Land Purchase Helps to Save Endangered Parrot

(Washington DC, March 5, 2007) American Bird Conservancy has teamed up with the Brazilian conservation group Fundação Biodiversitas and the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund to purchase more than 3,000 acres of vital habitat to protect the Lear’s Macaw, one of the worlds’ most endangered birds. The project will protect key nesting sites; ensure their protection through hiring of forest guards, and support education efforts in local communities. “The Critically Endangered Lear's Macaw is one of the rarest and most spectacular of the world’s parrots,” said George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy. “We are grateful for the support of the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund and the outstanding work of Biodiversitas to conserve a species that is on the brink of extinction.” The Lear’s Macaw and the protection of its habitat are priorities for the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE), a global initiative that aims to protect critically endangered and endangered species that depend on single sites for their survival. Recent surveys suggest that only 451 individual macaws survive in the state of Bahia in northeast Brazil. “The protection of such a vital site for the Lear’s Macaw, through the expansion of the Canudos Biological Station, is a huge step towards the preservation of the species,” said Eduardo Figueiredo. “Important partners such as American Bird Conservancy and Disney are fundamental to keep us working for the conservation of such a wonderful and threatened bird.” “This large blue macaw faces several severe threats to its continued existence in the wild,” said Michael J. Parr, Vice President of American Bird Conservancy and co-author of A Guide to the Parrots of the World. “It requires constant protection from the illegal wild bird trade while the licuri palm, on which the bird depends, is becoming increasingly scarce. They key area for the species includes sandstone cliffs where it roosts and nests and where it is vulnerable to illegal trappers.” #30# American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is the only 501(c)(3) organization that works solely to conserve native wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC is a membership organization that is consistently awarded a top, four-star rating by the independent group, Charity Navigator. The Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund (DWCF) was established in 1995 as a global awards program for the study and protection of the world's wildlife and ecosystems. It provides annual awards to US nonprofit conservation organizations working alongside their peers in other countries. Many of the recipient organizations concentrate their activities on "biological hotspots" -- areas rich in plant and animal life at risk of imminent destruction. Since its inception, the fund has contributed more than $10 million, distributed among 550 projects in more than 100 countries. Fundação Biodiversitas is a Brazilian non-profit, non-governmental environmental organization dedicated exclusively to the conservation of biodiversity, with an emphasis on threatened and endangered species.