News from Brazil and elsewhere!!

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Please note: after changing the hosting arrangements I experienced problems in posting news here, which allows you to jump down to the news item from the headline. In the last few years I have therefore posted news items on the What's New page. 

Headlines

(Website editor: Articles and reports in the media about the Sissen case can be read by clicking here)

* "Can Germany contribute to the conservation of  the Spix's Macaw". A public statement by the Bundesamt für Naturschutz (Federal Department for Nature Conservation, Bonn). Published in Papageien February 2006. 

* "Spix’s Macaw “Christmas present” hatches in Loro Parque, Tenerife". Press release from Loro Parque Fundación, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Spain from January 30, 2006.
* "Spix’s macaw Cyanopsitta spixii transfer" A press release from Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation - October 2005

* Report on the current situation of the Spix Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) population in the care of Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP), State of Qatar." A press release from Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation 12th July 2004 owned by Sheikh Saoud Bin Mohd. Bin Ali Al-Thani
* "Loro Parque Fundación jumps for joy: Spix's Macaw hatched " A press release from Loro Parque June 2004
* " Hyacinthine Macaws seriously threatened outside the Pantanal." A report on the Ambientebrasil website dated 11th May 2004
* Extract from Project Update referring to Spix's Macaw and Lear's Macaw published in Cyanopsitta, December 2003 (No. 71)
* "I spy my macaw". A letter on the USA Spix's macaw published in Cage & Aviary Birds, week ending 22nd March 2003.
* "Website report on the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the trade in Brazilian flora and fauna set up by the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies
* "Almost extinct parrot gets new recruit". A press release by Loro Parque Fundación issued on 23rd December 2002.
*Statement from the Spix`s Macaw Workshop, Fortaleza, Brazil, 1-2 November 2002
* "Spix's Macaw found in the USA returns to São Paulo". A report in the 23rd December 2002 issue of O Estado de São Paulo, an important Brazilian daily newspaper.
* "A newly discovered Spix's Macaw will be returned to Brazil". A report in the 7th October 2002 issue of O Estado de São Paulo, an important Brazilian daily newspaper, forwarded by Pedro Salviano Filho, publisher of Atualidades ornitologicas on 9th October 2002.
* "Show of hands at convention 6 to 1 in favour of vesting ownership of world's Spix's Macaws in Brazilian authorities". A website report on the vote at the 5th International Parrot Convention at Loro Parque
* "Rarest bird in world goes home". A press release issued by Loro Parque Fundación on 24th September 2002
* "IBAMA dissolves the Spix's Macaw recovery committee". A report in the September 2002 issue of Cyanopsitta, the quarterly newsletter of the Loro Parque Fundación (No. 66, Pages 18-19).
* "IBAMA dissolves Committee for the Recovery of the Spix's Macaw". A report taken from the IBAMA website during the week ending 19th July 2002.
* Extract from Foundation News (Page 8) in the March 2002 (No. 64) issue of Cyanopsitta, the newsletter of the Loro Parque Fundación
"Lear's Macaw population increase". A report in World Birdwatch, the journal of Birdlife International in February 2002.
* Brazil's president visits blue macaws project in the Pantanal (August 2001).
* CITES Notification No. 2001/052 to the Parties (on trade in the Spix's Macaw) issued in Geneva on 10th August 2001.
* "Saga of Spix's Macaw". A report by Ian Hinze in the October 2001 issue of BBC Wildlife Vol. 19, No. 10 (Pages 42-3)
* Projeto Arara Azul receives generous gift of two new vehicles from Toyota in Brazil. A website report dated 12th June 2001.
* "Increase in Lear's Macaw population".Extract regarding the recent census of the Lear's Macaw in the wild from a report on Brazilian wildlife published in O Estadao de São Paulo on 7th June 2001.
* The Spix's Macaw Recovery Committee will be restructured - A report in Issue 60 (March 2001) of Cyanopsitta, the newsletter of the Loro Parque Foundation
Clique aqui por o texto portugues (com permissío de Atualidades Ornitológicas
Clique aqui por la versión espagñol.
Klicken Sie hier für die deutsche Version
* Extract of interview relating to the Spix's Macaw project with Wolfgang Kiessling in the April 2001 issue of the German avicultural magazine Gefiederte Welt
* Brazilian newspaper reports confiscation of 40 Hyacinthine macaws in state of São Paulo.
* Website news item on 22.3.2001. Lear's Macaws repatriated from Singapore to Brazil.
* Website news item on 18.1.2001. Spix's Macaw to be declared extinct in the wild.
* "World's loneliest bird is missing, feared dead" A report by Michael McCarthy, Environment Correspondent in The Independent, a British daily national broadsheet newspaper, on 27th December 2000.
* Website news item - Still no news of the missing Spix's Macaw in the wild.
* Projeto Arara Azul celebrates 10 years active successful conservation.
* Unconfirmed sighting of Spix's Macaw
* Statement by IBAMA on Spix's Macaw situation issued 1. December 2000.
* Website news item - Last Spix's Macaw in the wild disappears
* Report in Papageien on release of captive bred Spix's Macaws.
* Report in Singaporean Strait Times on jailing of Lear's Macaw smuggler.
* Two Spix's macaw bred by Mauricio Santos in Recife, Brazil.
* "All in the family". A report by the Brazilian conservation organisation Renctas on the arrest of the brother of the convicted smuggler "Carlinhos" after he was caught with over 150 illegal animals, including 3 wild-caught Lear's Macaws
* Loro Parque has invested nearly $600,000 in Spix's macaw recovery project
* New base inaugurated on 8th November 1998
* Report on meeting in London on 10.11.98 of British businessmen with H.E The Ambassador of Paraguay on Hidrovia
* Press report in London Evening Standard on 28.10.98 about Hidrovia
* press release from IBAMA on Lear's Macaw
* False rumours about Spix's Macaw
* Neiva reports good breeding season 1997-8 in the Pantanal
* Project acquires home base
* Neiva gets married
* Young macaw learns to fly
* Rancher in Rodônia found with 7 Lear's Macaws

" Can Germany contribute to the conservation of the Spix’s Macaw?" By the Federal Department for Nature Conservation, Bonn.       Published in Papageien magazine, issue 2/2006 and translated by the website editor.

 When in July 2005 a private individual applied for an import permit for Spix’s Macaws (Cyanopsitta spixii) – an adult pair and a young bird – from the Bundesamt für Naturschutz (Federal Department for Nature Conservation), it was met at first with some amazement and it seemed doubtful if the import of these birds could be permitted.

However the applicant was able to prove that he had no commercial interest in the importation. He stated his intention to co-operate with the Brazilian wildlife authority (IBAMA) in a breeding endeavour. In addition he stated that he intended to make the young macaw – a male hatched in 2004 - available on loan within the official breeding project. The application was supported by documentation proving the legality of the adult pair. These macaws were noted in the breeding register of IBAMA and had been legalised by their inclusion of the official breeding project managed by IBAMA. The proposed premises to accommodate the macaws detailed in the application had already been inspected by the local authority concerned. A comprehensive report on the inspection had been submitted by that local authority to the Federal Department for Nature Conservation with a recommendation that the importation be permitted.

According to a Notification by the CITES Secretariat in Switzerland issued in 2001 all CITES authorities worldwide are required to consult with IBAMA before granting permission to the movement of Spix’s Macaws. Therefore the Federal Department for Nature Conservation as the relevant authority in Germany contacted the CITES Secretariat and the Swiss CITES authority immediately. After examining the documentation for an export permit submitted in Switzerland for the three macaws it was allocated an origin code “C”. This meant that under international law the macaws met the requirements of the CITES breeding resolution. All the macaws were close rung and the adults were additionally micro-chipped.

In view of the extraordinary situation that the Spix’s Macaw is extinct in the wild, but listed in Appendix 1 of the Washington Convention for the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), all those involved were aware of the attention granting permission would arouse among international and national scientific and conservation circles. Therefore the application was very carefully considered in every aspect including the signal that such a transfer would give from a conservation political standpoint.

 The opportunity to assist in the survival of the species in captivity and keeping the option open of introduction into the wild in the future by actively supporting a breeding project was assessed under the aspect “ Other considerations of conservation” and was given considerable weight in arriving at a decision.

 At the same time it was also the firm intention of the Federal Department for Nature Conservation and the declared intention of the importer to exclude the macaws and any offspring from the possibility of commercial transaction of any type. Comprehensive conditions were formulated by the Federal Department to ensure this with restrictions on the import permit and additional undertakings by the importer.

 In accordance with the CITES notification mentioned above the CITES authorities in Germany had informed IBAMA of the application to import Spix’s macaws and the conditions and requirements imposed for a possible permit. IBAMA had then agreed to the transfer of the macaws to Germany.

 The permit was then finally granted subject to the following:

 The macaws may only be imported and held for non-commercial purposes as part of a breeding programme for the conservation of the species Cyanopsitta spixi .

They may only be transferred with the agreement of the Federal Department for Nature Conservation. To this end the location of the premises for accommodating the imported macaws was fixed. Exemption from sale prohibition and commercial exhibiting of the birds were not granted. The importer is required to register the imported macaws and any offspring in the future with the Federal Department for Nature Conservation and IBAMA as CITES authority for Brazil. The importer is furthermore required to co-operate with the breeding programme managed by IBAMA. Any specimens of Cyanopsitta spixii bred as a result in captivity may only be held for non-commercial purposes and transferred with the permission of the Federal Department for Nature Conservation. These birds may only be available for the conservation programme for Cyanopsitta spixii managed by IBAMA, e.g as part of breeding co-operation or introduction to the wild. No exemption from sale prohibition would be issued for any macaws bred in captivity. The Federal Department for Nature Conservation reserves the right to impose further restrictions, amend or add to existing conditions with the objective to ensure that the imported macaws and any offspring remain available for the breeding programme for the conservation of the species Cyanopsitta spixii. After importation the attached conditions will set out the further use and legal basis for possession of the imported birds and any offspring.

 What happened after the importation?

 In accordance with the conditions imposed the importer made contact with IBAMA immediately after the transfer of the macaws to Germany, introduced himself as a holder of Spix’s macaws and expressed his desire for co-operation. IBAMA then invited him and other registered holders to a meeting in Brasilia to discuss aspects of further co-operation. The Federal Department for Nature Conservation was also invited to this meeting. Germany was thanked for its adherence to the CITES Notification issued in 2001 through the Federal Department and the restrictive conditions for the import permit welcomed. The Federal Department in turn agreed to prior consultation with IBAMA on any possible future transactions.

 The discussions were very open. A wide-ranging co-operation in the diagnosis and precautions in dealing with Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD) as well as an updating of the breeding register and genetic testing of individual birds was agreed. The breeding pool available to IBAMA consists of just a few birds, so that the offer to make the young male bred in 2004 available to the breeding project met with great interest. The technical preparations and veterinarian testing for transferring the young male to the breeding project are already underway and the draft of an appropriate loan agreement is being considered by the relevant positions in Brazil for legal assessment and approval. All those involved hope that the young male will be transferred into the breeding project in the presence of a Brazilian government representative early in 2006 and that the adult pair remaining in Germany will have further reproductive success.

The participants at the 9th annual meeting for the “Fonds für bedrohte Papageien” (Funds for Endangered Parrots) held on 29th October 2005 in Cologne were informed about the successful transfer and information also appeared in the November and December issues of Papageien magazine. As a result the Federal Department for Nature Conservation received a number of queries and also enquiries from interested breeders. This article is intended to provide transparency for this unusual importation case and information on the circumstances surrounding the permit as well as the conditions relating to its granting.  

 

End           

 

"Press release from Loro Parque Fundación, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Spain from January 30, 2006.

