HYACINTH MACAW PROJECT
The Hyacinth Macaw Project (Projeto Arara Azul) studies the biology and ecological relationships of the hyacinth macaw and manages and promotes the conservation of the hyacinth macaw in its natural habitat. The project studies the reproductive biology of scarlet macaws, toucans, hawks, owls, Muscovy ducks, and other species that live alongside the hyacinth macaw in the Pantanal.
THE MAIN OBJECTIVES OF THE HYACINTH MACAW PROJECT ARE:
– To maintain viable populations of hyacinth macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) in the wild in their natural habitat, over the medium and long-terms;
– To promote the conservation of biodiversity and of the Pantanal as a whole.
The specific objectives may vary from year to year, but they include studies of basic biology, reproduction, behavior, habitat requirements, environmental management and education for the conservation of the species in the wild, among other objectives.
WHO IS NEIVA GUEDES? LEARN A BIT ABOUT HER CAREER PATH
Neiva Maria Robaldo Guedes was born in Ponta Porã, in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, on January 10, 1962. She graduated from UFMS in Biological Sciences in 1987.
Upon graduation, she was granted a scholarship by CNPq (Scientific Improvement 87-89) and worked at EMBRAPA Beef Cattle, in Campo Grande, where she began her career in scientific investigation under the guidance of Dr. Cacilda Borges do Valle. In May 1989, she started work at the Department of Environmental Education of the Secretariat of the Environment of Mato Grosso do Sul, where she assisted with the teaching of several courses for middle and high school teachers and mentored children and students in their first contacts with nature, guiding them on the trails of the Parque dos Poderes Ecological Reserve.
In November 1989, Neiva Guedes saw a flock of hyacinth macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) in the Pantanal during her field work for the Nature Conservation course for IBAMA, EMBRAPA, and SEMA-MS technicians. Neiva was amazed by the beauty of the scene (about 30 hyacinth macaws perched on a dead branch) and when she found out that these birds were fast disappearing and now endangered species, she decided to do something to prevent it, with the conviction that other people should be able to observe hyacinth macaws in their natural habitat. This evolved into a major life focus for her: the fight for the conservation of the hyacinth macaw, resulting in the Hyacinth Macaw Project. Since that time, she has dedicated her life to the conservation of these birds in the Brazilian Pantanal
The Hyacinth Macaw Project began in 1990, with field support from the Fazenda Nhumirim of the Pantanal Center of Agriculture and Livestock, CPAP-Embrapa, in the Nhecolândia Pantanal sub-region, with resources from the WWF-US and later, an open Jeep supplied by Toyota.
During the initial field studies, Neiva worked in collaboration with biologist Lee Harper.
The study of the reproductive biology of the hyacinth macaw became the focus of Neiva Guedes’ master’s degree dissertation at ESALQ/USP under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Álvaro Fernando de Almeida.
In October 1993, Neiva Guedes completed her master’s degree and in March 1994, she entered CESUP – the Campo Grande Center for Superior Education, currently UNIDERP – University for the Development of the State and the Pantanal Region, which became responsible for the execution of the Project through Neiva Guedes.
In 1993 and 1994, Neiva received a scholarship and funding from the Fundação O Boticário/Mac Arthur Foundation that, together with resources from CECITEC (currently FUNDECT) received with support from SODEPAN (1993-1995), helped to maintain the Project.
During the period from 1996 to 1999, most of the project expenses were covered by Elly de Vries and Richard Welch of Los Angeles-USA, a couple who had learned about the project in 1995.
When they returned to the United States, they created the Hyacinth Macaw Fund, transferring resources through the California Community Foundation.
The fund was deactivated in 1999, when the couple separated.