The conservation status of Scarlet-thighed Dacnis has been listed by the 2016 IUCN Red List as Least Concern (BirdLife International 2017). It received this categorization due to its large distribution from Costa Rica south through Panama and western Colombia to northwestern Ecuador. In addition, Parker et al. (1996) assign this species a low conservation priority relative to other Neotropical birds. It is considered Near-Threatened in Ecuador at the southern limits of its range, where it is rare to uncommon from Esmeraldas west to Mache-Chindul to northern Guayas and southeastern Pichincha at Rio Palenque (Granizo et al. 2002, Vogt and Ahlman 2006). In Ecuador it has an estimated population of 10,000-30,000 and is threatened by deforestation and habitat fragmentation (Granizo et al. 2002, Vogt and Ahlman 2006).
Effects of human activity on populations
Scarlet-thighed Dacnis has a medium sensitivity to human disturbances relative to other Neotropical birds (Parker et al. 1996). Due to deforestation and habit fragmentation, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis is threatened in areas of Ecuador (Granizo et al. 2002, Vogt and Ahlman 2006). Drastic population declines have been reported from isolated fragments of habitat such as the Rio Palenque Research Station in Ecuador and from Barro Colorado Island (BCI) in Panama (Leck 1979, Willis 1980, Robinson 1999). For example, while Willis (1980) reported an average of 40 individuals per day on BCI, Robinson (1999) reported a single individual observed during the entirety of his study. However, some posit that these presences and absences may be due in large part to seasonal or irruptive movements (Robinson 1999, Watson 2010). Habitat has been fragmented in part due to unplanned colonization following the completion of roadways and other structures, particularly in the Chocó forests which has decreased by 40% since the 1960s (Vogt and Ahlman 2006). Currently, persistent logging, housing establishments, grazing, mining, plant cultivation, and exploitation of wildlife are all threatening this region of northern Ecuador (Vogt and Ahlman 2006).
Many birders flock to the Neotropics every year, and the beautiful Scarlet-thighed Dacnis has the potential to attract ecotourists (Rodríguez Arias and Guido Granados 2012). Scarlet-thighed Dacnis is known from many protected areas: Colombia: Los Katíos National Park, Farallones de Cali National Park (Hilty 2011), Munchique National Park (Negret 1994); Costa Rica: Braulio Carrillo National Park, Tapantí National Park, Chirripó/La Amistad National Park (Hilty 2011), Cloudbridge Nature Reserve (Dibala 2007), Las Cruces Biological Station (Daily and Ehrlich 1994, Price and Dalgleish 2006), Reserva Biológica Alberto Manuel Brenes (Stiles 1991, Guido Granados and Rodríguez Arias 2013), Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde (Buskirk 1976, Bronstein and Hoffman 1987); Ecuador: Awacachi Biological Corridor (Jahn 2011), Centro Cientifico Rio Palenque (Leck 1979); Panama: La Amistad National Park, Soberanía National Park, Chagres National Park, Darién National Park (Hilty 2011), Barro Colorado Island (Willis 1980, Robinson 1999, Watson 2010).