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Loro Parque Foundation is currently celebrating a significant triumph for our planet: Three newborn chicks of the Lear’s Macaw, a species considered functionally extinct in 1992, have hatched in their original habitat in the Brazilian Caatinga. These chicks are the offspring of a pair bred at Loro Parque as part of the Lear’s Macaw Recovery Program (ICMBio/BR), showcasing the importance and effectiveness of species recovery programs developed by Loro Parque and other zoos in their facilities.

This success reaffirms the relevance of zoo work in conservation, highlighting that animals raised in zoos can indeed be successfully reintroduced into the wild. Furthermore, this case remarkably confirms this ability by having the same pair return to their habitat and reproduce with three chicks in the same clutch—a rarity occurring in just 3% of wild pairs. This breakthrough is the result of intensive efforts, including teaching the animals the necessary survival skills before reintroduction takes place.

One of the reintroduced specimens with its offspring

A Decade of Effort for Species Recovery

Faced with an urgent situation, in 2006 the Brazilian government sent a Lear’s Macaw pair to Tenerife, aiming to establish a breeding program for individuals that could later be reintroduced and thrive in their native biome. Only six months after arriving at Loro Parque’s breeding station, the first chicks hatched. Since then, over 40 Lear’s Macaw chicks have been bred.

In 2019, eight Lear’s Macaws born at Loro Parque Fundación were reintroduced in the Caatinga. Among these eight birds, a pair formed spontaneously, which had their first chick at the end of last year. Now, this pair has successfully bred for the second time, raising three chicks. This solidly confirms the success of the intensive work carried out for over ten years, during which Loro Parque collaborated with the Brazilian government and other local institutions.

Lear’s Macaw feeds one of its young

The breeding pair of macaws was born at Loro Parque Foundation as part of a breeding program developed to address the species’ extreme risk in 1990, with only 22 individuals counted in the Caatinga—a near-functional extinction. The species inhabits a unique biome in northeastern Brazil, where poaching and deforestation for cultivation were crucial factors in the Lear’s Macaw’s decline.

Saving this species also required on-site efforts to combat poaching and compensate farmers for damages caused by the birds to their crops. A program developed by the Loro Parque Fundación in collaboration with other organizations, which, through field analysis, measured, georeferenced, and quantified the affected corn plantations to provide a precise and effective response.

Lear’s Macaws interacting