Spix’s Macaw “Christmas present” hatches in Loro Parque, Tenerife

The little Spix’s Macaw (/Cyanopsitta spixii/) chick very slowly opens its eyes, on its 14th living day after hatching from the egg, and begins to learn and discover things around it. Its mother, the 14 year old Spix’s Macaw female of the Loro Parque Fundación surprisingly laid one single egg on December 25, 2005
, completely outside of the normal breeding season. Truly this was an unexpected Christmas present, from the world’s rarest parrot species, which is extinct in the wild since October 2000 in its home country of Brazil and can only be saved by means of a captive breeding programme. This egg comes from the only active breeding pair at present found in a zoological garden.

 From day one the female was incubating well and after one week it was possible to determine that the egg was fertile. However, for the security reasons associated with such an endangered species, the egg was transferred after 10 days to an incubator for further incubation. Here the chick hatched after 24 days of incubation on January 17 around 8.00 p.m, supervised by the two biologists in charge. The little pink chick covered with white down, and called “Bonita”, weighed only 13.5 g. However, from the beginning its appetite was huge, and every two hours around the clock, including during the night, the little bird requires a specially prepared pulp.

The Curator of Loro Parque, Matthias Reinschmidt, was happy to take over this task, and now the little Spix’s Macaw chick is two weeks old and has already increased its hatch weight five times to 70 g.

The chances for optimal development of this nestling are good and the staff of the Loro Parque Fundación are optimistic that another Spix’s Macaw will grow to be an adult which contributes to the conservation of its species. Currently in the official breeding programme of the Brazilian Government there are only twelve living birds, including this chick found worldwide, five birds in Sao Paulo Zoo, Brazil, five birds in the Loro Parque Fundación, Tenerife,), and another pair at a private centre in Brazil. Of these, the only breeding pair is kept in the Loro Parque Fundación. After the two Spix’s Macaws which hatched in 2004, this chick represents the third success of this pair. There are about another 80 living Spix’s Macaws in captivity, which it is hoped can be incorporated into the breeding programme.

The recent breeding success in Tenerife forms an excellent basis to work together with the only German private breeder who keeps this species. In
the near future it is planned that this breeder will lend to the Brazilian Government a young male, which will be kept in the breeding centre of the Loro Parque Fundación so that further pairs can be established there. With such a small population it is absolutely essential to pair unrelated birds in order to maintain the genetic diversity. The breeding agreement is another important step within the international breeding programme for the conservation of this parrot extinct in the wild. The aim of this project is to manage the population of Spix’s Macaws in captivity so as to conserve the species and
reintroduce it to its original habitat, the so-called caatinga of north-east Brazil."

End

 

"Spix’s macaw Cyanopsitta spixii transfer" A press release from Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation
(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.
 

END of Press release


Report on the current situation of the Spix Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) population in the care of Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP), State of Qatar." A press release from Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation 12th July 2004 owned by Sheikh Saoud Bin Mohd. Bin Ali Al-Thani

The year 2003 has been incisive for the future breeding-management of the rare Spix macaw in human care. AWWP/State of Qatar and the two private owned facilities of Mr. Antonio de Dios / Philippines and Mr. Roland Messer / Switzerland, have expanded their existing breeding-cooperation-contracts, which lead to a change in ownership of the birds to AWWP. Thereby uniting the two largest populations that have been isolated for a long time. A step of decisive importance for the future management of this species. AWWP, a private breeding centre for highly endangered species, is situated in the Desert-emirate of Qatar. It is owned by Sheikh Saoud Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Thani and not open to the public.

Because of a lack of veterinary-police security on the part of the Philippine government in view of recent poultry disease outbreaks, Mr. De Dios decided to handover his complete Spix Macaw population to the ownership of AWWP. With the support of the responsible CITES authorities and under the highest safety precautions, as well as permanent veterinary supervision the animals have been moved in four transports from Manila to Doha.

During the 6-week quarantine period, international parrot experts carried out an extensive health check of the birds.

The negotiations with Mr. Messer in Switzerland were finished, while the first "Filipino" Spix Macaws arrived on Qatari ground. Except for one pair, Mr. Messer's animals also passed into the possession of AWWP.

Both for breeding reasons and also in view of the bio-security, AWWP decided not to transfer the 'Swiss" Spix Macaws to Qatar. At the moment they are looked after in a special established AWWP branch in Switzerland by AWWP staff. Meanwhile AWWP can list its first offspring: On the 15.06.04, as well as on the 25.06.04 a Spix Macaw chick hatched. The chicks are in hand rearing and are in best health. Furthermore at the moment there is another fertile egg in the incubator. As the breeding season hasn't finished yet, there can be counted on more offspring. At present there are 42 Spix Macaws in the possession of AWWP / Sheikh Saoud Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Thani.

An extensive publication about the Spix Macaws' population managed by AWWP will follow in due course.

Dr. med. vet. Sven Hammer, Director of Wildlife and Veterinary Service, 12.07.04
(Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation, P.O. Box 44069, Doha, State of Qatar,
www.alwabra.com/awwp

"Loro Parque Fundación jumps for joy: Spix's Macaw hatched " A press release from Loro Parque June 2004

For several years the Loro Parque Fundación of Tenerife, Spain has maintained a pair of Spix's Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) in its conservation breeding centre. This is the most important species in the centre which otherwise, with approximately 350 different parrot species and sub-species, is the most diverse parrot collection in the world. Native to north-eastern Brazil, the Spix's Macaw became extinct in the wild in 2000, and the pair was provided for breeding reasons to the Loro Parque Fundación by the Brazilian government. However, for years the birds did not have any success in breeding, and a general examination carried out by the veterinarians of Loro Parque showed that the male was up to 95% infertile.

For this reason, the director of Loro Parque's animal clinic, Dr. Lorenzo Crosta, travelled at the end of November 2003 to Sao Paulo Zoo in Brazil in order to examine precisely three males which were considered for exchange. He took with him to Brazil the supposed infertile male, with the possibility that the infertility could reverse in different surroundings.. On the basis of an endoscopy, Lorenzo Crosta decided in favour of an eight-year old Spix's Macaw male, which he brought back to Tenerife at the beginning of December 2003.

The new male spent some time in quarantine and on January 8, 2004 he was brought together with the available Spix's Macaw female in a big new flight aviary. After very little time the birds paired together and soon showed significant indications of pair-bonding. From the middle of March both examined in detail the different nesting possibilities installed in the aviary. As all nest boxes, as well as the whole aviary are equipped with infrared cameras, all activities of these birds can be monitored perfectly from a secure distance without disturbing the pair.

As this pair completed the stage of finding a nest, it decided on one nest box and inhabited only this one, the other boxes being completely ignored. For about three weeks the pair was working away on the wooden litter of the nest box, and gnawing on the added pieces of wood until it was finally finished. On Tuesday, May 11 between 6 pm and 7 pm, under the gaze of the camera, the most important egg of the year was laid. It is remarkable how fast the birds of this pair adapted to each other, having only been together since January 8.

As they were inexperienced birds concerning breeding, a reliable pair of Chestnut-Fronted Macaw (Ara severa) were first put in charge of both eggs. These birds were exemplary in incubating the clutch. Two eggs of a different species were given to the Spix's Macaw pair so that they could incubate for some more days. Then after 10 days these eggs were removed in order to stimulate a following clutch from the Spix's Macaws which will remain with this pair.

In total two eggs were laid and, while the second egg turned out to be fertile, the first egg was unfortunately infertile. With excitement the entire Loro Parque Fundación team was waiting for the grand day of hatching. Finally on June 9, this great event happened. During a nest control the newly hatched Spix's Macaw chick was discovered in the nest of the adoptive parents with a weight of 12,5 g and a perfect appearance. Although the nest was controlled daily in the morning, for safety reasons the chick was removed and raised by hand from the fourth day. Even though the chick was fed, it was insufficiently warmed and therefore too cool. On the fourth day the chick weighed 15,4 g. This young Spix's Macaw being raised by hand is now growing magnificently and already weighs 64 g on its 13th living day. The voice begging for food during feeding is getting stronger and the indications are for a proper development. Within the coming days a chick of Illiger's Macaw (Propyrrhura maracana) will join the young Spix's Macaw in order to eliminate the risk of a false imprinting in relation to humans.

This apparent first breeding success after many years is, within the official breeding programme, an important step towards the conservation of this parrot species, which is eventually intended to be reintroduced back into its native habitat. Only nine adult Spix's Macaw are actually kept in zoos worldwide. One pair is at Loro Parque on Tenerife and seven other birds are in the zoo of Sao Paulo in Brazil. At the moment the pair in Loro Parque is the only currently breeding pair in the conservation breeding programme. We hope that further breeding success will follow in the near future.

Matthias Reinschmidt, Curator, Loro Parque, Tenerife

" Hyacinthine Macaws seriously threatened outside the Pantanal." A report on the Ambientebrasil website dated 11th May 2004. Translated from the original Portuguese by the website editor

While the population of Hyacinthine Macaws in the Pantanal has practically doubled in the last decade (thanks to the work of the Projeto Arara Azul), the birds of the same species distributed between the north of the state of Mato Grosso, central southern Pará and even Maranhão, Piauí, Tocantins and the north-east of Bahia are more and more threatened. A survey carried out by a team of scientists including Carlos Bianchi, Pedro Scherer-Neto and Yara Barros sponsored by IBAMA, and the Pharmacist Foundation for the Protection of Nature indicates a significant decline in the population of Hyacinthine Macaws. In regions such as Gerais they estimated there are less than 1,000 birds. There are no recent estimates for the Amazon region.

IBAMA should complete an action plan to try to save the wild populations of Hyacinthine Macaws by the end of the first half of this year and direct the management of in captivity of individuals of species threatened with extinction. The document was ordered by the specialists on a committee set up last year by IBAMA with the objective of establishing aims for the conservation of the species.

The main cause for the gradual disappearance of the species (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) is loss of habitat in the areas concerned. In other words, the cultivation of soya, creation of pasture land and logging are all destroying the forest and the palms which provide food for the macaws. The macaws are considered as specialists as far as food is concerned and have difficulty in foraging for other sources. In each region where they occur the birds specialize in feeding on a maximum of two to three palm species. The fewer palms, the fewer macaws.

According to Carlos Bianchi, the biologist in the team investigating the situation of the macaws, information is lacking to support the establishing of a consistent programme for the conservation of the blue macaws. He says "The information needs to be brought up to date. The most recent data, which we have in relation to the birds living near the tracks crossing the scrublands of the Amazon area, is from the end of the 1980s".

End of report

* Extract from Project Update referring to Spix's Macaw and Lear's Macaw published in Cyanopsitta, December 2003 (No. 71)

As a result of recommendations arising from the meeting in November 2002 of the new Working Group for the Spix's Macaw Recovery, there have been various activities through the course of this year. The LPF has maintained regular contact with the Brazilian Government Agency, IBAMA, not least to ensure the effective exchange of its existing male for a younger male held at São Paulo Zoo. It is hoped that this re-pairing will result in fertile eggs, the female having recently produced only infertile eggs. Regarding the intended construction of a breeding centre and quarantine facilities for A. leari and C.spixii at Praia do Forte in Bahia, there were several advances. IBAMA sent out a draft Captive Management Plan prepared for A. leari to the members of the Working Group for C. spixii and the LPF was able to comment. As a result, IBAMA invited the LPF to attend the annual meeting of the Lear's Macaw Recovery Committee, Christopher Kiessling presented an alternative breeding centre design. This was based on the design recommended in the new Spix's Macaw Action Plan, which has been produced by Yves de Soye for the LPF, in collaboration with IBAMA. Construction of the quarantine in Brazil has already commenced, but further funding is required for the breeding centre. To this end, the LPF Advisory Board, at its meeting in October, recommended substantial funding, and the LPF' has made a formal offer to IBAMA of 100,000 euros in financial assistance. Additional to the breeding centre, IBAMA had indicated that it will negotiate the purchase of Concordia Farm, which the last wild Spix's Macaw used to frequent. The LPF will be interested to assist the protection of suitable habitat, and will investigate land purchase at a later stage. In the Spix's Macaw population outside of Brazilian Government involvement, four birds were reported as transferred from the Roland Messer aviaries in Switzerland to the Al Wabra Wildlife Centre in Qatar. With one subsequent mortality, this brings to seven the total for this species at Al Wabra.

