Last chance to declare rarest bird in the world

A report published in Cyanopsitta, the newsletter of Loro Parque in June 1996 (Issue 41, Page 7)

Now is the final chance for any holder of Spix's Macaws Cyanopsitta spixii in captivity to declare them to the Brazilian Government for entry into the globally managed population. The rarest bird in the world, the Spix's Macaw, had its population in the wild reduced to a single male by a combination of pressures including habitat loss and removal of birds from the wild for trade. Taking the most pragmatic route forward in the best conservation interests of the species, in 1990 the Brazilian Government formed the Permanent Committee for the Recovery of the Spix's Macaw (CPRAA), and issued a Decree which invited all holders af this species in captivity to enter their birds into a global managed population.

Holders in Brazil, the Philippines, Spain and Switzerland have declared their C. spixii to the globally managed population and have complied with the management recommendations of the Committee, in particular to pair and re-pair individuals to promote breeding and retain genetic diversity, and furthermore to release an adult female in March 1995 to pair with the wild male. Also during the past five and a half years, an intensive programme of protection, habitat restoration, environmental education and community involvement has been operational in northeast Brazil where the last wild male occurs, financed principally by Committee Member, the Loro Parque Fundacion, and overseen by the Brazilian Institute of Environmental and Natural Renewable Resources (IBAMA) of the Ministry of Environment.

Although the globally managed captive population is breeding and increasing, it is still small and would benefit from the addition of more founder individuals. Thus, the Brazilian Government has now issued a further Decree, which permits any holders of undeclared captive Spix's Macaws to enter them into the managed population by the 30th of October 1996. After this date, the Brazilian Government will no longer permit voluntary declaration of any captive Spix's Macaws which remain outside of the globally managed population, and will co-ordinate with the relevant authorities internationally to confiscate any undeclared individuals as and when the opportunity arises.

And the wild male Spix's Macaw? .............still going strong

In mid-June 1996, rumours abounded that the last wild specimen of the Spix's Macaw had disappeared from its normal haunts in northeast Brazil. To scotch these rumours, this is what IBAMA said: "The last wild individual of the Spix's Macaw known to be living free, to the contrary of what was distributed by the press in the last few days, continues to live in its traditional area, in. the Municipality of Curaçá, Bahia.

The Spix's Macaw and Illiger's Macaw Ara maracana pair continue to be seen and monitored daily, as has happened for about five years. The total monitoring area reaches about 12,000 sq. km, and the control is done through a "system of popular monitoring", that involves the direct participation of about 100 families of local cowboys, the "Spix's Cowboys". The co-ordination of this work is being done by the field team of the Spix's Macaw Project, which began its activities in 1991".

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Quotes

 " Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret "

( If you drive out nature with a pitchfork, she will soon find a way back)

Horace (65-8 BC)