One of the rarest birds in the world is back

When the first Spix’s Macaw chicks were born at a breeding station in Brazil in April 2021, it was a sensation, as reported by the journal Science. Because in the 90s things looked extremely bad for the blue parrot. This spectacular bird was all but extinct in the wild.

Only one male was occasionally sighted, then lost track of it. His sad story became the inspiration for the Disney film Rio. In 1996 there were only 39 Spix’s Macaws left in the world, all of them living in captivity.

Well-known bird conservationist Nigel Collar told Science about the Spix’s macaw dilemma: « The rarer the bird became, the more it became a status symbol. » The conservationist elaborates, « The very wealthy, very passionate collectors were dying to have one, and they would do almost anything to get one. »

The Spix’s Macaw is to parrot enthusiasts what Blue Mauritius is to stamp collectors, so things were not looking good for the survival of these extraordinary birds. Wealthy businessman Martin Guth from Germany wanted to change that.

Together with the ACTP association, he managed to set up sustainable breeding for these animals near Berlin. However, this required years of persuasion among other collectors, because distrust and personal vanity were too great.

But the breeding was a success: in 2020, 52 Spix’s Macaws were flown to Brazil in a private jet. In northeastern Brazil lies the semi-desert Caatinga, the original home of the Spix’s Macaws.

It rarely rains in this barren landscape. Best conditions for the sensitive bluebirds. That’s why the club’s state-of-the-art sanctuary is located there. On the ATCP homepage, it says: The birds should feel as comfortable as possible in order to be able to prepare for the newly won freedom.

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