Decades of poaching, habitat destruction take toll on birds
Two rare bird species in Central and South America will get protection under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week. Under the listing, military and great green macaws can’t be imported into, or exported out of, the U.S.
Permits to handle the birds will only be issued for scientific purposes that benefit the species in the wild, or to enhance the propagation or survival of the species, including habitat restoration and research.
The military macaw inhabits tropical, semi-deciduous forests in Mexico and South America. Although it has a large distribution, its population, ranging from 6,000 to 13,000 adults, is highly fragmented into small localized groups ranging from a few pairs to approximately 100 individuals.
The great green macaw occupies humid tropical forests primarily in Central America and parts of northern South America. Its population, now ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 individuals, is in decline.
Both species are in decline, primarily due to habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, small population size, and poaching. Further, the existing regulatory mechanisms designed to protect these macaws are not adequate to prevent those threats from impacting them throughout their ranges.
The agency said that, despite some piecemeal, locally based conservation efforts, great green and military macaw populations continue to decline. The final rule will publish in the Federal Register on October 2, 2015, and will go into effect 30 days after publication on November 2, 2015. For more information and a copy of the final rule, visit: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/parrots.html.