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Spix’s macaw—once extinct in the wild—bounces back in Brazil

Spix’s macaw—once extinct in the wild—bounces back in Brazil
Source: Thinglink

Making a remarkable comeback thanks to a concerted international rescue project, Spix’s macaws — with their grey heads and vivid blue plumage — as a flock now soars freely over its old homeland in Brazil after being released there a month ago.

A SPECIES THAT IS actually EXTINCT IN THE WILD

It’s been more than 20 years since the last Spix’s Macaw was seen in wildlife. Illegal trade, hunting, and the destruction of the Spix’s Macaw’s natural habitat by agriculture and other animals have left their mark and led to the disappearance of this rare and iconic species in the wild.

A few years ago, a team of experts and passionate supporters made it their mission to bring the beautiful blue parrot back to Brazil. For this cause, a new population of Spix’s Macaws had to be bred, based on the last remaining birds – a challenge that required lots of experience and patience but ultimately paid off.

The Association for the Conversation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP) and its partners, like AWWP and Pairi Daiza, were able to build a population of 180 healthy and strong Macaws in Berlin. The first 52 of them were brought to the Caatinga. For the first time after 20 years, a Spix’s Macaw spread its blue wings in its natural habitat in Brazil. 

Source: Spixs-macaw.org

Five others followed just thirty minutes later. Some of them have already flown into the wild. This moment was a breathtaking experience for everyone involved!
A dream come true! On June 11, 2022, at 09:03 EST the first Spix’s Macaw left the aviary. Five others followed just thirty minutes later. Some of them have already flown into the wild. This moment was a breathtaking experience for everyone involved! Source: act-parrots.org
They brought them to the macaw wildlife refuge in the northeastern state of Bahia, where a breeding programme was started in 2018 aimed at bringing the blue birds back to Brazillian skies.
The programme gathered as many birds as they could from around the world, including some that were kept in cages by collectors,> They brought them to the macaw wildlife refuge in the northeastern state of Bahia, where a breeding programme was started in 2018 aimed at bringing the blue birds back to Brazillian skies. Source: Facebook/Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots e.V.
Although, losses are natural in the wild and most certainly expected, they are happy to ease the public’s concerns last week with these fantastic pictures.
Recently the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots e.V. have received an increasing number of concerned inquiries about some rumours that there have already been losses within the released group of Spix’s Macaws. Although, losses are natural in the wild and most certainly expected, they are happy to ease the public’s concerns last week with these fantastic pictures. Source: Facebook/ACTPeV
Update from the Caatinga; the Spix’s Macaws are doing well, healthy, and tirelessly exploring their surroundings. Source: Facebook/Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots e.V.
The Macaws are eating more and more natural food. Source: Facebook/Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots e.V.
The observations and monitoring are ongoing; researchers are delighted with the development. Source: Facebook/Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots e.V.
Only in the months of winter, i.e. in the rainy season, does the relatively fertile ecosystem present its flora with green and dense foliage of the trees, tall shrubs and smaller grasses and herbs. During the remaining months of the dry season, the trees and bushes shed their leaves, thereby reducing their evaporation surface and thus saving their stored water. This approximately 800,000 sq km area of Brazil with its flat and stony soil is rich in genetic resources due to its high biodiversity.
The habitat of the Spix’s Macaw is limited to just one single region in the world, the Brazilian Caatinga, a desert-like half-savannah with a semi-arid climate in the northeast of Brazil. Only in the months of winter, i.e. in the rainy season, does the relatively fertile ecosystem present its flora with green and dense foliage of the trees, tall shrubs and smaller grasses and herbs. During the remaining months of the dry season, the trees and bushes shed their leaves, thereby reducing their evaporation surface and thus saving their stored water. This approximately 800,000 sq km area of Brazil with its flat and stony soil is rich in genetic resources due to its high biodiversity. Source: Instagram/ACTP
As farming spread across South America, the parrot’s homeland – in an area of shrubland and thorn forest known as the Caatinga in north-east Brazil – was overgrazed by goats and other livestock. The land was severely eroded, and macaw numbers dropped as their habitat was destroyed.
The Spix’s macaw – named in honour of the German biologist Johann Baptist Ritter von Spix, who first collected a specimen in 1819 – became the victim of a double environmental whammy that began in the 19th century. As farming spread across South America, the parrot’s homeland – in an area of shrubland and thorn forest known as the Caatinga in north-east Brazil – was overgrazed by goats and other livestock. The land was severely eroded, and macaw numbers dropped as their habitat was destroyed. Source: Facebook/Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots e.V.
Germany because this is where an essential basis for this project is being created - the Spix's Macaw offspring! ? Someday, these chicks will eventually fly in the wild of Brazil! The breeding season is in full swing. Up to now, we are happy about 29 healthy Spix's Macaw chicks. You can imagine the hustle and bustle when our biologist Katrin Scholtyssek comes to the baby station several times a day to feed. The oldest Spix's Macaws of this year's breeding season have already moved to the kindergarten and will soon be able to feed themselves independently. Source: Facebook/Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots e.V.
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