We did some work there to evaluate all known and suspected colonies of the Red-fronted Macaws. This was quite successful in terms of developing a better understanding of the status of the species in the wild, but unfortunately the numbers of colonies and actively nesting pairs was not terribly optimistic.
Like most parrots that move great distances and form foraging flocks in the non-breeding season, it turns out that it’s easy to get lulled into a sense of security because you occasionally encounter large numbers of birds and all seems to be well. In addition, for most larger parrots studied to date, it appears that only a small portion of the living birds are actually breeding birds - as a very rough rule of thumb, breeding pairs generally make up about 10% of the overall population ... so 300 birds might include about 30 breeding pairs. This is likely to scale with the size of the bird, so for big macaws it might be a smaller percentage, and for smaller parrots it might be higher.
In any case, the political situation in Bolivia is making effective conservation work in that part of the country very difficult so our field work there is on hold for the moment. We’re continuing to work on Blue-throated Macaws in the lowlands and have recently supported some work on Bolivia’s Hyacinth Macaws as well. Hopefully in future years, political stability will improve and make efforts there both safe and effective.
On a final note, most species as impressive as this one are still at risk from shooting and trapping, both because they damage food crops and they’re valuable on the domestic Bolivian market and in neighboring countries like Brazil and Peru. Our hope is that shutting down much of the international legal market by stopping EU imports will have knock on effects for these local markets as well, but it’s more likely that enhancement enforcement efforts in Peru, Brazil, and of course Bolivia will be essential to reduce these market pressures on the wild birds.
All best wishes,