24 September 2002
Tenerife, Spain - 24 September 2002 - Today a female Spix´s macaw Cyanopsitta spixii, the rarest bird in the world, will be repatriated from Spain to its native country Brazil. This long-tailed, all blue parrot is extinct in the wild state, but there are now more than 60 Spix´s macaws in a captive breeding programme for the recovery and eventual restoration of the species to its natural habitat.
The recovery effort is coordinated by the Brazilian Government Institute for Environment and Natural Renewable Resources, IBAMA, and the priceless female macaw will be accompanied on its journey to Brazil by Dr Iolita Bampi, General Coordinator of Fauna of IBAMA. As part of the captive breeding and recovery programme, this bird has been maintained on behalf of the Brazilian Government by the Loro Parque Fundación within its breeding centre in Tenerife, Spain. The Fundación, an international conservation NGO, has been the principal funding agency for the recovery effort to date, and several years ago returned ownership of all Spix´s macaws in its possession to the Brazilian Government. On arrival in Brazil, this female will be paired with a carefully selected mate to improve the breeding programme. In parallel with the strengthening of the captive population, the crucial work of protection and restoration of the specialised habitat of this species will continue in the north-east of Brazil. Remarking on the importance of today´s transfer, Dr Bampi said " as part of the Brazilian Government´s strong commitment to biodiversity conservation, we continue our efforts to save the Spix´s macaw in partnership with the Loro Parque Fundación, and the repatriation of this bird is practical evidence of effective collaboration".
A further important development related to the survival of the Spix´s macaw occurred during the 5th International Parrot Convention hosted by the Loro Parque Fundación in Tenerife on 18 to 21 September 2002. In a landmark vote of the 850 delegates to the Convention, by a 6:1 majority they voted for the urgent return of ownership to the Brazilian Government of the Spix´s macaws currently in the possession of the few other private holders of this species in captivity. The decisive outcome of this vote was based on the strong belief that recovery of this rarest of all birds will best occur with Brazilian Government ownership and coordination of the programme. All holders would continue to maintain and breed the macaws in their own breeding centres on behalf of the Brazilian Government. The importance of this vote is underlined by the fact that it represents the view of the broadest possible range of
interests in parrot aviculture, science and conservation. Following the vote, Mr Wolfgang Kiessling, President of the Fundación remarked " the Loro Parque Fundación has a deep commitment to the survival of the Spix´s macaw, an emblem for the rest of nature, and the result of this vote is clear evidence that the majority of aviculturists and conservationists believe this species will be best restored to nature with all birds in the ownership of the Brazilian Government".
For More Information Please Contact:
Dr Maria Iolita Bampi, General Coordinator of Fauna, Institute for Environment and Natural Renewable Resources (Coordenadora Geral de Fauna, Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis - IBAMA).
Tel: ++ 55 61 316-1165 ++ 55 61 225-8150
In Tenerife, Spain:
Dr David Waugh, Environmental Advisor, Loro Parque Fundación