Video: Lear's Macaw, Back from the Brink

The brilliant-blue Lear's Macaw was on the brink of extinction 30 years ago. Habitat loss, hunting, and trapping for the pet trade reduced the macaw's numbers quickly. Like Great Green, Military, and Blue-throated Macaws, these beautiful parrots are also popular cage birds and are highly sought by illegal poachers. As a result, by the late 1980s, there were only 70 known birds left in the wild.

Thanks to successful conservation efforts by ABC, our Brazilian partner, Fundação Biodiversitas, and others, Lear's Macaws can now be seen by the hundreds. An ABC-supported reserve—Canudos Biological Station—provides a safe haven, and the species' numbers have increased from a few dozen in the late 1980s to about 1,300 today.

Here's how ABC's Mike Parr describes the Lear's Macaw's journey back from the brink.

Mike ParrMike Parr is Vice President and Chief Conservation Officer at American Bird Conservancy. Mike joined ABC in 1996 after graduating from University of East Anglia, UK, and working for BirdLife International. He has authored three books: Parrots – A Guide to the Parrots of the World, Important Bird Areas in the United States, and The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation, along with numerous articles and papers. He is on the committees of ProAves Colombia and is Chair of the Alliance for Zero Extinction.