Charadrius wilsonia), Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa), Sanderling (Calidris alba), Baird’s Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii), among others.