Search

This parrot is on the edge, but there’s hope it won’t be an ‘ex’

PUBLISHED: 10:18 26 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:18 26 August 2017

Bennett Hennessey, executive director of Asociacion Armonia in Bolivia, shows his love for the blue-throated macaw at last weekend's Birdfair at Rutland Water. Picture: DAN BRADBURY/WORLD LAND TRUST

Bennett Hennessey, executive director of Asociacion Armonia in Bolivia, shows his love for the blue-throated macaw at last weekend's Birdfair at Rutland Water. Picture: DAN BRADBURY/WORLD LAND TRUST

Archant

A north Suffolk-based charity’s immense contribution to global nature conservation was illustrated last week with a visit to its headquarters of two leading South American naturalists – and success in its appeal to help prevent a critically endangered macaw becoming an ex-parrot.

Germanico Barrios, of FUNDAECO, Guatemala, left, and Bennett Hennessey, of Asociacion Armonia, Bolivia, discuss conservation at the World Land Trust's headquarters in Halesworth. Picture: JOHN GRANT Germanico Barrios, of FUNDAECO, Guatemala, left, and Bennett Hennessey, of Asociacion Armonia, Bolivia, discuss conservation at the World Land Trust's headquarters in Halesworth. Picture: JOHN GRANT

The hugely effective Halesworth-based World Land Trust funds partner organisations around the world to create and nature reserves and protect habitats and wildlife and its latest success has been raising its target £20,000 to help the Bolivian Asociacion Armonia’s innovative blue-throated macaw project.

Monty Python’s 1970s classic pet shop sketch that featured John Cleese complaining about his “ex-parrot” is now a comedy classic but there is nothing remotely funny about the plight of the blue-throated macaw - it is one of the world’s rarest species.

In spring the World Land Trust’s Bird Race Challenge saw a trust foursome take on another fundraising team in a 24-hour sponsored birdwatch across Norfolk and Suffolk to support the macaw project. Backed by naturalist and broadcaster Bill Oddie, the quirky event recreated the 1980s heydays of competitive birding in East Anglia which raised thousands of pounds for conservation and which regularly featured Mr Oddie. Also supporting the macaw project has been a World Land Trust online auction of unique Bolivian wildlife-inspired ceramics made by artist Maureen Minchin.

The trust announced that its £20,000 target for the project had been reached, with the news coinciding with a visit to the charity’s Blyth House headquarters in Halesworth of Asociacion Armonia’s executive director Bennett Hennessey and fellow South American conservationist Germanico Barrios, of the trust’s partner in Guatemala FUNDAECO.

Both had taken part in last weekend’s massive Birdfair at Rutland Water with the World Land Trust.

Mr Hennessey said the macaws were endemic in two “sub-populations” in Bolivia’s Beni Savanna area, where thousands of trees were cut down each year to create fence-posts for cattle ranches. The birds were dependent on “tree islands” that survived but a sustainable natural fencing project offered long-term hope. In the area’s Barba Azul Reserve, manager Tjalle Boorsma had pioneered the planting of Aliso trees that doubled up as a source of natural fencing for the ranchers and a food source for the macaws.

“This is a sustainable, win-win situation that helps the cattle ranchers and the macaws,” said Mr Hennessey. “There are only between 250 and 350 of these macaws currently left in the wild. There is a general sense that once a species reaches about 700 individuals it is in a safer position but these macaws are emergency birds.”

He paid tribute to the “huge conservation efforts” of World Land Trust and its support for the macaw project.

Mr Barrios also told of the vital importance of his organisation’s close partnership with the trust. FUNDAECO was working with the trust to acquire a “core zone” of his country’s Cerra Santa Cruz Atlantic rainforest and to upgrade its protection.

“Our partnership with the World Land Trust is really well established and we love how the trust works - how they integrate and how they respect and understand the difficult situations and realities in each country they have partners in,” he said.

The Cerra Santa Cruz area was a “really important” rainforest habitat and he was hopeful that acquisitions in the area would soon be complete and its protection guaranteed.

Further information about the World Land Trust can be found at www.worldlandtrust.org/

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other news

13:51

Staff and pupils at a Lowestoft special school are celebrating after they were recognised with an “outstanding” double.

17:59

Motorists were diverted after a Norfolk road was temporarily closed following a two-car crash.

08:46

Firefighters tackled a car blaze, which is being treated as “suspected arson.”

12:00

A former Beccles man who was part of a crime group which smuggled migrants into the UK has been jailed following an investigation by the National Crime Agency.

Most Read

12:00

A former Beccles man who was part of a crime group which smuggled migrants into the UK has been jailed following an investigation by the National Crime Agency.

Read more
United Kingdom
13:51

Staff and pupils at a Lowestoft special school are celebrating after they were recognised with an “outstanding” double.

Read more
08:46

Firefighters tackled a car blaze, which is being treated as “suspected arson.”

Read more
Carlton Colville
Yesterday, 11:21

A damning dossier compiled by a senior whistleblower from the region’s ambulance trust has claimed at least 40 patients died or were harmed due to delays over Christmas and New Year - including one person who froze to death.

Read more
Clive Lewis
12:00

Tears of sadness have been replaced with tears of joy after hundreds of messages of support, jokes and special memories have helped to boost the spirits of a well-known comedy character who was diagnosed with cancer.

Read more
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

Later in Life

cover

Click here to view
the Later in Life
supplement

View

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 4°C

min temp: 4°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Lowestoft Journal
e-edition today

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter