The Project has partnered with the USP Avian Molecular Genetics Laboratory, coordinated by Dr. Anita Wanjtal and Dr. Cristina Yumi Miyaki, who carry out sexing and DNA analysis of the birds. This work that has led to several master’s degrees and doctoral theses, as well as the publication of numerous scientific articles.
The Project has sought to involve ranchers and farmers of the Pantanal. Field visits and interviews conducted by biologist Elisa Mense have shown that radio is the primary means of communication in the region, so educational messages were included in the radio program with the highest audience in the Pantanal. The local population went on to become a key partner in the Hyacinth Macaw Project, and one of the main reasons for the success of the Project and the conservation of the macaws for the protection of the biodiversity of the Pantanal.
Since the beggining of the project, hundreds of lectures have been given, as well as visits and meetings with the Pantanal community. In 1993, workshops in singing, dancing, and art began to be offered to the children of the region at Caiman, to promote the local culture and create alternative forms of income. Many studies and scientific articles were published in magazines, and there was a good deal of national and international media attention in broadcasts for the general public.
In 1987, the hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) population was estimated at 2,500 individuals in the wild, with only 1500 recorded for the whole of the Pantanal. It became an endangered species due to trafficking, the destruction of the environment, and the collection of feathers by the Indians. There were reports of sightings in the wild, but little information about the biology and history of the life of the species.
– 1990-1992 – Registration, marking, and monitoring of the natural hyacinth macaw nests in the Pantanal; collecting and publishing the first data about the reproductive biology of the species in the wild. Seeking the involvement of Pantanal residents in the conservation of the species.
– 1993 – Completion of master’s degree with 94 nests registered on 11 ranches in the Nhecolândia Pantanal. Analysis of the basic information about hyacinth macaw reproduction. Characterization of the environment and identification of the main problems affecting the population.
– 1994-1996 – Expansion of activities to 21 ranches in the Nhecolândia, Abobral, Miranda, and Nabileque Pantanals. Tests begin with artificial nest models, materials, and sizes. Around 193 nests are marked.
– 1997-1998 – Installation of 105 artificial nests. There is a total of 298 registered nests, 194 of which were being monitored. With the implementation of the 1st Field Station at Caiman towards the end of 1998, monitoring and management tasks begin to be concentrated in the Miranda region.
– 1999-2000 – Start of studies at the UNIDERP Station, on the Fazenda Santa Emília ranch in the Aquidauana Pantanal – Rio Negro. First management activities of natural nests. About 70 nests are recovered, 26 additional artificial nests are installed, and 53 natural nests are registered. With just over 400 nests registered, 310 (74%) are being monitored. Bird health studies with UNIDERP veterinarians. Development of lectures and field activities for Caiman guests. Implementation of a GIS data base in partnership with a UNIDERP researcher.
In 2000, the population of hyacinth macaws in the Pantanal was estimated at 3000 individuals.
– 2001-2003 – A total of 546 registered nests: 346 natural and 198 artificial. The Project now involves 45 ranches in 5 Pantanal sub-regions. The most intensely monitored nests are the approximately 320 located nearest to the two base stations: Caiman Ecological Reserve and Pousada Araraúna.
The first experiments in egg and chick management are conducted with the authorization of the “Committee for the Conservation and Management of the Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)”, coordinated by IBAMA. Several eggs are incubated successfully in the laboratory, and the chicks are later returned to their nests or transferred to others. For the first time, it is possible to monitor the behavior of the couple, eggs, and chicks in the wild by installing a micro-camera inside the nest. New health studies of adults and chicks, resulting in unprecedented reports about birds in the wild.
– 2004-2005 – The Project is a success in nest, egg, and chick management. The population has both grown and expanded. Several other studies begin to emerge in the interior of Brazil. The species is investigated by a Bolivian biologist trained by the Project. Antonio dos Santos Jr., a biologist trained on the Project, begins the first fieldwork focused on the Panama tree (Sterculia apetala), a species found in the Pantanal that is critical to macaw reproduction.
Several papers are published as book chapters, conference material, and articles for the general public.
– 2006-2007 – Fieldwork continues with monitoring and nest management, eggs, and chicks. Project results are presented at forums in France, Brazil, and the United States, and at the Neotropical Ornithology Conference in Venezuela. Factors that impact reproductive success in the Pantanal (deforestation, burning, tourism) are analyzed by Neiva Guedes in her doctoral thesis.
At the end of 2005, the hyacinth macaw population in the Pantanal is estimated at 5,000 individuals, having not only increased, but also expanded to other regions where it had decreased or even been annihilated. There is practically no more trafficking of hyacinth macaws in the South Pantanal and birds seized in the State of MS are usually being transported from other regions of Brazil. Research results have been widely disseminated. Dozens of students, biologists, veterinarians, and zootechnicians have been trained. Land owners have been encouraged to create RPPNs – Private Nature Heritage Reserve – and have begun to replant Panama tree.
By the end of 2006, the Hyacinth Macaw Project has registered a total of 604 nests: 386 natural and 218 artificial. The Project now involves 57 ranches in 5 Pantanal sub-regions. The most intensely monitored nests are the approximately 320 located nearest to the two base stations: Caiman and Pousada Araraúna.
Currently, hyacinth macaws are found in various cities in Mato Grosso do Sul, such as Aquidauana, Miranda, Rio Negro, and Terenos, which is 80 km from Campo Grande, the state capital, where blue-and-yellow macaws (Ara araraúna) and Scarlet macaws (Ara chloroptera) have taken up residence.