Guest blogger: Brianna Grandstaff, Zoo Academy student
Hi, my name is Brianna Grandstaff, and I am a junior at the Zoo Academy. I am writing this blog because I am big about conserving our wild world. I wrote a blog back in October talking about great apes and conservation. Now, this time I am going to write a blog on what the Cincinnati Zoo does to help save blue-throated macaws in the wild.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden supports more than 30 field conservation projects and participates in dozens of Species Survival Plans to prevent species’ extinction. One of those species we are actively helping to save through breeding here at the Zoo and protection in the wild is the blue-throated macaw (Ara glaucogularis).
What are blue-throated macaws? These super colorful South American parrots have a three foot wingspan. The backs of their wings along with their back are a dull turquoise. The underpart of their wings along with their stomachs are a bright yellow. And as the name suggests, they also have a beautiful turquoise color on their throats.
On the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the blue-throated macaw is listed as Critically Endangered. Only a small population of about 250 to 300 individuals nest on islands of palm trees and survives in just one country, Bolivia. Most of their known breeding sites have been converted into cattle ranches. The pet trade has also contributed to the decline in the species, including using their feathers in traditional dances.
The Cincinnati Zoo has been funding blue-throated macaw conservation in the wild through a non-profit organization, Asociación Armonía, for quite some time now. The most recent funds we provided led to the discovery of a new breeding area in February 2017.
We also sponsor a nest box as part of the Nido Adopito program to add supplemental breeding sites for wild macaws. In 2017, nine blue-throated macaw chicks fledged from nest boxes! If you want to be a part of this ongoing conservation project, consider sponsoring a nest box here.
Not only are we helping with field projects, but we are also helping inside the Zoo, too. We participate in the blue-throated macaw Species Survival Plan. We have two pairs of macaws that we hope will breed and contribute to the population in the near future. Though they are not on public view currently, guests can see other macaw species outside the Wings of the World building, in Discovery Forest, and in the Wings of Wonder experience at the amphitheater this summer.
Thank you for reading my blog on blue-throated macaws. I hope you feel inspired to conserve our Earth along with everything on it. Remember reduce, reuse, and recycle!