Paradise Park

Wildlife Sanctuary • Cornwall

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Endangered Lear’s Macaws find refuge

30th May 2023

Paradise Park is home to many of the world’s rare and endangered parrot species, and has expanded its conservation efforts with the recent addition of a group of Lear’s Macaws.

Two Lear's Macae at Paradise Park Cornwall by Alison Hales
Lear’s Macaws at Paradise Park Cornwall by Alison Hales

The twelve birds found refuge at Paradise Park on May 27th, following an urgent need for a change in their living situation. This group of Lear’s Macaws, illegally smuggled into the UK in the 1980s and subsequently confiscated by Customs and Excise officials, have lived in seclusion ever since. Over time, the birds’ numbers have increased through breeding.

Lear's Macaw at Paradise Park by Alison Hales
Lear’s Macaw at Paradise Park Cornwall by Alison Hales

As the only Lear’s Macaws in the UK, their preservation is critical. “These are important birds, an Endangered species threatened by habitat loss, hunting, and the wild bird trade,” explained David Woolcock, Curator of Paradise Park. “We are proud to be the only sanctuary in the UK to house them. Our objective is to provide a safe and nurturing environment that helps each bird express their unique character.”

Lear's Macaw ┬® Tane Mahuta, Getty Images via Canva
Lear’s Macaw ┬® Tane Mahuta, Getty Images via Canva

Paradise Park, in collaboration with the World Parrot Trust (WPT), has worked tirelessly to create and maintain a new aviary suitable for the birds. The WPT, a charity founded at Paradise Park in 1989, is already actively involved in conservation work for Lear’s Macaws in their native Brazil. The future plans for these magnificent birds may include reintroduction into their native habitat as part of a larger conservation project aimed at preserving the species.

Lear's group (c) Corey Raffel
Lear’s group (c) Corey Raffel

Lear's Macaw ┬® Rafael Cerqueira, Getty Images via Canva
Lear’s Macaw ┬® Rafael Cerqueira, Getty Images via Canva

New Lear's Macaw aviaries at Paradise Park Cornwall
New aviaries at Paradise Park

Despite ongoing works to perfect the aviary surroundings in the Park, including new paths and seating for visitors to be completed soon, the public can still enjoy observing these extraordinary birds in their enclosures, as well as listening to their distinctive calls.

David Woolcock continues “Working with many rare and endangered species at Paradise Park is always rewarding, and we were more than happy to provide a home to the Lear’s. We know our visitors will love these beautiful birds as much as we do.”

The park and its dedicated team remain committed to conservation efforts for these and other endangered species, striving to offer safe havens and contribute to the preservation of the world’s biodiversity.

About Paradise Park

Paradise Park is a renowned wildlife sanctuary based in the UK, home to a variety of endangered species. The park is committed to the conservation and protection of species worldwide (more here) and operates in close collaboration with the World Parrot Trust.

About World Parrot Trust

The World Parrot Trust, established in 1989, is a leading international charity dedicated to the protection and conservation of parrot species around the globe. Through science-backed initiatives, advocacy, and educational outreach, it aims to improve the welfare of both captive and wild parrots, while working diligently to safeguard their habitats and ensure their survival for future generations.

About Lear’s Macaws

The Lear’s Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari), also known as the Indigo Macaw, is a large, all-blue Brazilian parrot with a population of 1694 individuals that has been classified as an Endangered species by the IUCN. The threats facing Lear’s Macaw include:

Habitat Loss: One of the most significant threats to Lear’s Macaw is habitat loss. This species is endemic to northeastern Brazil and resides in a very specific habitat of Licuri Palm stands. The destruction and degradation of these habitats, particularly for agricultural purposes such as livestock grazing and crop cultivation, is a significant threat to their survival.

Illegal Pet Trade: The Lear’s Macaw is highly sought after in the illegal pet trade due to its striking appearance. Despite protective legislation, illegal trapping and trading continue to threaten the species.

Hunting: In some regions, the birds have historically been hunted for food and for their feathers, contributing to their decline.

Limited Genetic Diversity: The population size of the Lear’s Macaw was very small for a long period of time, leading to a potential lack of genetic diversity that can make the species more vulnerable to diseases and other threats.

Predation: Natural predation also poses a threat to the Lear’s Macaw, particularly for eggs and juveniles. Introduced or invasive species can exacerbate this problem.

Conservation efforts, including habitat protection, captive breeding and release programs, law enforcement, and community education, are ongoing to help protect and increase the population of this remarkable bird.

More information about Lear’s Macaws is available on the World Parrot Trust encyclopedia and project pages.

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