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Bolivia's boost for blue-throats

High-res-loreto-Jose-Antonio-Diaz-LuqueTHE BOLIVIAN GOVERNMENT, and partners including the World Parrot Trust (WPT), have announced a huge new protected area, primarily aimed at the conservation of the world’s rarest wild macaw.

The protected 1.4 million acres is critical habitat for blue-throated macaw (Ara glaucogularis), and is home to 35 per cent of its known wild population and 50 per cent of known breeding pairs.

Since 2016, residents of Loreto, a township in Beni Department, northern Bolivia, have worked with government officials and NGOs to establish a new conservation area to protect these macaws.

On February 22, after months of meetings and workshops, the initiative was concluded with the declaration of the Municipal Park and Natural Area of Integrated Management Gran Mojos (or APM Gran Mojos), created by and for the villagers of Loreto.

Alison Hales, trustee and chair of the WPT, Cornwall, said: “This is the world’s rarest wild macaw and the WPT has been working on its conservation for more than 15 years. Big threats to its survival are habitat loss and poaching, so the declaration of the new protected area is a major step forward.

“The Trust’s project is a complex conservation programme: it combines handson field work to maximise breeding with population surveys, publishing scientific papers, local educational outreach and a captive breeding centre.”

She continued: “The APM Gran Mojas will very likely to be the key to turning around the fortune of this species – it was people living locally who chose to protect their natural resources. This is vital so that managing the habitat and wildlife is fully supported and laws enforced.”

The Trust’s project manager in Bolivia, Jose Antonio Díaz Luque, has attended two or three meetings and led workshops each month since last year. He said: “We should be very glad knowing that the WPT was one of the key institutions of this process to create the area. This is going to be part of the story, the story that cannot be changed forever.”

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