End of extract

* "I spy my macaw". A letter on the USA Spix's Macaw published in Cage & Aviary Birds, week ending 22nd March 2003.

I was extremely interested in your report of the rare Spix's Macaw being located in Colorado (January 11, 2003)

In the mid-70s I exported a young pair of Spix's Macaws to Colorado and I would be certain that this bird is one of that pair.

I am greatly surprised that this bird has been a household "pet" for almost 20 years.

The people I sold the pair to were well aware of the rarity and value of this species, so much so that the whole family came to England and resided in Leicester for the required 90 days which allowed these birds to be carried to the US.

I am pleased this bird has been rescued at long last and has now been returned to Brazil where it belongs.

I think it would be about 28 years old and I hope it will eventually make a genetic contribution to the breeding of these very special birds.

I wish the project well.

Gordon Cook, Leicestershire

* Website report on the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the trade in Brazilian flora and fauna set up by the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies

Last week several agency news reports appeared on the findings of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry set up by the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies - equivalent to Congress in the USA or the House of Commons in the UK - into the annual multi-billion dollar trade in Brazilian flora and fauna, which I summarise below. The Portuguese texts can be accessed by clicking here.

The first agency news report issued on 25th January 2003 said that the Commission, which was set up last November (2002) and chaired by Deputy Luis Ribeiro (constituency in Rio de Janieiro), had held several plenary sessions, including one in Bahia to interview witnesses and gather evidence. There 16 persons were interviewed including a former trafficker, Joselito dos Santos, who has been involved in the illegal trade with animals since 1990, as well as representatives of NGOs. Dos Santos named a Mexican, Juan Carlos, as being one of the main traders in the region. Evidence was also heard in the Bahian city of Eunapolis, which indicated the involvement of local IBAMA officials in the illegal timber trade.

The Chairman of the PCI said that the trade in Brazilian flora and fauna was valued at some $ US 3 billion annually. The Deputy acting as secretary for the Commission, Sarney Fihlo, confirmed that the final report would contain a chart of the trafficking in plants and animals as well as information on the routes, turnover and names of those involved.

On 20th January 2003 the Deputy acting as assistant secretary, Asdrubal Bentes, submitted a preliminary report to the Commission. He criticised severely what he called " inappropriate intervention by the Federal authorities" under the pretext of promoting the protection of the environment. He recommended an amendment to the Constitution to deal with the problem of bio-piracy. He also suggested changes to the legislation on environmental crime.

The second news agency report on 28th January 2003 highlighted the surprise of the chairman of the PCI at the lack of information from the Director of IBAMA, Jose de Anchieta dos Santos, on the activities of Charles Munn " a north American who has entered the country for more than 20 years with a tourist visa and has purchased more than 42 thousand hectares ( more than 100,000 acres) of land in Bahia and Piauí, where he receives foreign tourists under the pretext of photographing Lear's Macaws, a highly endangered species for $ US 4,000 each visitor."

Karina Michely de Souza Freitas of Caruaru was interviewed. She was fined R$ 200,000 for sheltering 400 forest animals in her home. Karina claimed she was recently married and did not know that her husband traded in wildlife.

The third agency news report issued on 29th January, 2003, provided further information on the hearings, including one in Brasilia with Nelson Simplicio Figueiredo, who was indicted with the trafficking of animals in the states of Pernambuco and São Paulo. In 2001 the police seized drugs and 2,139 birds and deer, which Figueiredo was holding in a gas depot in front of his home in Vitoria da Conquista in Bahia.

According to the Commission's chairman, Luiz Ribeiro, the seizure was the largest in the history of the country. " Investigation showed that he (Figueiredo) had contacts with the best-known traffickers in São Paulo and with a woman, who co-ordinated the capture of animals in the region."

In his disposition Figeiredo denied the charges and stated that he never sold animals to breeders. He claimed he just sold birds occasionally at markets to earn a little money. He also denied involvement in drug trafficking.

One hearing also touched on the dispute between IBAMA and Mauricio dos Santos of Recife, because he charged an entry fee to his zoo of R$ 5 per visitor without the permission of IBAMA. The Commission declined, however, to get involved. (Website editor: Maurizio keeps Spix's Macaws, which he has bred successfully. He was a fully co-operative member of the now defunct Committee for the Recovery of the Spix's Macaw).

Trafficking of animals has become a very serious problem because it sometimes includes drugs and arms. According to the chairman of the PCI 20 million young of birds and animals are taken every year. Of these only 1% will arrive at their final destination, the remainder will die of ill-treatment by the traffickers.

The final report of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry is expected shortly.

*"Almost extinct parrot gets new recruit". A press release by Loro Parque Fundación issued on 23rd December 2002.

A remarkable recent discovery in a private home in the USA of a captive male Spix´s macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii), the world´s rarest parrot, has provided a boost to the international effort to save this iconic species from extinction. Reported to have been trapped in the wild and illegally exported from Brazil, this bird had remained undercover despite a formal offer made by the Brazilian Government in 1990 to declare an "amnesty" for all owners of captive Spix´s macaws, in exchange for full cooperation in a breeding programme to help recover the species. However, after its many years of dormancy, this bird has just been repatriated to Brazil by the US Fish and Wildlife Agency, where preparations to incorporate it into the official breeding programme have been in place for several months.

These have been developed by the counterpart agency in Brazil, the Brazilian Institute for Environment and Natural Renewable Resources (IBAMA), in collaboration its principal partner and funder of the recovery effort, the Loro Parque Fundación of Tenerife in Spain, and several other key players. From a low of 11 known birds in captivity in 1990, successful breeding has increased the current known captive population to about 70. This delicate blue macaw, native to the dry north-east of Brazil, suffered from habitat loss and trapping such that by 1990 the species had dwindled to one last free-living male. With his loss in 2000, the Spix´s macaw became extinct in the wild.

The new recruit to the official breeding programme adds impetus to the recovery effort, not only because every single bird must be cherished, but especially because he is likely to be less related to the existing captives and can be expected to make a vital genetic contribution. This was a key point of a workshop, held in Brazil in November of this year, to re-formulate the breeding programme including the incorporation of the US bird. Additional to IBAMA and the Loro Parque Fundación, the planning workshop included representatives from Conservation International Brazil, the Smithsonian Institution, Sao Paulo Zoo, Chaparral Breeding Centre, ITAIPU, the new International Studbook Keepers Carlos Bianchi and Wanderlei de Moraes, and Dr Jeremy Mallinson, recently of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. The formation of a new Working Group resulted from discussions held in Tenerife in September 2002 between the Loro Parque Fundación and Dr Iolita Bampi of IBAMA when she visited to take a female Spix´s macaw back to Brazil.

In the workshop, internationally acclaimed geneticist, Dr Jon Ballou of the Smithsonian Institution formulated several positive breeding scenarios for the addition of the newly repatriated bird to the existing eight birds considered within the breeding programme recognised by IBAMA. Between them, these individual birds retain almost all the genetic variability originally found in captive Spix´s macaws. Within the re-formulated programme the holders agree to abide by the scientific guidelines produced by the new working group, acting on behalf of the Brazilian government, for the most effective genetic and demographic management of the population, andnew transfers were agreed upon.

The Loro Parque Fundación, a member of the working group, returned ownership of its Spix´s macaws to the government of Brazil several years ago, including the bird it recently sent to Brazil, and the two it currently manages in its breeding centre in Tenerife on behalf of the Brazilian authorities. The remaining captive birds are held by several private owners in Switzerland, the Philippines and Qatar, who refuse to manage their Spix´s macaws in the interest of recovering the species, as established by the Brazilian government scientific guidelines. Such refusal forced the Brazilian government to dissolve in July 2001 the previous Permanent Committee for the Recovery of the Spix´s Macaw (CPRAA).

The new working group has also agreed to the incorporation of the Spix´s macaw recovery into a vital regional conservation plan being developed with support from Conservation International Brazil. Through a US$40,000 donation by the Loro Parque Fundación, this will include purchase of critical habitat for eventual release of Spix´s macaws, in the area where the species was last found living wild. In this same area over the past 12 years to date the Loro Parque Fundación has financially supported with US$ 630,000 a multidisciplinary field conservation programme, plus providing its avicultural, veterinary and biological expertise, in partnership with IBAMA. The field programme has resulted in the creation of much improved conditions for eventual reintroduction to be successful. Of special significance, the programme has developed strong participation by the local community of Curaçá, not just in a willingness to protect wild birds, but also in habitat protection and restoration, and improving patterns of livestock grazing resulting in broader ecosystem benefits. Although a female Spix´s macaw released in 1995 to join the male subsequently disappeared, the later reintroduction of a group of Illiger´s macaws Propyrrhura maracana to the area as a pilot attempt was successful. During the same period, various innovative techniques for nest manipulation met with similar success. Thus, the cumulative total of activities has prepared the ground for the eventual recovery of this species to the wild state.

End of press release

*Statement from the Spix`s Macaw Workshop, Fortaleza, Brazil, 1-2 November 2002

The Brazilian government's environmental agency IBAMA recently convened a Workshop for the Revision of the Recovery Strategies for the Spix's Macaws, held at the Hotel Luzeiros in Fortaleza, Brazil, 1-2 November 2002. Thus IBAMA took the lead in bringing together Brazilian and international experts to relaunch this conservation effort -stalled since the break up of the Spix's Macaw Recovery Committee in February 2001- together with those parties that have continued to work with its programme.

The participants of the Workshop fully recognise the significant contribution made by the private breeders of the Spix`s Macaws outside Brazil. However, they expressed their considerable regret that the captive population is no longer being scientifically managed (genetically and demographically) as a total population, and in the best interest of the species' chance of survival.

The participants of the Workshop therefore implore all holders of Spix's Macaws to reconsider their present position, and to sign up to a new collaborative Recovery Programme, under the auspices of the Brazilian government, with a commitment to pool their resources and expertise, in order to jointly contribute to the long term conservation and survival of this critically threatened species.

Also, the participants of the Workshop express their regret that important studbook information had not been published and therefore strongly urges that this important background data for the future global management of Spix's Macaws is made available to IBAMA at the earliest opportunity.

Finally, the participants of the Workshop endorse the sentiments recorded in Tony Juniper's recent publication Spix's Macaw: the Race to Save the World's Rarest Bird i.e.: "Leading conservationists almost speak as one on what needs to be done. The best way forward would be to establish a top-quality breeding station in Brazil... From such a centre attempts could be made to reintroduce birds back into the wild using the same 'soft-release' techniques that have been used elsewhere. Such a programme should be under Brazilian control but with the support of the best experts, no matter where they come from... With the correct approach, Spix's Macaw can still be saved. The fact that several other endangered parrot species have come back from the brink proves it".

Endorsed by Workshop Participants
02 November 2002
Fortaleza, Brazil

* "Spix's Macaw found in the USA returns to São Paulo". A report in the 23rd December 2002 issue of O Estado de São Paulo, an important Brazilian daily newspaper, translated by the website editor.

At 7.15 this morning a Spix's Macaw discovered in the USA arrived on flight no. RG 8819 at Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo. This is the second specimen of this species to be repatriated this year to Brazil. The bird, a male, will be handed over later this morning at the São Paulo Zoo to Wilson Lima, Executive Director of IBAMA in the state of São Paulo, Carlos Bianchi, the new studbook-keeper, and Paulo Bressan, Director of the Foundation of the Zoological Park of São Paulo.

The Spix's Macaw was discovered in the USA by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which investigated the probable illegal origin of the bird and informed IBAMA in August. It is the first found in the USA since the creation of the recovery committee for the species ten years ago. It will now be integrated into the breeding programme for the species co-ordinated by IBAMA.

