Above: The last known wild Spix’s macaw disappeared in October 2000 and, to this day, it is not known whether he died or was captured by humans. Photo: ACTP

 

GLOBAL CONSERVATIONISTS AND the Brazilian Government have joined forces to help save a rare parrot by committing to reintroduce captive-bred birds into the wild.

On June 7, representatives from the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP), Pairi Daiza Foundation and Parrots International met with members of the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment (MMA) and Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade (ICMBio).

In a special ceremony, they signed a contract that guarantees the return of the Spix’s macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) to the Brazilian Caatinga as part of the Spix’s Macaw De-Extinction Project.

In 2000, the Spix’s macaw was classified on the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered possibly Extinct in Nature. There are currently only 166 Spix’s macaws in captivity around the world: 13 in Brazil; 147 in Germany; two in Belgium; and four in Singapore.

The first group of 50 Spix’s will arrive in Brazil from Germany at the end of this year. The macaws will be taken to the Ararinha-Azul Wildlife Refuge in Curaçá, Bahia, a special conservation unit that was built last year. The site was chosen as it is a historical habitat of the species.

Following a settling-in period in the nursery, during which time the birds will be in the custody of the ACTP, they will then be released into the wild. “It’s a huge responsibility,” said Martin Guth, president of ACTP.

Environmental analyst Camile Lugarini of the ICMBio said that the reintroduction will be a cautious process. The first releases will be made together with blue-winged macaws (Primolius maracana), which share similar habits similar to Spix’s.

MMA executive secretary Ana Maria Pellini added that “we have men who destroy and men who build. And today we are building here, replacing the macaws in nature.”

 

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