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Conservation Spotlight
The Spix's Macaw

Natasha Schischakin
Conservation Coordinator, Houston Zoo Conservation and Research Office, Houston Zoological Gardens, 1513 North MacGregor, Houston, Texas 77030; phone/Fax: 713-284-1386;

The Spix's Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) is one of the world's most endangered species with one remaining in the wild and a captive population of only 60 birds. These population numbers, although still critically endangered, actually signify progress in the last 10 years of conservation efforts to recover this species. The program, coordinated by the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Natural Renewable Resources (IBAMA), is becoming a model for international public and private sector partnership and includes the participation of government officials, ornithologists, zoo specialists and the holders of the birds in captivity. This article briefly describes species' status and recovery efforts, which include field research, community-based outreach, habitat restoration, captive-breeding and reintroduction.

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Spix's Macaw in captivity
Photographer Natasha Schischakin

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Spix's Macaw numbers from 1989 to 1999. Data from Schischakin, N. 1999. The
Spix's Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) Studbook and Population Management Plan of
the IBAMA Permanent Committee for the Recovery of the Spix's Macaw. Houston
Zoological Gardens, Houston.

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