The species native to the sertão in Bahia no longer exists in the wild, but there are 54 individuals in captivity. The last known wild specimen, a male, disappeared in October 2000. The discovery of the macaw in the USA is therefore important.

In Brazil apart from the new arrival there are six Spix's Macaws - two in São Paulo Zoo and four at the Chaparral Scientific Breeding Facility in Recife. The seventh macaw will be quarantined for a while at São Paulo Zoo so that its physical condition can be studied. The bird is approximately 25 years old and should theoretically be capable of reproduction.

Last September a female arrived from Loro Parque in Tenerife, Spain, and was sent to the breeding facility in Recife, where it is hoped to pair it successfully with a "widowed" male. According to Bianchi, the studbook-keeper, the American macaw will go to the same destination to be "introduced" to two females, daughters of the "widowed" male.

The scientists hope to establish a genetically viable population for reintroduction to the wild. According to the most recent list of endangered and extinct species published last week the Spix's macaw belongs to the category "Extinct in the wild".

End of report.

"A newly discovered Spix's Macaw will be returned to Brazil". A report in the 7th October 2002 issue of O Estado de São Paulo, an important Brazilian daily newspaper, forwarded by Pedro Salviano Filho, publisher of Atualidades ornitologicas on 9th October 2002 and translated by the website editor

A newly discovered Spix's Macaw in the USA will be sent back to Brazil within the next two weeks to be integrated into the recovery programme for the species (Cyanopsitta spixii) co-ordinated by the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA). The existence of this macaw - a male - was made about two months ago by the American Environmental Agency, which then contacted IBAMA.

According to biologist Carlos Bianchi (Website editor: recently appointed studbook keeper for the species) nothing is known at the moment about the origin and history of this macaw, the first one discovered in the USA since the creation of the Recovery Programme Committee ten years ago. It was expected to arrive in Brazil on Monday morning, but its departure was delayed by the American government.

The species is native to Bahia but does not exist in the wild any more, confirms Bianchi, however there are 54 individuals in captivity. The last specimen in the wild was a male. It survived for ten years, but disappeared in October 2000. This is why the discovery in the USA is so important.

Last month a female was returned to Brazil by the Loro Parque Foundation based in Tenerife, Spain and was sent on to the Chaparral Scientific Breeding Centre in Recife where it hoped it will form a pair with a "widowed" male and reproduce.

According to Bianchi - the studbook keeper responsible for deciding on the best placements from a genetic point of view - the American macaw will, after satisfying all the requirements laid down by the Ministry of Agriculture, be sent to the same destination as the Spanish female to be "introduced" to the two females there, the offspring of the "widowed" male in Recife.

End of report.

"Show of hands at convention 6 to 1 in favour of vesting ownership of world's Spix's Macaws in Brazilian authorities". A website report on the vote at the 5th International Parrot Convention at Loro Parque last month

The audience at Tony Juniper's comprehensive review of the Spix's Macaw Recovery Programme on Friday 20th September voted some 6 to 1 in favour of vesting ownership of the world's Spix's Macaw population in the Brazilian authorities.

Juniper warned the audience made up of conservationists and aviculturists from all over the world at the beginning of his 40 minute presentation that he would ask them at the end to vote with a show of hands in favour of a) vesting ownership of the world's population of Spix's Macaws in the Brazilian authorities, b) not doing so or c) don't know.

At the end after outlining the problems with the recovery programme, caused in the main by the actions of most of the private owners of Spix's Macaws, and emphasising that he was not advocating that any of the Spix's Macaws in private hands outside Brazil should as a result be returned to Brazil unless the Committee so decided, the audience decided overwhelmingly that option a) was best for the recovery of the Spix's Macaw in the wild.

"Rarest bird in world goes home". A press release issued by Loro Parque Fundación on 24th September 2002

Today a female Spix´s macaw Cyanopsitta spixii, the rarest bird in the world, will be repatriated from Spain to its native country Brazil. This long-tailed, all blue parrot is extinct in the wild state, but there are now more than 60 Spix´s macaws in a captive breeding programme for the recovery and eventual restoration of the species to its natural habitat.

The recovery effort is coordinated by the Brazilian Government Institute for Environment and Natural Renewable Resources, IBAMA, and the priceless female macaw will be accompanied on its journey to Brazil by Dr Iolita Bampi, General Coordinator of Fauna of IBAMA. As part of the captive breeding and recovery programme, this bird has been maintained on behalf of the Brazilian Government by the Loro Parque Fundación within its breeding centre in Tenerife, Spain. The Fundación, an international conservation NGO, has been the principal funding agency for the recovery effort to date, and several years ago returned ownership of all Spix´s macaws in its possession to the Brazilian Government. On arrival in Brazil, this female will be paired with a carefully selected mate to improve the breeding programme. In parallel with the strengthening of the captive population, the crucial work of protection and restoration of the specialised habitat of this species will continue in the north-east of Brazil. Remarking on the importance of today´s transfer, Dr Bampi said " as part of the Brazilian Government´s strong commitment to biodiversity conservation, we continue our efforts to save the Spix´s macaw in partnership with the Loro Parque Fundación, and the repatriation of this bird is practical evidence of effective collaboration".

A further important development related to the survival of the Spix´s macaw occurred during the 5th International Parrot Convention hosted by the Loro Parque Fundación in Tenerife on 18 to 21 September 2002. In a landmark vote of the 850 delegates to the Convention, by a 6:1 majority they voted for the urgent return of ownership to the Brazilian Government of the Spix´s macaws currently in the possession of the few other private holders of this species in captivity. The decisive outcome of this vote was based on the strong belief that recovery of this rarest of all birds will best occur with Brazilian Government ownership and coordination of the programme. All holders would continue to maintain and breed the macaws in their own breeding centres on behalf of the Brazilian Government. The importance of this vote is underlined by the fact that it represents the view of the broadest possible range of interests in parrot aviculture, science and conservation. Following the vote, Mr Wolfgang Kiessling, President of the Fundación remarked " the Loro Parque Fundación has a deep commitment to the survival of the Spix´s macaw, an emblem for the rest of nature, and the result of this vote is clear evidence that the majority of aviculturists and conservationists believe this species will be best restored to nature with all birds in the ownership of the Brazilian Government".

(Press only) For more information please contact:

* In Brazil:

Dr Maria Iolita Bampi, General Coordinator of Fauna, Institute for Environment and Natural Renewable Resources (Coordenadora Geral de Fauna, Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis - IBAMA). E-mail: iolitabampi@hotmail.com

Or

Andrea Rojas, E-mail: andrearlucena@hotmail.com

* In Tenerife, Spain:

Dr David Waugh, Environmental Advisor, Loro Parque Fundación
. E-mail: environment@loroparque-fundacion.org

or

Yves de Soye, Director, Loro Parque Fundación
E-mail: dir.cientifica@loroparque-fundacion.org

More at: www.ibama.gov.br

or
www.loroparque-fundacion.org

Photo subject: Spix´s macaws

Photo credit and copyright: Loro Parque Fundación

"IBAMA dissolves the Spix's Macaw recovery committee". A report in the September 2002 issue of Cyanopsitta, the quarterly newsletter of the Loro Parque Fundación (No. 66, Pages 18-19).

In July 2002, the Brazilian government's environmental agency IBAMA finally disbanded the Spix's Macaw Recovery Committee (CPRAA), created twelve years earlier to bring together a wide range of parties in a unique effort to save the Spix's macaw from extinction. This is the distressing but logical result of the developments over the past two years, which first led IBAMA to suspend the CPRAA in February 2001 and have now led to this drastic decision.

In the March 2001 issue of Cyanopsitta, the LPF had informed its members and friends that an extraordinary meeting held in Brasilia one month earlier had led to the suspension of the CPRAA, due to the conflict between IBAMA and those holders - Antonio de Dios and Roland Messer - that proposed to become independent from the Committee. The previous transfer of birds from the Philippines to Qatar, unauthorised by the CPRAA and the very reason for the extraordinary meeting, had already provided sufficient evidence for the change of policy by these holders. IBAMA at the meeting decided that it would produce a new structure for the CPRAA in an effort to reinstall a viable and effective programme. The developments since this meeting in Brasilia can be summarised as follows:

First, several parties - including the two principal private owners of Spix's macaws Antonio de Dios and Roland Messer, as well as Natasha Schischakin, Richard Porter (a U.S. aviculturist) and a representative of the Swiss CITES management authority met in Switzerland to discuss the formation of an independent programme, without involving the Brazilian government.

Shortly after, the CITES Secretariat upon request from IBAMA issued a notification to all the signatory parties that invites the national management authorities to consult the Brazilian CITES Management Authority before issuing any "permits or certificates for the import, export, or re-export of specimens of Spix's Macaws".

Towards the end of 2001, Natasha Schischakin, who had faced severe pressure by IBAMA for her performance as keeper of the International Spix's macaw Studbook, was relieved of her conservation responsibilities at the Houston Zoo and then left her employment in early 2002.

In January 2002, the LPF received IBAMA's proposal for the restructuring of the CPRAA. The new structure was based on two documents that requested of all future members the return of the ownership of birds to Brazil, or at least the full compliance with management decisions taken by a renewed CPRAA; these documents included explicit conditions to not sell, and to not transfer Spix's macaws without consultation of the CPRAA.

In March 2002, Natasha Schischakin was eventually replaced as studbook holder by both IBAMA and the Coordinator of International Studbooks, Peter Olney, at the Zoological Society of London. The new Studbook holders appointed by IBAMA are two leading Brazilian ornithologists working closely with IBAMA, Carlos Bianchi and Wanderlei de Morais. It is worth emphasising that the Brazilian government, to the present day, has not received the information the former studbook holder was requested to submit for the handover of responsibilities, which implies that valuable information about the global captive population may become lost. It was such lack of compliance that led IBAMA to replace Natasha Schischakin, and state that it had faced "innumerous problems regarding [her] performance as studbook keeper, specially the lack of response to our information requests and the lack of accuracy and transparency of [her] attitudes". Her former involvement in the CPRAA for this and other reasons becomes an ever-increasing liability to the possible future of the recovery programme.

In this context, respected Brazilian ornithologist Pedro Scherer Neto and the former co-ordinator of the Spix's macaw field programme, Yara de Melo Barros, decided to leave the Board of Directors of the recently crated Ara Brasil Institute, intended to become a macaw conservation foundation supported by the American Federation of Aviculture, leaving only Mrs Schiscliakin as President.

In July 2002, in view of a lack of positive responses by the two main private holders Antonio de Dios and Roland Messer to its restructuring proposal, IBAMA decided to finally disband the CPRAA and revoked the original decree that created the CPRAA in 1990. The Brazilian government thus assumed full control over the future recovery of the Spix's macaw. By that time, the field programme based in the community of Curaçá in Bahia, had vacated the field station in the area where the last wild bird had lived and discontinued its activities.

Outside of Brazil, the Loro Parque Fundación is the only member institution of the former CPRAA that returned ownership of its birds and that continues to work together with the Brazilian government. The LPF thus awaits the visit by IBAMA's General Fauna Coordinator Dr Iolita Bampi to pick up one of the two females it keeps, and the carcass of the male that died in 2000, for them to be also physically returned to Brazil. From the end of August, the live female to be shipped is therefore undergoing quarantine and prophylactic treatment at LPF.

In spite of all the difficulties the recovery programme is currently facing, the LPF looks forward to the visit of Dr Bampi and to her participation at the 5th International Parrot Convention, to discuss any strategies that could provide a solution to the current impasse. We will keep our readers informed.

"IBAMA dissolves Committee for the Recovery of the Spix's Macaw". A report taken from the IBAMA website during the week ending 19th July 2002.

