Good and bad news from Brazil

Good and bad news from Brazil

There is some good news and some bad news from Brazil this week. The good news is that a pair of released lear’s macaws have successfully bred in the wild of Bahia. At the end of July 2022 The Lear’s Macaw Release Project fieldwork co-ordinator reported that the released pair from Loro Parque had fledged a young bird. The fledgling has already integrated into the group of released macaws at the feeding area s, apparently with typical fledgling behaviour, calling its parents for food. The nest was in a natural cavity in the historical roosting site of the species in the Raso da Catarina in northern Bahia.

The bad news is that one of the recently released Spix’s macaws had been predated. This was in a sense  to be expected because of the predators present in the area, but regrettable. The report by the Spix’s Macaw Release Centre reads as follows: 

Now it is sad certainty that in addition to a disappearance, we have also registered the loss of a Spix’s Macaw. "We always knew this day would come" says Dr. Cromwell Purchase, ACTP Director Brazil and the Manager of the Spix’s Macaw Release Center in the Caatinga. "Nature will be harsh , and our released birds will be subject to all these natural life and death events. We are nonetheless saddened by the loss of such a special bird. But it doesn’t stop us from pushing forward to boost the population as much as possible in the coming years."

One Spix’s macaw went missing on August 25, 2022. After eight days it was relocated via radio-telemetry some distance away and sighted flying and foraging with a flock of native parrots before its signal was once again lost. Another one also, for unknown reasons left the release area on September 6, 2022. Sadly however the next day this solitary macaw fell prey to an avian predator a few kilometers from the release site. 

Re-introductions are extremely challenging for any species, sepecially for one that was previously extinct in the wild. Although losses may inevitably occur, careful and meticulous planning and execution can help to greatly reduce or limit such. Indeed, losses themselves also present opportunities for continued learning and assessment of techniques and strategies. 

Dr. Cromwell Purchase explains:"What our results to date tell us is that the macaws are successfully adapting to the wild, the radio-tracking devices are working as designed and our overall strategy has thus far proven sound and effective. The released macaws are gradually becoming independent; most remain together as a flock, and all are becoming increasingly adept at obtaining resources".   

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