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down-graded from Critically Endangered to Endangered. By 2010 the population was believed to number approximately 1,125 individuals. In 2006 the estimate was 500 individuals. The increase was partly the result of improved protection measures, also due to improved censusing techniques. The latest census was carried out in November 2013 by scientists and 30 volunteers, mainly students sponsored by CEMAVE. The result, according to ICMBio/CEMAVE data, was an estimated 1,283 macaws, an increase of 20 individuals from the 2012 figure. It is thought that the increase might have been greater but for the severe drought in the region.


The two most important roosting/ breeding sites are protected. Toca Velha is within the Biological Station of Canudos, owned by Biodiversitas Foundation. It was created in 1989 with 160 ha and has since been increased with the purchase of land to 1,450 ha. The aim is to conserve the macaw and all the biological diversity and to create


The two most important roosting/ breeding sites are protected. Toca Velha is within the Biological Station of Canudos, owned by Biodiversitas Foundation. It was created in 1989 with 160 ha and has since been increased with the purchase of land to 1,450 ha.


a RPPN (Private Reserve of Natural Heritage). This is a voluntary act by the owner who does not lose ownership. In this kind of conservation area research is allowed and it is open to the public with tourism, education and recreation purposes. There is also an educational centre in Canudos, with videos and books that can be consulted by teachers and students.


The second roosting/breeding site is in the Ecological Station of Raso da Catarina, a Federal Conservation Unit, in Jeremoabo. It is adjacent to the Serra Branca Farm owned by Otávio Nolasco. For many years he has been protecting the macaws with guards that patrol the area to deter trappers. He also provides corn and licuri nuts to try to prevent the macaws travelling too far in search of food, where they might be shot. Why do Lear’s macaws need our help when their numbers continue to increase? The answer is that without ongoing protection and assisting farmers, the population would soon decline.


Biodiversitas started a unique programme in 2005 to compensate farmers whose corn crops are eaten by the macaws. Note that half the Parrpt Society’s donation has gone to this project. Parrots International, in the USA, has been a major contributor. Speaking at their 2010 conference in San Diego, the director, Mark Stafford, reported that in April 2006, 12 tons of corn were distributed -- and the same amount


40 BIRD SCENE


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