The original Portuguese text appears first followed by a website translation into English

Ibama dissolve comitê de recuperação da ararinha-azul


(O governo brasileiro quer a soberania sobre o destino de todas asararinhas-azuis em cativeiro existentes no mundo.)

O Ibama decidiu dissolver o Comitê para Recuperação da Ararinha-Azul (Cyanopsitta spixii), criado em 1990 com o objetivo de estabelecer estratégias de recuperação da espécie, uma das mais ameaçadas de extinção do mundo e endêmica da caatinga baiana. A dissolução do grupo deve-se, entre outros fatores, à falta de colaboração e às atitudes tomadas, à revelia do comitê, por parte de alguns membros.

O que desencadeou a crise interna do comitê foi o fato de o governo brasileiro não ter a soberania sobre o destino das aves que encontram-se no exterior, sendo isso uma grave ameaça ao programa de recuperação da espécie.

Das cerca de 60 aves existentes em cativeiro no mundo, o Brasil detém a propriedade de apenas oito delas. As demais estão em poder de mantenedores que integravam o grupo e de colecionadores particulares.

Nos últimos meses, o Ibama tentou reestruturar o comitê mas não obteve sequer o posicionamento da maioria dos membros em relação à nova proposta, fundamentada no princípio de que o governo brasileiro deve ter a soberania sobre o destino de todas aves. No entendimento dos especialistas, as ararinhas-azuis cativas devem ser manejadas como uma única população devido a fatores genéticos e demográficos. O último exemplar selvagem conhecido dessa espécie e que habitava a região de Curaçá, no sertão da Bahia, desapareceu em outubro de 2000.

"A dissolução do comitê não representa o fim dos esforços do Brasil para salvar a espécie.", afirma Iolita Bampi, coordenadora-geral de Fauna do Ibama. A partir de agora, cabe apenas ao instituto a continuidade do programa de recuperação da ararinha-azul. "Sem a cooperação dos mantenedores será impossível a recuperação da ararinha-azul e teremos que assumir a trágica extinção de mais uma espécie brasileira", disse Iolita Bampi.

Além da extinção do comitê, o Ibama e o Itamaraty pediram às autoridades Cites (Convenção sobre o Comércio Internacional das Espécies da Flora e da Fauna Selvagens em Perigo de Extinção, na sigla em inglês) a intervenção junto aos mantenedores estrangeiros para que eles se posicionem em relação à proposta brasileira. O Ibama também espera o apoio das ONGs ambientalistas nacionais e estrangeiras para pressionar os mantenedores a devolverem a propriedade das aves ao Brasil.

Mais informações: Jaime Gesisky - 61 316 1019 ou 1015/ Iolita Bampi - 316 1165 / Yara Barros- 61 9974 - 9446 e Carlos Bianchi - 316 -1235.

Website translation

IBAMA dissolves Committee for Recovery of the Spix's Macaw


(The Brazilian Government wants sovereignty over all the Spix's Macaws in captivity worldwide)

IBAMA has decided to dissolve the Committee for the Recovery of the Spix's Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii), which was created in 1990 with the objective of establishing strategies for recovery of the species, one of the most endangered in the world and endemic to the Bahian caatinga. The dissolution is due along with other factors to the lack of collaboration and the actions taken by some of its members without the agreement of the Committee.

This led to a crisis within the Committee because the Brazilian Government no longer has control over the fate of the birds held outside Brazil and this presented a grave threat to the programme for the recovery of the species.

There are some 60 birds in captivity around the world, but only eight are held in Brazil. The rest are in the hands of keepers who belong to the group and are private collectors.

Over the past months IBAMA has tried to re-structure the Committee but has not been able to get the majority of the members to agree to the proposition that the Brazilian Government should have sovereignty over all the birds. It is the opinion of the experts that the Spix's Macaws held in captivity should be managed as one population because of genetic and demographic factors. The last specimen known in the wild of this species which inhabited the region of Curaça in the sertão landscape of Bahia disappeared in October 2000.

" The dissolution of the committee does not mean that we in Brazil shall cease every effort to save the species", said Iolita Bampi, Co-ordinator-General of Wildlife at IBAMA. From today it will be down to the institute to continue the programme for the recovery of the Spix's macaw.

"Without the co-operation of the holders it will be impossible for the Spix's macaw to recover and we shall have to accept that one more Brazilian species has become extinct,." said Iolita Bampi.

Apart from dissolving the committee, IBAMA and Itamaraty have asked CITES - the Convention for the International Trade in Endangered Species - to intervene with the foreign keepers to ensure they accept the Brazilian position. IBAMA also hopes that environmental NGOs in Brazil and abroad will help pressure the keepers into handing over ownership of the birds to Brazil.

End of report

Extract from Foundation News (Page 8) in the March 2002 (No. 64) issue of Cyanopsitta, the newsletter of the Loro Parque Fundación

Over the past months, the Loro Parque Fundación received several important letters from the Brazilian environmental authority IBAMA, regarding the Spix's Macaw Recovery Programme.

In the first one, all the Members of the Permanent Committee for the Recovery of the Spix's Macaw (CPRAA), were officially informed by Maria lolita Bampi, Vice-President of the CPRAA, about the immediate transfer of two lnternational Studbooks - those of the Spix's macaw and the Lear's macaw - from Ms Natasha Schischakin to Carlos Bianchi and Wanderlei de Morais.

In another letter the LPF was asked to transfer one of the two females it keeps to the breeding centre of Mauricio dos Santos in Pernambuco in Brazil, who holds an unpaired male.

In a subsequent letter, IBAMA informed the LPF that the carcass of the Spix's Macaw male which died at Loro Parque in December 2000 should be shipped and deposited at the Zoological Museurn of the University in Sao Paulo, to increase the representation of the species in Brazilian collections (where there are less than ten specimens so far).

As a result, and in full compliance with the requests of the Brazilian government, the LPF has asked the Spanish CITES authorities to issue the according export permits, and expects that both the live female and the carcass will leave Tenerife for Brazil in the course of the coming months.

Finally, the LPF also eventually received from IBAMA, together with the other CPRAA members, a proposal for the future structure and rules of the recovery committee. The proposed structure is ultimately based on two documents to be signed by the private holders, the CITES Secretariat and IBAMA, which aims at returning sovereignty over thc birds' destiny to the Brazilian Government. A decisive meeting proposed to take place in Brazil in May 2002 will be crucial with regard to the future of the CPRAA and its composition.

"Lear's Macaw population increase". A report in World Birdwatch, the journal of Birdlife International in February 2002.

There has been some good news concerning Lear's Macaw Anodorhynchus leari, a Critically Endangered species known to breed only at Toca Velha and Serra Branca in north-eastern Brazil.

Numbers of Lear's Macaws are slowly increasing thanks to conservation efforts by many individuals and organisations, including BioBrasil, IBAMA, the local landowner and Fundação Garcia D'Avila.

This is despite continued poaching pressure - until recently around a quarter of nests were raided each year. How ever, a survey in early 2001 reported in Tangara (2001) 1(3):135-138 reported no fewer than 246 individual macaws, an increase of more than 30% compared to the previous population survey in the late 1990s when 170 birds were seen.

Furthermore, the Disney Conservation Initiative has just made a substantial donation towards the conservation of the Lear's Macaws. This money will be used for ongoing habitat creation through the growing of licuri palms, an essential food source for the birds, for the protection of nest sites and for continuing work compiling a detailed photographic record of each individual bird.

Brazil's president visits the blue macaws project in the Pantanal

I am delighted to report that Brazil's president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, pictured here here in one of the project's caps, visited the Projeto Arara Azul in August. He was told about the project's important work in protecting and conserving the Hyacinthine macaw and saw nest sites and nest-boxes installed by the project team as well as the macaws themselves. The enormous dedication of Neiva Guedes, now in the 11th year of her work, was thus given well deserved recognition at the highest level. Parabems, Neiva!

Saga of Spix's Macaw". A report by Ian Hinze in the October 2001 issue of BBC Wildlife Vol. 19, No. 10 (Pages 42-3).

The world's rarest parrot, officially extinct in the wild, is now under renewed threat in captivity.

The future of the world's rarest parrot, the Spix's macaw, looks increasingly bleak following a series of internal rifts within the bird's recovery committee.

In particular, the committee has been hit by the decision of the Loro Parque Foundation, which financed most of the field work, to withdraw its funding, partly due to allegations that breeders have been selling the captive birds.

The Spix's macaw became officially extinct in the wild last year (Letters, January 2001) following the disappearance of the last-known individual. The only hope of saving the bird rested with a captive-breeding programme.

The programme, run by the Permanent Committee for the Recovery of the Spix's Macaw (CPRAA), has been astonishingly successful in the past decade and increased the number of birds in captivity from 11 in 1990 to around 60 today (News Special Report, October 2000). But, the committee never managed successfully to reintroduce any captive birds into the wild to be a mate for the (now missing, presumed dead) lone male. A female was released into the wild, but the male -at the time -was attached to a female of a different species. Later, the released Spix's macaw was found dead.

The Loro Parque Foundation says it was increasingly frustrated by what it saw as a lack of commitment of committee members to the cause of saving Spix's macaw. The final straw was when one of the programme's most successful breeders, Antonio de Dios, who lives and works in the Philippines, sold four birds to Sheikh Saud-Al Thani, of Qatar. Other sales have also taken place.

"It makes little sense to invest such substantial sums as we have done these past 10 years, unless there is a real commitment from all the parties involved," said the foundation's director Yves de Soye. "But such commitment doesn't appear to exist."

Committee member Dr Carlos Yamashita, who works for the Brazilian wildlife authority IBAMA, said that, while the sale of the Spix's macaws by de Dios wasn't illegal, it was certainly unethical.

But the CPRAA's studbook keeper Natasha Schischakin defended the work of the committee. She said it would be risky to start reintroducing birds before they had a stable population of captive- bred birds, while on the subject of the controversial sales, she said; "It is critically important to transfer some of the younger birds from the Philippines as the potential for a catastrophe -from disease to volcanoes to political unrest -is too great to manage such a large percentage of an endangered population in one location."

Conservation experts say that the Spix's macaw can still be saved, pointing out that other species, such as the Californian condor and golden lion tamarin, have been brought back from the brink of extinction in recent decades.

Dr Nigel Collar, of BirdLife International, said a restructured CPRAA would need to act more according to agreed procedures than it has in the past if it was to succeed. He also believes it would benefit from the involvement of more specialists, notably reintroduction experts. "The Spix's macaw is a highly distinctive species in its own genus," he said. "It's a fantastically interesting and beautiful bird, and there's no doubt that we could save it."

(Website comment: Whilst understanding Natasha's concern about the vulnerability of the Spix's Macaws in the Philippines, the solution cannot be to sell the macaws to various collectors around the world. This will give the Spix's Macaw a legal commercial value, which cannot possibly promote its re-establishment in the wild. The captive macaws should at least be located in publicly owned institutions preferably in the southern hemisphere if not Brazil itself. CITES legislation also needs to be urgently amended to prevent the sale of captive bred specimens of extremely rare species such as the Spix's Macaw and Lear's Macaw.)

Projeto Arara Azul receives generous gift of two new vehicles from Toyota Brazil. A website report dated 12th June 2001.

I am pleased to report that Neiva has taken delivery of two new vehicles from Toyota Brasil for the Hyacinthine Macaw project in the Pantanal. Toyota generously provided a vehicle nearly ten years ago, but replacement was becoming necessary after so many years to cover the rough terrain and to withstand the harsh conditions. The new vehicles have been painted up with the project logo for easy recognition. They will play an important role in expanding the project work in the southern Pantanal. Well done Toyota and congratulations to Neiva!!!

"Increase in Lear's Macaw population". Extract regarding the recent census of the Lear's Macaws in the wild from a report on Brazilian wildlife published in O Estadao de São Paulo on 7th June 2001 and translated by the website editor.

