The macaws at the Ara Project are all from Costa Rica. The population is made up of confiscated birds, former pets that have been donated, and birds that have been raised at the breeding center. The birds' care and well being are of paramount concern. They are given large flights to allow freedom of movement and exercise, and to socialize with other macaws, and to breed and raise their young. The birds are fed nutritionally complete diets, and given the provision of opportunities to forage. The Ara Projects works with the School of Veterinary Medicine (Escuela de Medicina Veterinaria) at the National University of Costa Rica (Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica).
The Ara Project employs a ‘soft release’ method for restoring macaws to the wild. It begins when the macaws first enter a quarantine for a period of 30 days to undergo regular health checks and disease testing. Once this period has passed they are then moved to a release site and placed in a large flight where they are held for a minimum of 2 months while becoming gradually accustomed to their new surroundings and learning how to identify and consume naturally occurring foods. Once the birds are eating and foraging well, small groups of birds are released over an extend period of time, and supplemental feeding of natural food items near the release site is offered for as long is required.