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Two chicks of Spix’s Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) species considered extinct in the wild since 2000, were born in the scientific breeder “Nest” (in late October), in São Paulo. With about nine weeks, the chicks are under the care of the Nest of team, institution registered in the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) and authorized by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA). Originally from Curaçá region of Bahia, the Spix’s Macaw had decimated its population, mainly due to the pet trade. Today, there are 92 birds in captivity, of which only 11 are in Brazil.
It is the first case of reproduction of Spix’s macaws in the country on the last 14 years and it was celebrated by everyone involved in the Project Spix’s in the Nature (Projeto Ararinha na Natureza), which aims to reproduce the birds in breeders and in the future reintroduce them in their natural habitat, the Caatinga . Coordinated by the National Center for Research and Conservation of Wild Birds (CEMAVE / ICMBio), the project has a partnership with Vale and civil society non-profit organizations, such as the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (Funbio) and the Society for the Conservation of Birds of Brazil (SAVE Brazil).
“We had a very great success. The birth of the chicks is the biggest gain from the project, not only for science but also for society. This enables us to continue the proposed reintroduction of the species in their natural environment,” said Gleuza Jesué , Director of Environment of the Valley. Importantly, maintainers of the Spix’s Macaw in Brazil and abroad work to enable the reproduction of the species in captivity: Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation in Qatar; the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (PTCA), Germany; the breeding Nest and the Lymington Foundation in Brazil.
According to Patricia Serafini, environmental analyst of CEMAVE / ICMBio and coordinator of the Program Captive Spix’s Macaw (Programa de Cativeiro da Ararinha-azul), bird reproduction is made in coordination between the breeder, leading the management of all individuals as a single population. Also according to the coordinator, the Project Spix’s in the Nature (Projeto Ararinha na Natureza) is part of the implementation of the National Plan of Action for the Conservation of Spix’s Macaw, consolidated in 2011 by ICMBio. “The project has two fronts: the reproduction and management of the species in captivity and the field work, which involves environmental education, community awareness and creation of protected areas,” explained Patricia.
“The birth of the chicks is a result of the commitment and coordination of the various partners of the project, made possible by the Fauna Fund (Carteira Fauna), innovative mechanism created by Funbio, which provides funding for conservation projects through grants such as the Vale and also for sponsorship and resources coming from criminal penalties”, pointed Rosa Lemos de Sa, CEO of Funbio.
For the general coordinator Management for Conservation of ICMBio, Ugo Vercillo, the birth of macaws shows that all the efforts made in recent years is paying off. “The arrival of these chicks is a major breakthrough for the country. This step was made possible by the Brazilian professionals working in cooperation with experts from Germany and Qatar,” he said. The last captive breeding made in Brazil was 14 years ago and resulted in the birth of a macaw named Blossom, mother of the chicks that just arrived. “After the formalization of all instruments, such as the National Action Plan, this was the first time we can breed the Spix’s Macaw” celebrated Vercillo.
The goal now, according to the coordinator Patricia Serafini, is to increase the number of birds to 150 individuals and reintroduce them in the wild by 2021. In addition, have been made the previous study and diagnosis necessary for the creation of a protected area (UC) in the region of Curaçá (BA), which will enable a suitable environment for the return of the Spix’s Macaw to their habitat. “We are thrilled and fondly watching these chicks, which were highly anticipated. We hope to be the first of many,” Patricia said.
The birth of the chicks
The arrival of macaws occurred on different days (25 and 27 October) and the breeding Nest team chose the most natural methods possible. Since pairing couple, in October 2013, through spontaneous copulation, until the eggs hatch: everything was done in an attempt to minimize human intervention.
“In the first weeks, the feeding of the chicks was also made by the parents, without further interference. Now, we are continuing manually,” said the vet Nest Ramiro Dias, responsible for monitoring the birds. Work done in conjunction with Ricardo Pereira, teacher at the São Paulo University (USP), and a biologist from Sao Paulo Zoo, Fernanda Junqueira. According to Ramiro, the chicks were born with about 15 grams (the weight of an adult ranges 310-340 grams) and they are healthy and developing exceptionally well. For him the parents, Flower and Blu, took very good care of their young.
