Spix’s macaw Cyanopsitta spixii transfer

A press release by Al-Wabra Wildlife Conservation in October 2005

The Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation has maintained a population of Spix's macaws in Switzerland since February 04. We have kept the birds in a modernized and rented facilities ever since.

It was always a part of our strategy not to keep all the birds in one location, and we were attempting to have a minimum impact on the birds in Switzerland by keeping them in their current location. 

After discovering that there was an old health problem within the Swiss population; including the PDD issue, that was also identified in the former Philippine population and experiencing ongoing problems with egg fertility and embryonic mortality, we decided to relocate them to another location that would be better equipped to deal with these issues and where we would have the facilities to isolate the birds from each other if needed.

Additional to this we found the location in Switzerland logistically challenging, being relative difficult to reach, an obvious language barrier and we had ongoing problems in organizing qualified staff and staff replacement to stay in the location for longer periods. 

As a result we have been negotiating possibilities to move the birds to England with different institutions. It was important to us to have a reliable partner in the new location to ensure a permanent back up of experienced staff and veterinarians in the case of problems.

However we recently experienced an attempted theft of the birds in Switzerland that appeared to have been well planned. As a result we increased the security, including armed guards, to discourage any further attempts.

However we still did not consider the situation there safe not least based on the fact that the house next to the facility was recently sold and we anticipate problems with the new land lord. 

As the plans to move the birds to the UK were progressing slowly and winter fast approaching, we felt it necessary to seek an alternative solution quickly and decided to transfer the birds to Qatar for the time being where they are being held in a quarantine facility separated from the all other birds. 

Future plans have to be re-evaluated and new strategies developed. It is still our goal to establish a population outside Qatar as soon as possible. However at this point we are not certain if we still wish to proceed with plans to move birds to the UK or create a suitable second population in another location.

The birds were moved over the process of two days and the last two arrived in Qatar on September 25th. All the birds managed the transfer well and have now settled into their new surroundings.

For safety reasons we decided not to inform any persons, not directly involved in the process, in advance of this transfer and kept strict secrecy about our plans until the birds were safely in Qatar.

We do appreciate any concern for the Spix's macaw and must stress that the decision to move the birds to Qatar was not an easy one, but under the circumstances we believe it is the best for the future of the birds. We will keep the web-site updated about the future and our new plans and strategies as they develop.


Latest News

  • Tuesday 9th July 2024

    There is a short interesting article in the July 2024 issue of the German magazine "Papageien" about the setting up of a nature conservation centre for Spix’s Macaws  in the São Paulo zoo. Under the guidance of biologist Fernanda ... Read More »


 " 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)