IBAMA is celebrating an increase in the population of the Lear's Macaw at the Raso da Catarina in the sertão of Bahia, its natural habitat. A census conducted in May showed an increase of 45% in the numbers of birds over the last two years. 170 birds were counted in 1999. Now there are 246.

The Lear's Macaw is one of Brazil's most endangered wildlife species and the good result of the census is attributed to the conscientiousness of the local people since the Lear's macaw is highly valued by poachers and illegal traders, who sell eggs, young and adult birds.

João Luiz do Nascimento, the Director of the Centre of Research for the Conservation of Forest Birds, explained that apart from hunting, the Lear's Macaw was faced with a reduction in its natural food, the licuri palm nut, from a species of palm found in the Raso da Catarina, which is used to feed livestock such as cattle and goats.

In addition to the 246 wild birds Rio and Sao Paulo zoos are holding 20 birds in captivity with the intention of breeding with them (Website ed: These are macaws confiscated from illegal traffickers - some repatriated to Brazil - which cannot be returned to the wild). However, IBAMA emphasised that producing young in the scientific centre would not reduce the risk of extinction. " New individuals in the wild are required in the wild to save this species", concluded Iolita Bampi, Director of Wildlife Protection at IBAMA.

Extract of interview with Wolfgang Kiessling in the April 2001 issue of the German avicultural magazine Gefiederte Welt translated by the website editor.

(Website editor: I have converted the German Mark amounts into their approximate equivalents in US dollars and pounds sterling and added these in parenthesis)

Question: Can you tell us how much the Loro Parque Foundation has at its disposal?

W K.: The foundation is in a good condition. It is also my personal wish that the foundation should be independent of Loro Parque within ten years. This is why Loro Parque is providing the foundation with quite large amounts of money every year. A few days ago I handed over DM 300,000 (£ 100,000 or US$ 150,000) on condition that none of it is spent. The money needs to be invested and capital accumulated. Up to now the capital stands at approximately DM 6 million (£ 2 million or US$ 3 million), but within 10 years this should be increased according to our estimates to DM 12 million (£ 4 million or US$ 6 million). Thus as I said the foundation will become completely independent. It is possible that my children may decide at some time to sell the business. But this should not affect the Loro Parque Foundation, in which the new owner may have no interest. Thus it needs to be financially secure and that is now my intention. Of course all the money we receive through the sale of birds or from donations will go to the foundation. This amounts to around DM 600,000 (£ 200,000 or US$ 300,000) each year and this will be used to support projects

Question: The saving of the Spix's Macaw was one of the foundation's most important projects. Now we have heard the lasting remaining bird in the wild has disappeared and is possibly dead. Is it worthwhile supporting the project any more?

W K.: Ask me something easier. I don't know the answer to that either. We have invested some DM 1,2 million (£ 400,000 or US$ 600,000) up to now. However, it was always a possibility that something like that would happen. The sad part for us is that we have not yet had any breeding success at Loro Parque. And now our old male has died.

But we have still achieved something. I was the initiator of the first Spix's Macaw meeting. At that time there were about 20 birds in captivity. Now there are more than 60. So there is still potential. Now we need to appeal to the generosity of the owners and make it clear to them what it means to be massively involved in the conservation of such a threatened species. We must try to free these captive birds to be able to return them to the wild. Let me state this clearly. We do not need 60 birds in captivity. They should be released and in large numbers. It does not have to be all 60 birds, just those reared last year. It must be an undertaking that is a clear signal from all those involved. And I would be willing to continue to invest if this were to happen.

I cannot say whether we could provide the finance on our own. But I can imagine that with our connections worldwide to other organisations, associations, clubs and publications like Gefiederte Welt that the foundation could be in a position to achieve this. I would say that we are able to provide some US$ 100,000 every year for the conservation of the Spix's Macaw. Anyone else with $ 5,000 or $ 10,000 to contribute will be welcome to join us.

Question: Do you believe that the egoism of the Spix's Macaw breeders can be overcome. Is there really a genuine chance to release captive Spix's Macaws into the wild as long as they can fetch such high prices?

W. K: It will depend on how the next Spix's Macaw meeting develops and how the participants react. If there is no release, then the Spix's Macaw will be extinct in the wild. As I said before the owners must seize this unique historic opportunity to do something for the continuance of the species in the wild and be involved in a unique project.

End of extract


Report in O Estado do São Paulo dated 14th March, 2001.

40 Hyacinthine Macaws have been confiscated at Itu in the district of Sorocaba in the state of São Paulo. This is the largest number confiscated in one action for 20 years. They are being held temporarily in the municipal zoo at Sorocaba.

Website news item on 22.3.2001. Lear's Macaws repatriated from Singapore to Brazil.

The two Lear's Macaws found in the possession of Lawrence Kuah in Singapore and confiscated by the authorities there have now been repatriated to Brazil. They will be held temporarily in Sao Paulo Zoo with the other Lear's Macaws rescued from other criminals trafficking illegally in the species before being transferred to a captive breeding facility to be set up in Bahia.

Website news item on 18.1.2001. Spix's Macaw to be declared extinct in the wild.

A report in today's Folha de São Paulo (18.1.2001) states that the International Committee for the Spix's Macaw Recovery Programme will meet in February. With the disappearance of the last remaining Spix's Macaw the species will be declared extinct in the wild. It is still intended to acclimatise the five young macaws bred in the Philippines to introduce them to the wild. They will be brought to Brazil for this purpose in the summer of 2002.

"World's loneliest bird is missing, feared dead" A report by Michael McCarthy, Environment Correspondent in The Independent, a British daily national broadsheet newspaper, on 27th December 2000.

The last wild Spix's macaw, the blue Brazilian parrot that for 10 years has been the world's loneliest and rarest bird, has disappeared and may be dead.

It has not been seen in its territory in Bahia, north-eastern Brazil, since 5 October and extensive searches have failed to find any trace.

The male bird was the last free-flying example of a species now down to just 60 individuals, all held in zoos or by private bird collectors, and had been the focus of international hopes of a reintroduction programme. Five captive-bred birds were due to be released to join it early next year.

Its disappearance, greeted with anguish by ornithologists involved in the project, is an enormous and possibly fatal blow to the chances of re-establishing a wild population, as conservationists had hoped the wild bird would teach its captive-bred colleagues the skills needed to survive in the arid thorn-scrub savannah that is their natural habitat.

Cyanopsitta spixii, discovered in 1819 by Johann Baptist von Spix, a naturalist working for the Emperor of Austria, has never been common since it was first recorded and was gradually driven to the brink of extinction, first by grazing animals destroying its wooded-creek habitat, and then, as it became rare, by bird collectors.

It was believed to be extinct in the wild until the last bird was discovered by the British parrot expert Tony Juniper and a Brazilian colleague near the small town of Curaça in July 1990. For the past decade, this bird has managed to survive alone, while a committee set up by the Brazilian government has tried, without great success, to put together a reintroduction programme.

The wild bird had grown very cunning, but it may at last have succumbed to a predator, or to an age-related disease. It had never previously disappeared from its territory for more than 15 days.

Mr Juniper, who is now policy and campaigns director for Friends of the Earth in London, said: "This bird had clung on grimly despite all the odds for a whole decade. If it has died, it is an absolute tragedy and a major setback for any conservation programme. The conservationists have had 10 years to try to secure this species in the wild, and it certainly raises the question of whether or not more could have been done."

Britain's leading expert on the rare birds of the world, Nigel Collar of BirdLife International, which is based in Cambridge, said there was still hope. "If it was a really dry summer it might have moved somewhere else, but it has never done so before as far as anyone knows, and it doesn't look good," he said.

The wild bird, he said, had "a wonderful map" in its head of how to survive, knowing how to find water, where to roost, which nuts to open when, and how to avoid predators. If this link could not now be passed on it was a severe blow to hopes of restoring the species.

However, the man who has funded the conservation project, Yves de Soye, the director of Loro Parque, a Tenerife zoo that houses the world's biggest parrot collection, said he thought the reintroduction programme should continue. "I am very saddened about the possible loss of the last wild bird but it's certainly not the end of the recovery effort," he said. "I have a lot of hope left, if we really manage to get the programme refocused."

The options were to release young birds by themselves, or to try to put eggs of the Spix's macaw into those of other parrots that occupied a similar ecological niche, such as Illiger's macaw, he said.

Still no news of the missing Spix's macaw in the wild

According to a short report in the 28th December issue of Folha de São Paulo there is sadly still no news about the last remaining Spix's Macaw in the wild, which the field team headed by Yara de Melo Barros has not seen for four months. The search was wound up on 22nd December. Yara informed Folha that it is now the nesting season, and as it is paired with a female of another species, is difficult to locate. She added that they had not given up hope.

Hyacinth Macaw Project in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil celebrates 10 years successful activity. Article published in Ecologia em Notícias, Campo Grande (No. 245, 7 December 2000 and translated from the Portuguese original by the website editor

The Projeto Arara Azul celebrates 10 years of continuous activity dedicated to the conservation of the great blue macaws of the Pantanal in Mato Grosso do Sul. The field work undertaken has catalogued 264 natural nest sites on 29 ranches in five districts of the Pantanal, mainly in Nhecolândia, Miranda and Abrobral. 154 artificial nest boxes have been installed on 19 ranches.

The nest sites and macaws themselves were monitored throughout the 10 years. In 1999 74% of the occupied nest sites were monitored. In these some 180 pairs laid eggs of which only 74 hatched. Of these 58 fledged.

Nine of the fledged young have been fitted with radio collars and 400 in total have been banded. All the information collected has been published this week by the co-ordinator of the project, Neiva Guedes. The Project Arara Azul has a team of two biologists, a zoo technician, two assistants and two trainees. It forms part of the work of the University for the Environment of the State and Region of the Pantanal (UNIDERP) and has received funding of 180,000 Reais (approx. $ 120,000) from WWF Brazil for the years 1999, 2000 and 2001. The research has also been sponsored by Toyota and the Pousada Caiman. " It's a project for life for me, conservation in the long term for more than ten, twenty years," explained Neiva.

According to the co-ordinator future plans include expanding the field-work to the state of Mato Grosso as well as obtaining more answers to aspects of blue macaw biology.

A free macaw is more profitable for ranch-owners


Parallel to the studies and research of the Projeto Arara Azul educational activities on the environment are undertaken among the local people and tourists to the Pantanal in Mato Grosso do Sul. According to the co-ordinator of the project, Neiva Guedes, the field workers endeavour to convince the ranch-owners, farm-workers and other residents in the Pantanal of the importance of conserving the macaws. "The farm-hands and the rest of the local people did not regard the blue macaws differently. They saw the macaws in the same way as the rheas, alligators and capybara." says Neiva. The scientist relates that she had even received a proposal to capture Hyacinthine Macaws for breeding in captivity.

"We raised the level of awareness among the ranch-owners and today most of them are convinced that it is much more advantageous to have the macaws flying free on their property than having them in a cage in the house." As it is charismatic and exuberant in its colouring the Hyacinthine Macaw is exploited for eco-tourism on many ranches in the Pantanal, where tourists pay to see these birds flying. This is the case with the Pousada Caiman, one of the ranches visited by the project in the district of Miranda. Since 1998 various guests have accompanied the scientists during their activities as well as participating in educational presentations.

The Hyacinthine Macaw occurs in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso, Tocantins, Piauí, Maranhão, Bahia, Amazônia and some districts of Bolivia and Paraguay. The population of the bird in the wild is not known, but up to the 1980s it is estimated that more than 10,000 macaws were captured for trade.

Unconfirmed sighting of Spix's Macaw

Today (5. December 2000) I received news from Brazil of an unconfirmed sighting of the Spix's Macaw last week. Let us all hope it is true! So much depends on this macaw.

THE LAST SPIX'S MACAW - THE WORLD'S RAREST PARROT - DISAPPEARS FROM THE WILD

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 hunger relief campaign during a severe drought, range and livestock 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.

