(Washington, D.C., August 20, 2018) An area holding the largest known group of nesting Blue-throated Macaws (Ara glaucogularis) — 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 and NatureServe network member 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.
Asociación Armonía (http://armoniabolivia.org), is the leading bird conservation organization in Bolivia, the sixth richest country in the planet in terms of avian diversity. Armonía’s long term efforts have not only resulted in the preservation of key biodiversity areas in the country, but also resulted in the first illustrated field guide for Bolivian birds, an initiative that leverages and integrates information about specimen collections hosted in museums with research-grade observations collected over 20 years. As a Bolivian, I am particularly proud of this organization, and NatureServe is honored to have Armonía as a member of its network!
Miguel Fernandez, Ph.D.
Director, Latin America and Caribbean Programs
Office: (703) 908-1850