Above: A pair of Spix’s macaws with their parent-reared young at the ACTP facility. Photo: ACTP Facebook page
THE POSSIBILITY OF the Critically Endangered Spix’s macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) returning to the wild could soon be a reality, following a commitment from the Brazilian Government to create a protected area for the reintroduction of this species.
The new Spix’s macaw wildlife refuge will be based in Bahia, north-eastern Brazil, and the environmental protection area will measure 120,000 hectares, (463 sq miles/approx 300,000 acres).
As part of World Environment Day on June 5, the President of Brazil, Michel Temer, announced on Twitter: “I have signed two very important decrees for the protection of the environment. One of them creates the wildlife refuge and an environmental protection area of Ararinha Azul [Spix’s macaw] with almost 120 thousand hectares of protected areas, in the municipalities of Juazeiro and Curaçá.”
The Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP) in Germany is currently caring for 120 Spix’s and 32 Lear’s macaws (Anodorhynchus leari), many of which will be moved to the new facility in Brazil and eventually released back into the wild (see News, May 9, 2018).
An ACTP spokesperson said: “This area is some of the historic range of the Spix’s macaw and will greatly improve the chances of protecting the habitat for the reintroduction of Spix’s macaws back into the wild.
“This move by the Brazilian Government to protect the habitat is welcomed by all of us in the Spix’s macaw programme, as we have been lobbying for this action for some time, to secure the habitat for the release of the Spix’s macaw back into the caatinga in Brazil.”
The species’ native habitat, the caatinga, is a semi-desert area that is sensitive to overgrazing and human encroachment. This habitat requires rejuvenation and strict protection if the birds are to survive and thrive there.
The ACTP added: “If we can all continue to move forward in leaps and bounds as we are, it will not be long before we can announce the release of these magnificent blue birds back into the wild caatinga.”
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