The following article from the Singaporean Strait Times appeared in PARROT DATA NEWS as an attachment to an e-mail from Natasha Schischakin, one of the three directors of the newly established Ara Brasil Institute.

First of all the e-mail text

Update on Lear's Macaw Smuggling Case in Singapore

A final positive resolution has been achieved in the smuggling of Lear's Macaw case against Lawrence Kuah in Singapore.

Originally, Kuah had been acquitted of the charges early this year, mainly due to favorable testimony from a UK Veterinarian and supposed "parrot conservationist" who disputed the Brazilian and Singaporean government's expert witness testimony. However, justice has prevailed. The case was overturned on appeal and Kuah will serve a one-year jail term in Singapore for his offence.

This is a wonderful victory for the Singaporean CITES authorities, who should be congratulated for their efforts and willingness to see this case to the end and the Brazilian wildlife authorities of IBAMA who provided the expert testimony and information on this species.

There now follows the text of the article in the Strait Times of 3rd November 2000.

JAIL FOR MAN CAUGHT WITH RARE BIRDS AGAIN

A bird breeder was yesterday jailed a year and fined $10,000 for possessing two endangered birds which were imported without a permit.

It was the latest in a string of convictions Kuah Kok Choon, 26, had faced for smuggling in endangered birds and possessing illegally-acquired animals, and prompted Chief Justice Yong Pung How to call him an ""international smuggler of birds of endangered species''.

He noted that Kuah had been fined more than $20,000 for crimes in this area.

Kuah, a director of Indah Fauna Breeding and Research, had been acquitted in a district court in April for possessing two Lear's Macaws, an endangered breed of parrot of which fewer than 130 exist in the wild.

CJ Yong yesterday allowed the prosecution's appeal against the acquittal.

Kuah was slapped with a summons last year and his trial was heard this year.

Yesterday, deputy public prosecutors Hamidul Haq and Thong Chee Kun told the court that there was no dispute that the birds were found in Kuah's house. He also did not deny being in possession of them.

The prosecutors also listed his previous convictions:

In 1994, he was caught for the unauthorised import of six exotic parrots in Perth, Australia, and fined A$10,500 (S$9,570.75). He was then also fined A$600 for giving a false statement.

In April 1996, he was fined $3,200 for trying to smuggle in three exotic birds and a squirrel.

In 1997, he was found in possession of four illegally-acquired gibbons and fined $6,300.

In July last year, he was fined $10,000 for forging permits to obtain the release of the two Lear's Macaws at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

Kuah's defence was that he had bought the birds between 1988 and 1990, before the law came into effect.

CJ Yong noted that Kuah had been interested in birds since his school days, had educated himself about them and had written articles on them.

But none of that detracted from the fact that his offence was a serious one that called for a jail term, added CJ Yong.

Two Spix's macaw bred by Mauricio Santos in Recife, Brazil.

We have just received(29.10.2000)an e-mail from Brazil with the exciting news that Mauricio Santos, an authorised holder of Spix's Macaws in Recife, Brazil has bred two Spix's macaws successfully. They apparently hatched three weeks ago and are reportedly in good health. One may have been removed for hand-rearing. Website visitors may recall that the female re-released into the wild five years ago, which flew into power lines soon thereafter, was provided by Mauricio Santos. More information will be posted to this news page as it arrives.

"All in the family". A report by the Brazilian conservation organisation Renctas on the arrest of the brother of the convicted smuggler "Carlinhos" after he was caught with over 150 illegal animals, including 3 wild-caught Lear's Macaws

All in the family!


Brother of infamous Brazilian smuggler "Carlinhos" captured by Brazilian Wildlife Authorities with 3 Endangered Lear's Macaws!

Brasilia - The Brazilian wildlife authorities of IBAMA announced that they had arrested Espedito Ferreira Lima Filho, the brother of one of Brazil's most infamous smuggler known by the nickname of "Carlinhos das Araras" (Little Carlos of the Macaws). He also had in his possession three Lear's macaws, a critically endangered Brazilian species of which there are less than 180 individuals left in the wild. This species has been targeted by poachers for the illegal wildlife trade. The problem has intensified tremendously in the last five years, despite the fact that the US conservation group Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and BioBrasil (a Brazilian non-governmental organization) have supported the convicted smuggler "Carlinhos" through monthly payments of $ 1,200 not to "take" Lear's Macaws from the wild and provide them with "information" on the illegal trade.

The Brazilian government has disagreed with this strategy, as it has long suspected that the Filho family was the prime source of the birds to the illegal trade market and that this funding could only help them further their smuggling network. This suspicion was proven to be true with the arrest on July 20, 2000 of Espedito Ferreira Lima Filho, brother of the smuggler "Carlinhos". At the time of his detention, the younger Filho was in the illegal possession of over 150 wild birds (and one snake). The arrest and confiscation was conducted by the Military Police of the State of Mato Grosso, in the municipality of Moema.

The capture of this smuggler is a major victory for the Brazilian Wildlife Authorities of IBAMA in their efforts to combat the illegal trade of wildlife in the country. According to Iolita Bampi, IBAMA Chief of the Wildlife Department in Brasilia "We believe that this family has contributed greatly to the near extinction of Brazilian parrots, including the Spix's Macaw, and now the Lear's Macaw. The arrest of "Carlinhos" brother while transporting live wildlife contraband is evidence that this gang is still actively involved in the illegal trade, despite assurances to the contrary by the groups that support them."

BOLETIM ESPECIAL - RENCTAS
De: Coordenação Geral - RENCTAS
NOTA DA RENCTAS:

O senhor ESPEDITO FERREIRA LIMA FILHO é irmão do senhor LUIS CARLOS FERREIRA LIMA, vulgarmente conhecido como "CARLINHOS DAS ARARAS", condenado pela justiça por tráfico de animais silvestres. Segundo informações do Globo Repórter/95, o senhor CARLINHOS DAS ARARAS, estaria sendo pago pela WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY - WCS para não mais traficar e para prestar "informações ambientais". O representante da WCS no Brasil é o senhor PEDRO LIMA, atualmente diretor da BIOBRASIL, cujo outro diretor, o senhor RICHARD HARTLEY, foi detido pela Polícia Militar do Piauí no dia 07 de julho, quando na ocasião portava sem autorização, um exemplar morto da espécie Ararajuba.

A RENCTAS sugere á WCS e a seus representantes, que estenda sua benevolência para outros membros da família de CARLINHOS DAS ARARAS, visto que pagar só a um irmão para não traficar animais, não tem contribuído muito para acabar com essa atividade criminosa.

TRANSLATION OF SPECIAL RENCTAS BULLETIN

Mr. ESPEDITO FERREIRA LIMA FILHO is the brother of Mr. LUIS CARLOS FERREIRA LIMA, commonly known as "CARLINHOS OF THE MACAWS", sentenced by the justice for illegal traffic of wild animals. According to information in Globo Reporter / 95, CARLINHOS DAS ARARAS is being paid by the WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY - WCS not to traffic in wildlife and to provide "environmental information" to them. The representative of WCS (in this project) in Brasil is Mr. Pedro Lima, actually director of BIOBRASIL, whose other director, Mr. RICHARD HARTLEY, was detained by the Military Police of Piauí on 7 of July, when he was found to be transporting, without authorization (permits) a dead specimen of the Golden Conure.

RENCTAS suggests to WCS and its representatives, that it extend its benevolence to other members of the family of CARLINHOS DAS ARARAS, as paying only one brother not to traffic in animals has not contributed much to stopping this criminal activity.

RENCTAS is a project developed in association with IBAMA - the Brazilian Institute for Environment and Renewable Natural Resources. Its objective is to unify organized civil society's actions to contribute with national and international regulatory and intelligence agencies to combat the illegal trade in wildlife in the Brazilian Territory.

Editor's note: We have been informed WCS and Biobrasil have discontinued paying Carlinhos his $ 1200 a month to "protect" the parrots. (January 2001).

Loro Parque has invested nearly $600,000 in Spix's macaw recovery project

Loro Parque has invested nearly $600,000 in the Spix's Macaw Recovery Project since its inception in 1990. Since 1994 this has been channelled through the Loro Parque Fundación. More information about the project work can be found in a report elsewhere on the Blue Macaws website. In addition to this landmark project the Fundación is supporting a number of other important projects as follows:-

1. Brazil - Environmental education programme for the Red-tailed Amazon (Amazona brasilensis) in Superagüi National Park, Paraná.
2. Brazil - Ecology and distribution of the Vinaceous Amazon (Amazona vinacea) in Paraná.
3. Bolivia Armonia - Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis).
4. Ecuador - Cerro Blanco Bosque Protector - Lilacine Amazon (A. autumnalis) and Guayaquil Macaw (Ara ambigua guayaquilensis).
5. Ecuador - Yellow-eared Parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis) I.
6. Colombia - Yellow-eared Parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis) II.
7. Zambia - Status , ecology and conservation biology of Black-cheeked Lovebird (Agapornis nigrigenis).
8 Thailand - Phu Khiea Wildlife Sanctuary.
9. Philippines - Red-vented Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia conservation programme.
10.Indonesia - Action Sampin - Red & Blue Lory (Eos histrio).
11.Indonesia - Kakatua Seram project for Moluccan Cockatoo ( Cacatua moluccensis).

With its extensive funding programme worldwide and unrivalled provision of technical support and back-up the Loro Parque Fundación plays a leading role in parrot conservation. In this it is supported by the "Fonds für bedrohte Papageien"(Funds for Endangered Parrots), the German aviculturist conservation group affiliated to the Zoological Society of Munich.

Inauguration of new base for Projeto Arara Azul

The new permanent base for the project at the Pousada Caiman was inaugurated officially on 8th November, 1998. Local dignitaries, politicians and journalists from São Paulo as well as Campo Grande, the state capital, attended the ceremony at the Pousada Caiman. The project, which has UNIDERP, the recently established University for the Development of the State (Mato Grosso do Sul) and the Pantanal Region, as its patron now has a second, namely the Pousada Caiman, owned by São Paulo industrialist, Roberto Klabin. The new base has a 24 hour power supply as well as running water and proper sanitary arrangements. It will enable the project under the direction of Neiva Guedes to expand and develop its activities. It has a small visitor centre, but this will only be open to guests of the Pousada Caiman and not casual tourists. The website editor visited the new base at the beginning of January 1999 and was much impressed by the facilities, the possibilities it provides and its central location in the southern Pantanal.

" It would be a crime to allow the Pantanal to dry out "

Raoul Dos Santos, Ambassador to the Court of St. James, conceded in his answer to a question put by the website editor at a small meeting of British businessmen held last night (10.11.98) in London that " It would be a crime to allow the Pantanal to dry out ."

Following the recent State visit to London by President Menem of Argentina, the Argentine and Paraguayan governments are trying to revive international interest in the Hidrovia project. Some 15 people attended the meeting at the Latin American Centre in Canning House, Belgrave Square, including senior representatives from major British construction companies and government departments.

Ambassador Dos Santos, who entered Paraguay's foreign service in 1991 after a successful business career in shipping, gave a short presentation on the Hidrovia project. He explained that the project was now mainly dedicated to providing navigational and shipping aids along the Paraguay River to Cáceres in Brazil. He also wanted to interest foreign investors in the improvement and augmentation of port facilities in Paraguay. He confirmed that another study is being prepared on the likely environmental impact of the present proposals. He claimed the main objective of the project was to improve the quality of life for the people living along the river.

The Paraguay River was to be dredged to provide 3 metres (10 ft) depth for push-barges with flat bottoms and shallow draught for the whole of its length as far as Cáceres. He showed slides of rafts of such push-barges, already in use on the central and lower reaches of the Paraguay-Paraná river system, some conveying as much as 18,000 tons of agricultural produce such as soya. It is hoped to provide rafts of barges for up to 50,000 tons of produce.

