Habitat Loss and Climate Change Sends the Hyacinth Macaw Reeling Back into Endangered Status

Environmental News from America:

  • The hyacinth macaw, the world’s largest flying parrot, is closer to returning to Brazil’s endangered species list, less than a decade after intensive conservation efforts succeeded in getting it off the list.
  • The latest assessment still needs to be made official by the Ministry of the Environment, which is likely to publish the updated endangered species list next year.
  • Conservation experts attribute the bird’s decline to the loss of its habitat due to fires in the Pantanal wetlands and ongoing deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes.
  • Climate change also poses a serious threat, subjecting the birds to temperature swings that can kill eggs and hatchlings, and driving heavy rainfall that floods their preferred nesting sites.

Less than a decade since conservation actions helped pull the hyacinth macaw out of Brazil’s endangered species list, the iconic cobalt-blue bird is back in the red, driven there by the loss of its habitat and a changing climate.

Brazil’s National Center for Research and Conservation of Wild Birds (Cemave) updated the bird’s category, from vulnerable, at the end of April, following an assessment conducted with outside experts of the species’ extinction risk based on IUCN Red List criteria.

The hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) remains in the vulnerable category on the IUCN Red List, which assesses its conservation status across its global range, which includes Bolivia and Paraguay.

The change to endangered status in Brazil isn’t official yet. Cemave still needs to submit its findings to the National Biodiversity Commission for analysis and approval of the change to the hyacinth macaw’s place on the National List of Endangered Species. There’s no deadline, however, for these steps to be completed. The last edition of the list was published on June 7 and includes species that were assessed between 2015 and May 2021.

“That year, the data showed that the conservation efforts, carried out, especially by the Hyacinth Macaw Institute, were keeping the largest population of this species, located in the Pantanal biome, in a safer condition,” Priscilla do Amaral, the Cemave coordinator, told Mongabay by phone. “It is not comfortable being in the vulnerable category, but compared to the previous situation, we had a more optimistic scenario.”

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Source: Mongabay

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