The sex of the birds are not defined yet (the genetic material is being analyzed), the macaws should have their names chosen by public vote, which will be promoted by ICMBio through social networks.
About the project partners
National Center for Research and Conservation of Wild Birds (CEMAVE)
Initially linked to IBAMA and today ICMBio, CEMAVE was created in 1977 with the aim of spreading and coordinate banding as a research technique with birds at the national level through the National Banding System. Currently serves on the development of research with Brazilian birds, being responsible for evaluating the conservation status of Brazilian birds, endangered species list, preparation and coordination of National Action Plans for threatened species, monitoring the effectiveness of the Federal Protected Areas and programs monitoring related to environmental licensing at the federal level. http://www.icmbio.gov.br/cemave
Society for the Conservation of Birds of Brazil (SAVE Brazil)
The Society for the Conservation of Birds of Brazil is a civil non-profit society dedicated to the preservation of Brazilian birds. The SAVE Brazil represents the alliance with BirdLife International in the country and shares their priorities, policies and conservation programs to implement the overall objectives of the alliance at national level. With consolidated experience of over 10 years in conservation of biodiversity, SAVE Brazil develops programs and projects together with non-governmental organizations, governments, local communities and businesses, with a mission to preserve birds and natural environments for a healthy planet for present and future generations. www.savebrasil.org.br
Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (Funbio – Carteira Fauna Brasil)
The Brazilian Biodiversity Fund is a civil non-profit organization that mobilizes resources and provides services for the conservation of biodiversity as: design and management of financial mechanisms, selection and project management, procurement and contracting for environmental projects and joint actors in national and international networks. Administered by Funbio, the Fund for Fauna Conservation and for Fishing Resources Brazilians – Fund Fauna Brazil, is the result of a partnership with IBAMA, ICMBio and federal prosecutors, and aims to fund conservation programs and projects of the Brazilian fauna with funds from criminal penalties, environmental administrative fines, donations, sponsorships and other fontes.www.funbio.org.br
A leading global producer of iron ore and pellets, Vale is based in Brazil and operates in over 30 countries on five continents. The company’s mission is to transform natural resources into prosperity and sustainable development, working in a responsible and committed way to the sustainability of their business. Vale protects or helps to protect more than 12,400 square kilometers of natural areas, which are almost 2.5 times greater than the sum of its operating units, of 4900 km². Protected areas cover the Amazon biome, Atlantic Forest and transition between the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado – all of high value for biodiversity conservation. In 2013, Vale invested about $ 1.3 billion in environmental initiatives. More information about the company at: www.vale.com.
Al-Wabra Wildlife Preservation
Al-Wabra farm is an oasis of greenery, palm trees and many rare wildlife from all over the world. Driven by passion to the nature of Sheik Saoud Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Thani, an international team of veterinary experts, biologists and breeders dedicated to the care and conservation of rare animals and, largely endangered, which can be found on the farm. awwp.alwabra.com
PTCA – Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots
The Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots – PTCA) is a registered non-profit organization with the goal of preserving threatened birds and their habitats around the world, using rare species of parrot as examples and ambassadors for the total conservation of ecosystems and communities of birds. In a world where an increasing number of threatened species and habitats struggle for sources of funding that do not increase adequately PTCA will develop and apply new methods for financing the conservation of parrots, following the principle of “Can Wildlife Pay for Itself? “. To achieve these objectives, the PTCA will cooperate with scientific institutions, international conservation organizations, government authorities and the large community of institutional and private breeders of parrots. www.act-parrots.eu
Authorized by IBAMA, the Nest – New Ecological Scientific Treatment is a scientific breeder of wildlife for conservation purposes. It is a private institution, nonprofit, whose principles the welfare, protection and conservation of parrots. The site is a reception center and study of three Brazilian-blue macaws: Hyacinth Macaw, Indigo Macaw and Spix’s Macaw.
Lymington Foundation is a Brazilian foundation established in 2004. Their land, buildings and facilities were donated by the founders and it is now the site of a breeder center of endangered birds. The foundation collaborates with IBAMA, ICMBio, CEMAVE, Environment Secretary and Sao Paulo Government of São Pauo. The Foundation provides support and infrastructure for university courses undergraduate and postgraduate studies, as well as a platform for public and private environmental activities.