Above: Multiple shipments were made to secure the birds and the population. Important birds were spread out over the shipments. Photo: AWWP


AN INTERNATIONAL CONSERVATION group based in Qatar has sent its important bird species out of the country due to its unstable political climate.

Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP) – which is best known for its conservation efforts with its flagship species, the Critically Endangered Spix’s macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) – has been working with other wildlife organisations since its inception 20 years ago when it was set up by the late Sheikh Saoud. In 2013, Cage & Aviary Birds reported on AWWP’s success in the first-ever artificial insemination of Spix’s, which resulted in two eggs hatching (News, June 5, 2013).

Now, AWWP has decided to transport all of its Spix’s and Lear’s macaws (Anodorhynchus leari) to the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP) facility in Germany. The 120 Spix’s and 32 Lear’s macaws will be housed in the ACTP’s state-of-the-art facilities until new premises are built for them in Brazil, which are expected to be ready before the end of the year.

Once the premises are finished, plans will be put in place to move a large number of the birds to the Brazil facility. The only remaining birds at AWWP are the Spix’s chicks from this year, which are currently being hand-reared. These will be sent to the ACTP when ready.

A spokesperson for the ACTP said: “Due to the political situation in Qatar the family of the Sheikh has decided to send all blue macaws over to ACTP and combine both populations in Germany. ACTP is honoured and thankful to have been chosen as the trusted partner to receive the blue macaws and continue with this incredible project.”

Dr Cromwell Purchase, AWWP’s coordinator for the Spix’s macaw and his assistant Donovan De Boer will follow the birds and join the ACTP team in Germany. A AWWP statement on its Facebook page read: “Al Wabra’s owners have grave concerns with the current and prolonged blockade on Qatar by its unscrupulous neighbours, with threats that bring this region into serious political turmoil. It was a mammoth tasking putting all the transfers together for 120 Spix’s macaws, but we are happy to say it was a successful move with no injuries or losses.”

AWWP will be retaining ownership of the birds and will continue to play an active decision-making role in the project.

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