|Biological Diversity 2003||
Distribution of Andorhynchus hyacinthinus
This independent, Brazilian, NGO works as part of the largest nature
protection network in the world to “bring into balance human activities”
and encourage biodiversity and sustainable uses of resources (WWF, accessed
is a non-profit organization that maintains a private nature reserve
in Bahia, Brazil and uses scientific research, environmental education,
land purchase, and low-impact eco-tourism to “confront the multi
faceted threats to the global ecological well being” (BioBrasil,
The Minnesota Zoo holds an annual "World of Birds" free flight
show to benefit numerous Minnesota Zoo-based conservation organizations
as well as
WILD is an international organization working to preserve and reduce the human impacts in wilderness areas from a belief in the “benefits of wild nature and the vital ecological services” from these areas (WILD, accessed 3/31/03).
The hyacinth is listed under Apendix II of the CITES list. The species on this list are "threatened with extinction" and therefore trade of these species are illegal. The hyacinth was listed under this appendix in October 1987. On the IUCN Red List, the hyacinth is listed as EN A1bcd+2bcd. This means that there has been a 50% reduction in the past 10 years or 3 generations and that a 50% reduction is expected in the next 10 years or 3 generations.
Hyacinth macaws are endangered for several reasons. Primarily their habitat is under assault. Hyacinth macaws are reliant on a very few types of trees and a fairly precise habitat. Two types of palm trees are the primary food sources (WWF accessed 3/31/03). It was also found that in the Pantanal region of Brazil the 90% of the hyacinth macaws nested in a single type of tree, the manduvi, requiring preexisting holes in the trees which they then enlarge and improve upon (WWF accessed 3/31/03).
WWF estimates place the international illegal plant and animal trade in the tens of billions of dollars per year. Every year millions of animals are taken out of Brazil and sold to pet and industrial markets (McGrath, Dec. 2002). WWF partner TRAFFIC, estimates that every year some 800,000 psitacidae (parakeets, parrots, etc.) are available on the illegal pet market (WWF, accessed 3/31/03). It has been estimated that 10,000 hyacinth macaws were removed from the wild in the 1980’s alone (McGrath, Dec. 2002). Hyacinth macaws can sell for as much as $12,000 on the open market, making them a tempting target for smugglers.
In 1994 a grand Jury in Illinois charged famed bird conservationist Tony Silva with smuggling. Eventually Silva was sentenced to seven years in prison for his part in a $1.4 million smuggling ring. Thirty-seven others were also convicted (Harty, 2000) (including Silva’s mother, who earned 27 months for filing false tax returns) (NY Times, 1996). It is thought that Silva’s organization may have caused the death five to ten percent of the worldwide population of hyacinth macaws.
Others are doing their best to protect these beautiful birds. Bio Brasil (see blurb on the left) has acquired, maintained, and protected some prime nesting sites for the hyacinths. Neiva Guedes, working in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, has worked to vastly reduce the illegal pet trade. She has been successful to the point that illegal deforestation and forest fires are the primary threats to hyacinth macaws (WWF, accessed 3/31/03).
Ninety-nine percent of the Pantanal is privately owned, the majority of it being cattle ranching, although some of it is now owned by conservation organization (McGrath, Dec. 2002). Agricultural run-off from the soy-bean and corn cultivation, and pollution from gold mining operations are contaminating the Panatanal’s “unique” ecosystem (Earthwatch, 2002). Mercury poisoning, from the gold mining, has become apparent in contaminated hyacinth macaw eggs (gibbons, 2001). A recent massive dredging project was put on hold because of public outcry, until such time as a region-wide environmental impact study can be performed (McGrath, Dec. 2002).
How The Hyacinth Macaw Got
Transcript of a NOVA Episode
on Tony Silva ("The Great Wildlife Heist")
Gardens. 2002. Hyacinth macaw.
Earthwatch Institute Journal. 2002. Brazil's Pantanal: Research & Exploration. Vol. 21, Issue 3. http://search.epnet.com/direct.asp?an=7200936&db=afh. Accessed 2003 April 3.
Ensor, W. 2001 May. Hyacinth macaw. http://www.geocities.com/wendemere2/FactSheets/hyacinth_macaw.htm. Accessed 2003 March 31.
Foundation for the Preservation of the Hyacinth Macaw. Date Unknown. The hyacinth macaw. http://hyacinthmacaw.org/hyacinthmacaw.htm. Accessed 2003 March 31.
BioBrasil. © 2002. Hyacinth macaw.
Gibbons, G. Dec. 2004. The beautiful hyacinth macaw. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/tropical_neotropical_birds/86352. Accessed 2003 April 3.
Harty, E. 2000. Precious Cargo. http://www.vetcentric.com/magazine/magazineArticle.cfm?ARTICLEID=997. Accessed 2003 April 3.
Hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus). Reproduced with permission from WWF-Brazil. © Accessed 2003 March 31. WWF-Brazil. All rights reserved. http://www.wwf.org.br/english/informa/sitearara_arara.htm.
Kasnoff, C. 1996 July 7. Hyacinth macaw. http://www.bagheera.com/inthewild/van_anim_macaw.htm. Accessed 2003 March 31.
McGrath, S. Dec. 2002. Blue jewels of the panatanal. Audobon, 104:74-85.
NY Times. 11/19/96. Smuggler of birds sentenced. New York Times (Late New York Edition) Nov. 19 '96 p. C6.
WILD Foundation. © 2003. Wildlands for the macaw. http://www.wild.org/projects/pop-up/macaw.html.
Accessed 2003 March 31.
Authors: Eli Levine
& Hannah Chick
and A. araucana
Croix Ground Lizard
This website is part of a Biology 226 class project on the conservation of global biodiversity.