The World of Birds Show at the Minnesota Zoo has raised approximately $100,000 for conservation during the presentation of their free-flight bird shows since 2000. For several years, a large portion of these funds has gone to help support a 10,000 square acre reserve in the state of Piaui, Brazil. Within this plot of land are cliffs that serve as important nesting sites for hyacinth macaws, the largest type of parrot in the world and an endangered species.
The biggest problem facing these rare and beautiful birds has been the pet trade. Most of the hyacinth macaw chicks that hatched naturally in the cliff nests were being taken and sold illegally as pets. In the reserve we help protect, regular patrols by local people hired as conservation officers have been successful in halting these illegal activities. For many years, this area of the hyacinth’s range was notorious as a hot spot for poaching. It is now a model for conservation. Chicks hatching in the wild which historically would not have stood a chance of fledging to become wild birds, are reaching adulthood in nature and learning the skills necessary to survive and help further increase the population of this species.
Community involvement is what truly drives this project. A local family owns the land that makes up this reserve, local people have been hired to care for and protect the land, while others act as guides for tourists who come to view this unique ecosystem. This community involvement has helped to create support and pride in the protection of this species and its habitat.
The Zoo’s World of Birds Showcontinues to raise money for this project, blue throated macaw conservation, and other international and Minnesota Zoo-based conservation programs. This award-winning conservation effort is driven by you, our local community, and helps countless animals around the world as well as right here in our own back yards.