Sunday, March 25, 2007

ENV: Lear's Macaw efforts

Land Purchase Helps to Save Endangered Parrot

American Bird Conservancy has teamed up with the Brazilian conservation group Fundação Biodiversitas and the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund to purchase more than 3,000 acres of vital habitat to protect the Lear’s Macaw, one of the worlds’ most endangered birds. The project will protect key nesting sites; ensure their protection through hiring of forest guards, and support education efforts in local communities.

“The Critically Endangered Lear's Macaw is one of the rarest and most spectacular of the world’s parrots,” said George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy. “We are grateful for the support of the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund and the outstanding work of Biodiversitas to conserve a species that is on the brink of extinction.”

The Lear’s Macaw and the protection of its habitat are priorities for the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE), a global initiative that aims to protect critically endangered and endangered species that depend on single sites for their survival. Recent surveys suggest that only 451 individual macaws survive in the state of Bahia in northeast Brazil.

“The protection of such a vital site for the Lear’s Macaw, through the expansion of the Canudos Biological Station, is a huge step towards the preservation of the species,” said Eduardo Figueiredo, Coordinator of the Biodiversitas Lear’s Macaw Conservation Program. “Important partners such as American Bird Conservancy and Disney are fundamental to keep us working for the conservation of such a wonderful and threatened bird.”

“This large blue macaw faces several severe threats to its continued existence in the wild,” said Michael J. Parr, Vice President of American Bird Conservancy and co-author of A Guide to the Parrots of the World. “It requires constant protection from the illegal wild bird trade while the licuri palm, on which the bird depends, is becoming increasingly scarce. The key area for the species includes sandstone cliffs where it roosts and nests and where it is vulnerable to illegal trappers.”

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