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Spix's macaw

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Post by ziggy Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:40 pm


December 1, 2000, Brasilia - The Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Natural Renewable Resources (IBAMA) has informed the conservation community that the last known wild Spix's Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) has disappeared. The Spix's Macaw (also known as the Little Blue Macaw) is considered one of the world's most endangered species. Until its disappearance, only one remaining male was known to exist in the wild - only in one small arid region of savanna scrubland in Northeastern Brazil known as the "caatinga". It is estimated that the last Spix's Macaw is approximately 19 years of age, so there is great fear that he might have succumbed to a predator or died of an age related illness. He had been observed avoiding hawks in the past year. It is not known how long this species lives in the wild. But, if its disappearance is confirmed, the Spix's Macaw will once again be considered extinct in the wild.

This individual specimen has contributed much to what is known about this species in nature. The re-discovery of this last bird in 1990 gave researchers a second chance to study this species, as until then, little was known about the Spix's Macaw in the wild. Also at that time, the Brazilian wildlife authorities of IBAMA formed the Permanent Committee for the Recovery of the Spix's Macaw. The Committee is a diverse group comprised of government officials, ornithologists, zoo specialists, as well as national and international holders of birds in captivity. The mission of this Committee was to save this species from extinction and co-ordinating the field and the captive breeding program.

The Ararinha Azul Project (Little Blue Macaw Project) was established by this Committee to develop the field conservation effort. Researchers of the project have been monitoring this bird for the last ten years, studying its natural history and working with the local community in conservation. They last reported seeing the bird (which is a male) 56 days ago. On a positive note, it appears that there might have been a sighting of this magnificent blue bird less than a month ago by a local farmer. As this is the dry season, there is a possibility that he might have moved to another area in search of food. Therefore, IBAMA and researchers of the project are mounting an intensive search of the region. Three teams made up of researchers and local woodsmen known as "mateiros" will search the area for information and sightings of this last bird.

The last Spix's macaw had come to symbolize the region and the people of this area. The conservation program has developed into a model of community conservation in this economically distressed region, incorporating local needs with the conservation effort. Projects supported by the Committee have included the building of rural schoolhouses, a management extension courses, and even the restoration of a century old theater. Because of this positive community support, it is believed that if the last wild bird disappeared, it is due to natural biological causes and not to trappers.

With only a single bird in the wild, the recovery of the Spix's Macaw has always depended on the success or failure of the captive breeding program. Through collaboration between the participants throughout the world, the population has steadily increased to sixty birds (fifty-four are captive-hatched). The program is administered as a single global population with five breeding facilities throughout the world.

The information that the field researchers gathered by studying the last wild bird will be critical to eventually reintroducing captive-bred birds to the area. Therefore, even if the last wild bird is lost, he will have provided much information and insight into how this species survives. This knowledge should help researchers eventually establish a new wild population. With the support from the captive-breeding program, a re-introduction effort is planned for the near future. There is still hope that the bird known as the Spix's (Little Blue) macaw will once again fly in the wild "caatinga" habitat of Brazil.

Website news item - Last Spix's Macaw in the wild disappears

Sadly it appears that the last known Spix's macaw in the wild has disappeared. The field team has been trying to track him down for nearly eight weeks, but as there have been severe drought conditions in the area it was believed he might have migrated further afield - he has disappeared before in similar weather conditions, but has usually turned up sooner than on the present occasion. It is now feared that he may have suffered a calamity. The team will continue to search until just before Christmas when the situation will be re-assessed. I shall publish more news soon. The following report translated by the website editor appears in the latest issue (November 2000) of Papageien.

Captive-bred Spix's Macaws to be released into the wild

There are some new developments in the conservation programme for the seriously endangered Spix's Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii), which has been sponsored by Loro Parque in Tenerife with well over DM 1 million ($600,000). After the first attempt to release a wild-caught Spix's macaw failed after a few weeks several years ago, a new attempt will be made to release Spix's macaws into the wild. Antonio de Dios, the macaw breeder from the Philippines has announced that five young bred by him will be made available for release purposes. These young macaws will be held initially in the large flight erected in the habitat area for the first attempt to enable them to acclimatise, become used to natural food and get fit for sustained flight. It is not known at present how long this period will last. It is to be hoped that the last known remaining macaw in the wild will make contact with the young birds during this acclimatisation period. It will have to take over a "mentor" role for the captive-bred young to pass on "behaviour traditions" developed over many generations.

Spix's macaw Spixmacaw-1

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Post by Joe Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:28 pm

Many birds found in the Amazon are northern or southern migrants, wintering in or passing though the rainforest at certain times of the year.
Macaws are famous for gathering by the hundreds, even thousands, along the clay cliffs of the Amazon river where they feed on minerals which help the birds process toxins found in the seeds they eat.
The world's rarest bird is Spix's macaw, a beautiful bird with a dark blue head, a blue body, and a greenish belly with a black mask and bright yellow eye. It has always been rare, limited to palm groves and river edges in small area near the center of Brazil, but recent deforestation, importation of Africanized bees-which took their tree hollows, and over collection for the hobbyists caused this species' demise. In 1987 only four birds remained in the wild.

Spix's macaw Images

Last edited by nevjoe on Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:50 pm; edited 1 time in total

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