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Conservation of the Hyacinth Macaw

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Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus.
Photo: Biodôme

The Hyacinth macaw, Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus, is the largest parrot in the world, and its deep blue plumage makes it one of the loveliest. Originally from South America, the species is classified as endangered and protected internationally. Its decline was caused by illegal trade of exotic animals, being hunted for its meat and feathers, and the deforestation of its habitat, resulting in the disappearance of the large trees where the birds build their nests.

In 2006, 233 Hyacinth Macaws in 73 North American zoological institutions, including the Biodôme, took part in a monitoring program using a “studbook” – a document containing the pedigree and demographic history of each bird in a population for a given species. The studbook is an essential tool for tracking and managing a population. The studbook issues recommendations for breeding to avoid genetic drift.

The captive population is doing well, with a satisfactory rate of reproduction. Poaching and illegal trade of Hyacinth Macaws at a high market value continues nonetheless in the birds’ naturals habitats.

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