Nine Lear’s Macaws raised in Loro Parque Foundación relocated to Brazil

March 1st, 2016 | by LubosTomiska
Nine Lear’s Macaws raised in Loro Parque Foundación relocated to Brazil
Conservation projects
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The Lear’s Macaw is one of the most threatened parrots in the world. According to BirdLife data, this species is classified as “endangered” and its wild population counts slightly over a thousand individuals. Therefore, intensive conservation activities have been realized and they include protection of both captive and wild population. In the last week, Loro Parque Foundación (LPF) provided nine individuals to the Brazilian bird park Parque das Aves. As the director of LPF David Waugh says, it is a very important step for the breeding program:

“The transfer of the nine Lear’s Macaws was the biggest repatriation ever of this species to its native Brazil, and occurred as part of the Lear’s Macaw Conservation Program in partnership with the Government of Brazil, which has ownership of all the birds in the program. They were all born in the breeding centre of the Loro Parque Fundación (LPF) in Tenerife, Spain, which has bred 36 young birds since 2007. In November 2006, the LPF first received two pairs of Lear’s Macaws on deposit from the Government of Brazil.”

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Representatives of Loro Parque Foundacion and Parque das Aves together with the nine Lear’s Macaws

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LPF and Al Wabra from Qatar are the only two facilities in the world which have been breeding Lear’s macaws on regular basis. In total, both institutions raised more than 70 individuals. In the last year, Sao Paolo ZOO was the first Brazilian ZOO which bred this species. According to the bird curator of LPF Dr. Juan Cornejo, all the young birds are offsprings of five breeding pairs:
“More than 70 chicks have been raised and the population is growing well, however more than half of the current population descends from those five pairs, and that doesn’t help to increase the genetic diversity of the population.”

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Juan Cornejo with the nine Lear’s Macaws (c) Parque das Aves fb page

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Veterinary check of the Lear’s Macaws at Sao Paolo airport

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Cornejo says that the high priority of the program is to set up more breeding pairs with different genes:
“We need to reproduce more of the founders, the birds that come form the wild. There are currently many in captivity and have unique genes, if they die before passing them to the next generation that genetic material will be lost forever from the population. So the priorities of the program right now are to get more of the wild born birds to breed and to equalize the representation of the current breeding pairs.”

Brazil will probably send some Lear’s Macaws back so LPF can enrich their group with new bloodline.  At this moment, there are six breeding pairs all over the world involved in the conservation program. Al Wabra has three breeding pairs, LPF has two pairs and Sao Paolo ZOO one pair. Most likely, a few private breeders also breed this species but they are not involved in the breeding program.

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 MacawsGrey Parrots soft Incubation Handraising

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The program gets two European institutions

Within the last couple of years two European facilities joined the conservation program – Prague ZOO and ACTP. According to the CITES statistics, Prague ZOO has five birds at this moment. Three of them were confiscated six years ago in the Czech Republic from a private breeder. They were imported illegally and presented as Hyacinth Macaws. The owner was sentenced to four years in prison. The other two birds came to Prague from Switzerland. The ZOO started building a new bird house focused on parrots where Lear’s Macaws will be exhibited.

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ACTP imported six birds in the last year. Three individuals come from Al Wabra, the rest from Brazil.

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Title photo: (c) Parque das Aves fb page

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