Hope ahead for the Spix's macaw?
Pairi Daiza, a zoo located in Brugelette in the province of Hainaut, is taking action to reintroduce the Spix's macaw, also known as the little blue macaw, in its natural habitat, South America, in 2019.
Macaws are colourful, long-tailed members of the parrot family. Most of them live in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. The Spix's macaw, made famous in the American computer-animated film Rio in 2011, became extinct in the wild in 2000 due to massive deforestation and commercial hunting. Poachers could earn thousands of dollars per bird. They were used as decoration or ended up, in top secret, in a cage belonging to some private individual.
The only remaining survivors are in captivity. The four macaws - two males and two females - at Pairi Daiza come from a foundation in Berlin, which received every one of its 120 birds from the children of a deceased sheik from Qatar. He dedicated his life to convincing all owners to entrust their macaw to him in order to save the species. The intention is for the four birds to mate and produce offspring. The offspring will then be released as from 2019 in their habitat, a well-protected territory in the Northeast Region of Brazil. The aim after that is for ten birds to be added every year, until the population is strong and stable enough to survive alone. A breeding centre will also be set up in Brazil charged with monitoring the reintroduction of the Spix's macaw into the wild.