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Blue macaw population stages remarkable recovery in Brazil

Blue macaw population stages remarkable recovery in Brazil

Blue macaw population stages remarkable recovery in Brazil
July 18, 2007

One of the world’s rarest parrots has made a remarkable recovery due to conservation efforts, reports the American Bird Conservancy.

The Lear’s Macaw, a striking blue parrot from Bahia state in Brazil, was down to 70 birds in 1987, due to loss of habitat, destruction of nesting sites, hunting, and poaching for the pet trade. But habitat protection has helped the species stage a dramatic turn around: a June 2007 survey by Fundação Biodiversitas at the Canudos Biological Station in Brazil counted 751 individuals.

“This is a remarkable success story — a species on the brink of extinction is now rebounding because its nesting grounds were protected,” said Michael J. Parr, Vice President of American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and co-author of A Guide to the Parrots of the World.

Working with Fundação Biodiversitas, ABC has helped expand Canudos Biological Station to a 3,600 acre nature reserve, the sole protected area for Lear’s Macaw, to ten times its original size.

“The protection of such a vital site for the Lear’s Macaw, through the expansion of the Canudos Biological Station, is a huge step towards the preservation of the species,” said Eduardo Figueiredo, Coordinator of the Biodiversitas Lear’s Macaw Conservation Program. “The growing population confirms how essential it is to protect an endangered species’ habitat.”

While the recovery is promising, the conservation groups say more funds are needed to ensure the survival of the species.

“This spectacular blue macaw is on the road to recovery but still faces several severe threats to its existence in the wild before it can be removed from the AZE list,” added Michael Parr. “To consolidate protection efforts, expand the reserve and secure a bright future for the species, an additional $140,000 is needed to complete the Lear’s Macaw conservation project.”

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