Posted: Thursday, December 9, 2010, 11:30 p.m. PST
Courtesy Mark Stafford
Named after English illustrator and poet Edward Lear, The Lear's macaw is found only in the state of Bahia in northeastern Brazil. In 2009, it was listed from "critically endangered" to "endangered" by the IUCN.
By the end of 2010, Parrots International, an organization dedicated to the conservation of endangered parrots, must purchase 825 sacks of corn for the farmers of Canudos and Jeremoabo, Brazil. By doing so, the Lear’s macaw, a parrot recently moved from “critically endangered" to "endangered" by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), will not be targeted by farmers because of the flocks’ consumption of their sweet corn. Parrots International states the biggest threat to the Lear’s macaw population is “death by farmer” and seeks to reduce this retaliation by reimbursing farmers for their losses.
According to the Parrots International website:
“In early 2006 Parrots International partnered with the Lymington Foundation to initiate funding … for damage to their crops from the marauding Lear's macaws. Although 95 percent of the Lear's macaw diet consists of the meat of the Lucuri palm nut, the Lear's have also grown fond of the sweet corn from the fields of the local subsistence farmers within the macaws' habitat.”
In November 2006, Parrots International and the Lymington Foundationincreased the reimbursement to 30,000 pounds, or 15 tons of corn total. The organizations do not reimburse in cash, rather in corn, and attempt to reimburse 110 percent for losses. Therefore, the Lear's macaw becomes an asset, rather than a liability to the farmer. The farmers can let the macaws feed, knowing that they will be over-compensated. The farmers do not have to harvest the lost corn, nor process the corn and sack it. The farmers are allocated subsidized compensation in clean sacks of corn at the end of the season.
The idea is to create a win-win arrangement for both the farmers and the macaws, according to Parrots International.
As of December 9, 2010, Parrots International has raised enough money to send 450 sacks of corn to the farmers and hopes to reach its goal before the end of the year. For more information, go to www.parrotsinternational.org.
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