Rare macaw refuge destroyed
Parrots magazine|November 2020
A rare bird sanctuary in Brazil, which is home to 15 per cent of the world’s population of Hyacinth and Lear’s Macaws, has been destroyed by fires, and there are now fears for the survival of these blue macaws. “It is very sad to see decades of my family’s work, years taking care and preserving nature, for this to happen,” said Ana Maria Barreto, owner of the São Francisco do Perigara, a cattle ranch and bird sanctuary of more than 61,000 acres in Mato Grosso state.

More than 70 per cent of the farm’s vegetation was destroyed by the blaze. “It is an unprecedented disaster. Between 700 and 1000 blue macaws lived on the ranch, which is the largest known population of free macaws in the world,” Barreto said.

The total world population of blue macaws is estimated to be about 6,500 birds, according to Arara Azul Institute, which advocates for environmental conservation. The birds are threatened with extinction and live in nature only in Brazil.

Most of the birds may have flown to safer locations, said Neiva Guedes, president of the institute. “They can manage to escape fires because they fly, but soon they will run out of food, and that is what we think will affect them most.” The blue macaws survive on fruits and nuts and, as forests burn, so does their food,” Guedes added.

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