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04/11/2015 - 19:27hs

Brazil received Spix's macaws from Qatar

The birds were brought as per an agreement between the Brazilian Environment Minister and the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation, which protects, in captivity, endangered or extinct species.

São Paulo – In a new stage of its attempt at reintroducing blue macaws into the wild, in late October, the Brazilian Ministry of Environment received two specimens of the species, belonging to the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation, an organization for the preservation of endangered species in Doha, Qatar. In January of this year, ANBA had reported that Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade (ICMBio), a biodiversity institute affiliated with the Environment Ministry, was about to request birds from Al Wabra. (Scroll down for link)

The Environment Ministry reported this Wednesday (4th) that Al Wabra had shipped a couple of ‘ararinhas’ (the Portuguese nickname for the macaws) to Brazil. They arrived on October 26th at the São Paulo International Airport, from where they were taken to a quarantined facility of the Ministry of Agriculture in Cananeia, on the São Paulo coast. The birds will be kept there until early next week.

Named Rory and Amber, the birds were brought to Brazil to mate and breed offspring. The Brazilian Environment Ministry reported that the director of its Species Department (Desp/MMA), Ugo Vercillo, expects to get more birds from Al Wabra and partner up with the Doha-based facility to create a center in the Caatinga (Brazilian savannah), their natural habitat, in which to breed and release the animals.

The blue macaw is endemic to the municipality of Curaçá, in the state of Bahia, where Al Wabra owns a farm. The bird, however, is extinct in the wild and only exists in captivity. Some of the places where the animal is preserved are located in Brazil, Qatar and Germany. The Cyanopsitta spixii, which came from Qatar, is one of four species of macaws known to man that are completely blue. One species became extinct in 1892. Another species lives in the Ceará state’s Juazeiro do Norte area, and yet another one dwells in the Pantanal. They are bigger than the Spix’s macaw, which can measure up to 57 centimeters and has a lifespan of approximately 40 years.

The Environment Ministry plans to start trials to release the birds into the wild in 2017, and to actually start returning the animals to nature by 2021. This, however, will hinge on the cooperation of the organizations that own the animals, which will need to breed them in larger numbers and gradually decrease their contact with humans. In order to return to their habitat, the animals must “know” their predators and be able to find food.

Al Wabra was managed by the former Qatari minister of Culture, Saoud Bin Mohammed Bin Al Thani, who passed away last year. Besides blue macaws, Al Thani and the Al Wabra professionals devote themselves to preservation of antelopes, gazelles and plants.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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