The blue-throated macaws called Barba Azul in Spanish only exist in Bolivia. The birds are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and were also recently listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The Barba Azul Nature Reserve is the only protected habitat on Earth, home to the largest known concentration of blue throated macaws in nature. Like many other birds and parrots the blue throated macaw has struggled with problems of habitat loss and the international pet trade. It is estimated that at least 1,200 of these blue throated macaws were taken from Bolivia in the 1980’s to make pets elsewhere. The situation hasn’t been helped by human activities like burning, logging and cattle ranching.
The Barba Azul Nature Reserve has managed to expand it’s reserve, nearly doubling the size of the land, from 12,350 acres to 27,180 in one fell swoop. This was all possible courtesy Bolivia’s Asociación Armonía, and marks a major victory for the embattled birds. Bennett Hennessey, director of Asociación Armonía, says in a statement. “Doubling the size of the Barba Azul Nature Reserve is an excellent example of conservation groups combining their effort to achieve a massive conservation product.”
Since cattle has been excluded from the reserve, has spurred an ecological comeback helped by the artificial nest boxes that offer more nesting opportunities for blue-throated macaws. The reserve is not only home to the blue throated macaws but also houses some 250 other bird species, as well as 27 medium and large mammals like giant anteaters, pampas cats, maned wolves, marsh deer and capybaras. The expansion efforts outside conservation groups including American Bird Conservancy, Rainforest Trust, World Land Trust, Loro Parque Fundación, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Grants Program including Asociacion Armonia demonstrates how this coalition of conservationists is determined to protect these endangered birds.