Blue-throated Macaw numbers only about 300 in the wild – but it’s hoped that the population will increase through acquisition of the new reserve and ongoing nest box program. Photo by Daniel Alarcon. //www.flickr.com/photos/128583429@N05/sets/72157691397221540">Additional photos are available of Blue-throated Macaw, the reserve, and nest boxes.
(Washington, D.C., August 20, 2018) The largest known group of nesting Blue-throated Macaws — a Critically Endangered species numbering only about 300 in the wild, all in Bolivia — is now a protected nature reserve, thanks to a land purchase made by Bolivian conservation organization Asociación Armonía with support from American Bird Conservancy, the International Conservation Fund of Canada, IUCN Netherlands, and World Land Trust.
The 1,680-acre (680-hectare) reserve is located in central Bolivia in the Beni savanna. Previously a cattle ranch, it is the site of Armonía’s ongoing artificial nest box program, launched in 2005 to boost the macaw’s population. Demonstrating the potential for this area to support the recovery of the species, 51 Blue-throated Macaws have since fledged from the reserve, and in 2017, a pair of macaws that fledged from the nest boxes returned to breed.
The Blue-throated Macaw has been declining in population for the last century. Habitat destruction is a key driver of this decline, including the removal and burning of large trees suitable for nesting, while capture of the birds for the international pet trade has also played a role.
The new reserve, together with Armonía’s existing Barba Azul Nature Reserve, establishes a total area of protected land for the Blue-throated Macaw of 28,862 acres (11,680 hectares).
“Increasing the Blue-throated Macaw population is more likely now that Armonía has secured this important site as a reserve,” said Rodrigo Soria, Executive Director of Asociación Armonía. “This acquisition means that we can continue the successful nest box program without worry of changing land ownership and management.”
Armonía has named the new reserve the Laney Rickman Blue-throated Macaw Reserve in tribute to Laney Rickman (1952 – 2017), founder of the Texas-based nonprofit Bird Endowment. Rickman expanded and supported the macaw nest box program since 2006 in partnership with Asociación Armonía as an annual campaign, Nido Adoptivo™, to raise funds to build and deploy the boxes.
To further honor Laney Rickman’s legacy, the Laney Rickman Blue-throated Macaw Fund has been established by her family, Asociación Armonía, and American Bird Conservancy. Donations are welcome and will provide vital long-term support for the nest box program as well as habitat conservation and reserve management. Donations received in 2018 will be matched dollar for dollar up to $100,000.
American Bird Conservancy is grateful for the generous support of the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust, the March Conservation Fund, the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory-Tropical Forest Forever Fund, David and Patricia Davidson, and an anonymous donor, who helped make the purchase of this new reserve possible.
American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@abcbirds1).
Asociación Armonía (www.armonia-bo.org) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of birds and their natural habitat in Bolivia. Armonía’s conservation actions are based on scientific studies and active involvement of local communities, respecting their culture and knowledge. Asociación Armonía is the Bolivian key partner of American Bird Conservancy, BirdLife International, ICFC, and World Land Trust.
International Conservation Fund of Canada (http://icfcanada.org) advances the long-term preservation of nature and biodiversity in the tropics and other priority areas worldwide.
IUCN Netherlands (https://www.iucn.nl) is the Dutch national committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network. Our mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.
The World Land Trust (https://www.worldlandtrust.org) is an international conservation charity that protects the world’s most biologically significant and threatened habitats acre by acre. Through a network of partner organizations around the world, WLT funds the creation of reserves and provides permanent protection for habitats and wildlife. Partnerships are developed with established and highly respected local organizations who engage support and commitment among the local community.