He compared transportation costs per ton for produce by river, rail and road illustrating that shipping prices would be much less than rail or road.

In answer to the website editor's question on the Brazilian government's attitude to the Hidrovia project, he described it as " ambivalent " and confessed there were many people in Brazil, especially from environmental organisation opposed to the project.

It was clear to all present that as long as the Brazilian government remains " ambivalent ", the project will not be realised north of the Paraguayan border.

Report in Business section of London Evening Standard on 28.10.98


REPORT IN BUSINESS SECTION (PAGE 35) OF THE LONDON EVENING STANDARD ON WEDNESDAY, 28TH OCTOBER, 1998

S American trade pact's basin of hope by Ross Davies

HIDROVIA sounds like an area of London somewhere between Park Lane and Euston. In fact, you could plonk the whole of Europe in Hidrovia and still have room left over.

It is a vast network of tributaries feeding into the Paraguay-Parana river basin, forming a 1750-mile link along which goods originating in the river ports of eastern Bolivia and western Brazil can flow south through Paraguay and Uruguay to the deepwater ports of Asuncion, Buenos Aires and Montevideo, and vice versa.

It is also the lifeline that could make or break Mercosur, a free-trade market involving Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, which is due to operate from 2005.

Argentinian President Carlos Menem, who is attending a UK-Argentina trade conference in London today with Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Mandelson, is pinning his hopes on Hidrovia. Next month, he and Raul Santos, the Paraguayan ambassador, will host a Hidrovia conference in London for British and international businessmen.

By then, three parties of export-minded British executives will be in the region to see the commercial possibilities for themselves. One concern with a big investment in the Hidrovia region is British Gas, which is developing a pipeline linking Argentine gas reserves with both Uruguay and Brazil.

Between now and 2005 Hidrovia will absorb vast sums of Mercosur wealth as each country invests in port development, dredging and other river management. At present, rivers in the northern reaches can be miles wide but only a few feet deep in the dry season.

Michael Bohling, an international director of Robert Fleming Insurance Brokers, says: "In length, width and water volume, Hidrovia is a virtual overlay of the Mississippi. Like the US river system, Hidrovia is doing away with mom-and-pop tugs and barges, and operators are investing in expensive modern equipment.

"British banks are waking up to the financing needs of the operators who build these fleets, and the London market is getting involved in insuring the fleets and their cargoes."

Hidrovia provides much cheaper bulk transport than road or rail, and vast tonnages of grain, soya and manufactured goods are carried. One modern Hidrovia tug can push a 12-barge convoy carrying 27,000 tons.

US drug enforcement agencies are alive to Hidrovia's potential for carrying the chemicals that are needed for the Colombian drug industry one way and the finished product the other, hidden in cargoes destined for the US and Britain. Menem is trying to stamp out high-level drug-related corruption in his National Customs Administration.

Drug complications give an added piquancy to talk of calling in the US Army's Corps of Engineers, the people who gave you the Panama Canal, to ensure that Hidrovia is finished by 2005.

END

(Website Editor: There was much protest at the Ornithological Congress in Asuncion in August 1995 about this potentially devastating project. In March of this year I heard from a reliable Brazilian government source that it had been shelved. Now it has raised its monstrous head again. The only people to gain will be speculative land-buyers and those involved with the construction contracts. We all lose in the end. The website will shortly have more information about this worrying project.

IBAMA press release dated 14.7.98 on illegal Lear's Macaws


Brazilian Institute for Environment and Natural Renewable Resources - IBAMA PRESS RELEASE

BRAZIL REPORTS THAT THE ENDANGERED LEAR'S MACAW IS THREATENED BY ILLEGAL BIRD COLLECTORS

Issued 14 July 1998 in Brasilia

The Lear's Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) is one of the world's most endangered species. Occurring only in the semi-arid northeastern region of Bahia in Brazil, its area of occupation was only located in 1978 by a team led by Dr. Helmut Sick (who was one of Brazil's best known ornithologists). Due to habitat alteration, hunting and capture for the illegal trade, the species is facing a very critical situation - the populations of Lear's Macaw have been reduced to less than 130 individuals in the wild. The illegal capture of these birds for trade has been recognized as one of the most important factors in the species' decline.

The rarity and precarious status of the Lear's Macaw in the wild has accorded it the highest level of protection provided under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora - CITES. Brazil has been a party of the CITES Treaty since 1975.

In addition to being a party of CITES, Brazil has strict domestic legislation prohibiting the export of wildlife species. The Brazilian Wildlife Protection Act of 1967 prohibits the commerce of wildlife and products or objects that implicate their capture, pursuit or destruction. According to this law, it is considered illegal to keep Lear's Macaws in captivity. It is important to note that since the legislation came into effect, Brazil has never issued any permits for the export of this species.

In 1992, the Brazilian Government created a Working Group today called Committee for the Preservation of Lear's Macaw. This Committee is responsible for the development and implementation of the conservation management plan for this species, which includes habitat protection, anti-poaching efforts, field conservation, research and educational programs.

Legal protection and the involvement of a number of institutions have contributed to the conservation of the Lear's Macaw in Brazil. Contributing organizations have included the Brazilian Institute for Environment and Natural Renewable Resources (IBAMA), National Fund for the Environment FNMA, Sao Paulo Zoological Foundation, Biodiversitas Foundation, Busch Gardens (USA), Houston Zoological Gardens (USA). Other groups that have supported conservation efforts include the World Parrot Trust (UK), the Wildlife Conservation Society - WCS (USA), CETREL S.A. and PETROBRAS - the Brazilian Oil Company.

The Brazilian wildlife authorities of IBAMA, in collaboration with state and local municipal agencies have been conducting a major campaign against poaching in the region. Successes include the arrest in 1995 of a smuggler called Paraiba, who was caught with a Lear's Macaw in his possession. In early 1998 the field team was able to observe a poaching attempt and apprehend the perpetrators in the act of placing the nets for the capture of the birds. In May of 1998, eight more birds were confiscated from an aviculturist called Zezão in Rondônia in northern Brazil. Despite increased security and ongoing efforts to control poaching, the Lear's Macaw populations are still threatened. Many birds are still taken from the wild by trappers - going to a few illicit collectors of rare species.

Unfortunately, Lear's Macaws are also being smuggled internationally from Brazil. In 1996 two birds that did not have any legal documentation or permits were confiscated from Mr. Lawrence Kuah Kok Choon at an airport in France. The French governmental authorities collaborated fully with the Brazilian conservation effort by repatriating the birds to Brazil. Sadly, one of the birds died at the French airport before it could be returned to Brazil.

In an international effort to conserve this species, the authorities in Singapore confiscated two Lear's Macaws from a private collection, of Mr. Lawrence Kuah Kok Choon, the same perpetrator of the episode in France. This issue and the eventual disposition of the birds is now being addressed by the Singaporean legal system. Also this year, the British government confiscated three birds from a collector in Yorkshire. The Brazilian Government has requested the repatriation of all of these birds.

There is an expectation that both the Singaporean and the British governments will support the conservation of this species by acting quickly to repatriate the confiscated birds to Brazil, following the example of the French government and according to the CITES regulations. It is hoped that, these governments will access the heaviest penalties possible under their laws and jurisdiction against the perpetrators.

The position of the Brazilian Government and the Lear's Macaw Committee is that all undocumented and illegal birds should be confiscated by the authorities of the country in which they are found, and be returned to Brazil as part of the conservation program. As there have been no official permission for legal export of Lear's Macaws from Brazil. All repatriated birds, as well as those confiscated in Brazil, will be evaluated for possible return to the wild or for participation in a coordinated captive management program.

The conservation of endangered species and the preservation of the world's biodiversity is a responsibility that all governments must take seriously. The illegal trade in rare and endangered species is a problem that has crossed national boundaries and can only be addressed through cooperation and support of all parties.

Contacts in Brazil:
Maria Iolita Bampi
Chief, Department of Wildlife
Diretoria de Ecossistemas
SAIN - Av. L-4 Norte Edificio Sede - IBAMA
70800-200 - Brasilia/DF - Brazil
(Tel ) + 55-61-225 8l50 (Fax): + 55-61-316 1067
(e-mail): mbampi@sede.ibama.gov.br
Luiz Francisco Sanfilippo
Chair of the Committee for the Preservation of Lear's Macaw
Av. Miguel Estefano 4241
04301-905 - Sao Paulo/ SP - Brazil
(Tel): + 55-l1-276 0821 (Fax): + 55-11-276 0564
(e-mail): aves@zoologico.com.br

False rumours about Spix's macaw


Recently persistent rumours have been circulating that the last remaining Spix's Macaw in the wild has disappeared. IBAMA, the Brazilian government environmental agency confirmed again today - 3.7.98 - that there is no truth in these reports. The coordinator of the Spix's Macaw project will be reporting on progress at a Brazilian ornithologists' convention this weekend in Rio de Janeiro.


Good breeding results


Neiva has reported initial good results for the breeding season 1997-8 with the Hyacinthine Macaws in the Pantanal. Further details on these will be published soon on the Blue Macaws website.


Home base for project


After searching for more than two years and several disappointments, including the withdrawal of the old schoolhouse on the Fazenda Alegria, the Projeto Arara Azul has at long last been offered a permanent home-base by an ecologically-minded landowner in the southern Pantanal. The new base will be occupied from July. Apart from accommodation for the research team it will also have a store, a laboratory and office. Neiva has been staying on ranches as well as at the government research station and has had to return to Campo Grande for stores or to analyse findings - a round trip of 500-700 km depending on where she was working. The new base will considerably ease this problem and enable Neiva and her team to work more efficiently. With 200 nest sites to monitor this will be important.


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Neiva gets married


Neiva married Joacilei Cardoso on 30th May, 1998 in her home town of Campo Grande. Joacilei is well-known locally and amongst avicultural circles in Brazil for his large striking paintings of macaws - not just Hyacinthine Macaws- using paint air brush technique. They have known each other for five years and Joacilei is fortunately extremely tolerant of the heavy demands the Hyacinthine Macaw project makes on Neiva's time and energy.

The website editor was there to take part in the proceedings along with Elly de Vries, who was bridesmaid. After the wedding ceremony there was a reception for family and close friends and then the happy pair left for their honeymoon in Cancún. We all wish them a successful, prosperous marriage! The website editor would also like to thank the ground staff of British Airways at Sao Paulo airport, who found him a seat on a return flight to London when half of Brazil seemed to be travelling to Europe for the World Cup.


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Young macaw learns to fly


Last year Neiva found a young macaw trapped in a deep nesthole, which she rescued. It had continued to be fed by the adults, but was unable to climb out of the nest. It had badly damaged feathers to its wings and tail. Neiva took it to the Animal Rescue Centre in Campo Grande to recuperate and regrow its feathers. The website editor saw it there at the end of March and can report it is able to fly in the large enclosure it is kept in. Neiva has not yet decided whether it can be returned to the wild as hoped. More news on this at a later date!.


Rancher caught with Lear's Macaws


Whilst attending Neiva's wedding at the end of May, the website editor heard about a raid carried by IBAMA, the Brazilian Environment Ministry, on a ranch in Rodônia in the far west of Brazil. There they found a large number of rare parrots, including Hyacinthine macaws, the Golden Conure (Aratinga guarouba and 7 Lear's Macaws.

Over the past two years an estimated 20 Lear's macaws have been trapped and taken from their location in northern Bahia. IBAMA has now taken steps to protect the remaining population of some 90 individuals and is actively tracking down illegally caught macaws within Brazil and abroad. Any macaws seized abroad will be repatriated to Brazil. In the meantime the 7 Lear's Macaws will be kept securely at Sao Paulo Zoo until it can be decided whether they can be returned to the wild or not. This website fully supports IBAMA in their policy of recovery and repatriation and will actively assist wherever possible in returning these stolen macaws to where they belong - the wild.


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