Military Macaw & Great Green Macaw Listed As Endangered Under Endangered Species Act

Opponents to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's decision say it will do nothing to protect these birds.

Military macaw

By Dcoetzee (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Military macaws have recently been listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced on October 1 that it has listed the military macaw (Ara militaris) and great green macaw/Buffon? macaw (Ara ambiguus) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The USFWS writes in a press release, “the agency found that both species are in decline, primarily due to habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, small population size, and poaching. Further, the existing regulatory mechanisms designed to protect these macaws are not adequate to prevent those threats from impacting them throughout their ranges. As a result both macaws are at risk of extinction throughout their ranges ?the definition of an endangered species ?and in need of protection.?lt;/span>

According to BirdLife International, the military macaw is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), due to capture for the captive bird trader and habitat loss. The Buffon? macaw is listed as endangered by the IUCN, for the same reasons as the military macaw.

In an effort to “not contribute to the further decline of these species,?according to the USFWS, they have made certain activities surrounding these birds prohibited without a permit, including:

  • Import into and export out of the United States;
  • “Take?(defined by the ESA as harm, harass, kill, injure, etc.) within the United States;
  • Interstate and foreign commerce.

Permits will be issued for otherwise prohibited activities only for scientific purposes that benefit the species in the wild, or to enhance the propagation or survival of the species, including but not limited to habitat restoration and research, according to the USFWS.

The American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) had denounced the ruling. “The AFA believes that the ESA, as it is currently written, does not contribute to the conservation of birds in their natural habitats,?said Jamie Whittaker, president of the American Federation of Aviculture. “AFA is a strong supporter of conservation but these restrictions on captive populations in the United States inhibit responsible breeding efforts to preserve the species.”

The final rule from the USFWS will into effect on November 2, 2015. For more information and a copy of the final rule, visit the website.

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