Due to their large size and great beauty, macaws make excellent flagship species and serve as charismatic focal points for the conservation of the ecosystems where they occur. Unfortunately throughout most of tropical America large macaws have suffered major population declines. The Tambopata Macaw Project was begun in the 1989 under the field direction of Eduardo Nycander with the goal of learning about the basic ecology and natural history of large macaws so that this information could be used to help their conservation.
In 1999 Donald Brightsmith, PhD took over the direction and operations of the project. The project is developing and evaluating techniques for increasing reproductive output of wild macaws, expanding our knowledge of macaw nesting behaviour, increasing our understanding of the complexities of clay lick use, tracking macaw movements through satellite telemetry, and evaluating tourism as a method of protecting macaws and their habitat. This scientific information is being dispersed through a variety of channels to local native communities, to the Peruvian government, and via the Internet to classrooms and conservationists world-wide.
Image courtesy of Shane Hancock, Australia