African Lion Safari Sends 8 Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaws to Bolivia

HomeBlogAfrican Lion Safari Sends 8 Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaws to Bolivia

A partnership between African Lion Safari, the World Parrot Trust and Fundación CLB (Conservation Loros Bolivianos) in Bolivia dedicated to ensuring a future for the country’s most endangered bird.

Blue-throated Macaws at CLB’s Silvestre Wildlife Custody Center “Paraba Barba Azul” in Bolivia
Blue throated Macaws from African Lion Safari at CLBs Silvestre Wildlife Custody Center Paraba Barba Azul

Hamilton, Ontario –African Lion Safari successfully delivered eight critically endangered Blue-throated Macaws (Ara glaucogularis) to their home range in northern Bolivia with the hope of helping to restore this jeopardized bird’s wild population. Working alongside the World Parrot Trust (WPT), Fundación CLB and members of the Ministry of Environment, Biodiversity and Climate Change and Forest Management and Development (DGBAP), the macaws were delivered to CLB’s Silvestre Wildlife Custody Center “Paraba Barba Azul” on September 27th of this year. The small flock of birds will remain under observation as they await the development of the Species Management Plan that will chart their species’ path back to recovery in the wild.

The unique opportunity that kickstarted African Lion Safari’s involvement in the species’ recovery arose in 2014 when the park increased their flock in Canada from two to 28 individuals by partnering with the World Parrot Trust. The goal of both organizations was to one day send the critically endangered species back to its native country.

“When we have these animals under human care, one of the purposes of a captive population is to act as an insurance for the wild population.” Explains Andrea Morgan of African Lion Safari, “So, if the wild birds do need help, we have a viable group of birds to assist their wild counterparts.” With an estimated population of fewer than 400 individuals in the wild, the Blue-throated Macaw is among the most endangered parrots on Earth.

In 2018, African Lion Safari began to focus its efforts on establishing genetically diverse breeding pairs within this ex situ population. For close to 10 years, the team has worked tirelessly to overcome breeding challenges with this unique macaw. In the end, the programme saw monumental success with the hatching of 10 chicks over the last five years. “That’s why it is crucial for zoos and aquariums to exist,” says Andrea. “The insurance populations allow us to return the species to its home country, like this partnership with Bolivia.”

Blue Throated Macaw Chicks
Two Blue throated Macaw chicks hatched at African Lion Safari in 2018

At the same time as completing the import permits, supporting documentation and health certificates, Bolivian-based Fundación CLB Director Rafael Mounzon has been working alongside members of the Bolivian Ministry of Environment, Biodiversity and Climate Change and Forest Management and Development (DGBAP) to obtain permission and coordinate this extraordinary endeavour.

Mounzon explains, “It has been a huge effort to join the government and various institutions who work with us to bring the Blue-throats here. The eight macaws that just arrived are safe and in an enriched quarantine aviary and are beginning to learn about the trunks, leaves and fruits of their natural environment, while they are observed and studied by our team.”
In the meantime, CLB continues collaborating with other organizations and government agencies on developing a Species Management Plan that will direct the implementation of all necessary conservation actions to help preserve the macaws and their natural environment.

Mounzon hopes that within a few years of the bird’s arrival, the team in Bolivia will have everything prepared to start reproducing the birds and consider where they and their offspring will be able to assist in restoring the species in Bolivia.

As Andrea Morgan says, “These lucky few birds will soon be able to contribute to the survival of their species, birds that are in vital need of all of the support they can get.”

To learn more about our Blue-throated Macaw Conservation Programme, click here.

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