[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 130 (Friday, July 6, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 40221-40247]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-16445]



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Vol. 77

Friday,

No. 130

July 6, 2012

Part IV





Department of the Interior





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Fish and Wildlife Service





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50 CFR Part 17





Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the Scarlet 
Macaw; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 77 , No. 130 / Friday, July 6, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2012-0039; 4500030115]
RIN 1018-AY39


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the 
Scarlet Macaw

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; 12-month petition finding.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, propose to list as 
endangered the northern subspecies of scarlet macaw (Ara macao 
cyanoptera) and the northern distinct vertebrate population segment 
(DPS) of the southern subspecies (A. m. macao) as endangered under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We are taking this 
action in response to a petition to list this species as endangered or 
threatened under the Act. This document, which also serves as the 
completion of the status review and as the 12-month finding on the 
petition, announces our finding that listing is warranted for the 
northern subspecies and northern DPS of the southern subspecies of 
scarlet macaw. If we finalize this rule as proposed, it would extend 
the Act's protections to this subspecies and DPS. We seek information 
from the public on this proposed rule and status review for this 
subspecies and DPS.

DATES: We will consider comments and information received or postmarked 
on or before September 4, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Search for FWS-R9-ES-2012-0039, which is the 
docket number for this rulemaking. On the search results page, under 
the Comment Period heading in the menu on the left side of your screen, 
check the box next to ``Open'' to locate this document. Please ensure 
you have found the correct document before submitting your comments. If 
your comments will fit in the provided comment box, please use this 
feature of http://www.regulations.gov, as it is most compatible with 
our comment review procedures. If you attach your comments as a 
separate document, our preferred file format is Microsoft Word. If you 
attach multiple comments (such as form letters), our preferred format 
is a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.
    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R9-ES-2012-0039; Division of Policy and 
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax 
Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We will not accept comments by email or fax. We will post all 
comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we 
will post any personal information you provide us (see the Information 
Requested section below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Janine Van Norman, Chief, Branch of 
Foreign Species, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 420, Arlington, VA 22203; 
telephone 703-358-2171. If you use a telecommunications device for the 
deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-
877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Summary

I. Purpose of the Regulatory Action

    We were petitioned to list the scarlet macaw, and 13 other parrot 
species, under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 
During our status review, we found that threats do not place the 
species at risk of extinction throughout all of its range, but do so 
throughout all the range of the subspecies A. m. cyanoptera and all the 
range of the northern DPS of A. m macao. Therefore, in this 12-month 
finding, we announce that listing the subspecies A. m. cyanoptera and 
the northern DPS of A. m. macao is warranted, and are proposing to list 
these entities as endangered under the Act. We are undertaking this 
action pursuant to a settlement agreement and publication of this 
action will fulfill our obligations under that agreement.

II. Major Provision of the Regulatory Action

    This action is authorized by the Act. It affects Part 17, 
subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations. 
If adopted as proposed, this action would extend the protections of the 
Act to the subspecies A. m. cyanoptera and the northern DPS of A. m. 
macao.

Background

    Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that, for any petition 
to revise the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and 
Plants that contains substantial scientific or commercial information 
that listing the species may be warranted, we make a finding within 12 
months of the date of receipt of the petition (``12-month finding''). 
In this finding, we determine whether the petitioned action is: (a) Not 
warranted, (b) warranted, or (c) warranted, but immediate proposal of a 
regulation implementing the petitioned action is precluded by other 
pending proposals to determine whether species are endangered or 
threatened, and expeditious progress is being made to add or remove 
qualified species from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants. We must publish these 12-month findings in the 
Federal Register.
    In this document, we announce that listing the subspecies A. m. 
cyanoptera and the northern DPS of the subspecies A. m. macao as 
endangered is warranted, and we are proposing to add these entities, as 
endangered, to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. 
We also find that listing the southern DPS of the subspecies A. m. 
macao under the Act is not warranted.
    Prior to issuing a final rule on this proposed action, we will take 
into consideration all comments and any additional information we 
receive. Such information may lead to a final rule that differs from 
this proposal. All comments and recommendations, including names and 
addresses of commenters, will become part of the administrative record.

Previous Federal Actions

Petition History
    On January 31, 2008, the Service received a petition dated January 
29, 2008, from Friends of Animals, as represented by the Environmental 
Law Clinic, University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, requesting that 
we list 14 parrot species under the Act. The petition clearly 
identified itself as a petition and included the requisite information 
required in the Code of Federal Regulations (50 CFR 424.14(a)). On July 
14, 2009 (74 FR 33957), we published a 90-day finding in which we 
determined that the petition presented substantial scientific and 
commercial information to indicate that listing may be warranted for 12 
of the 14 parrot species. In our 90-day finding on this petition, we 
announced the initiation of a status review to list as endangered or 
threatened under the Act, the following 12 parrot species: blue-headed 
macaw (Primolius couloni), crimson shining parrot (Prosopeia 
splendens), great

[[Page 40223]]

green macaw (Ara ambiguus), grey-cheeked parakeet (Brotogeris 
pyrrhoptera), hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus), military 
macaw (Ara militaris), Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), 
red-crowned parrot (Amazona viridigenalis), scarlet macaw (Ara macao), 
white cockatoo (Cacatua alba), yellow-billed parrot (Amazona collaria), 
and yellow-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea). We initiated this 
status review to determine if listing each of the 12 species is 
warranted, and initiated a 60-day information collection period to 
allow all interested parties an opportunity to provide information on 
the status of these 12 species of parrots. The public comment period 
closed on September 14, 2009.
    On October 24, 2009, and December 2, 2009, the Service received a 
60-day notice of intent to sue from Friends of Animals and WildEarth 
Guardians, for failure to issue 12-month findings on the petition. On 
March 2, 2010, Friends of Animals and WildEarth Guardians filed suit 
against the Service for failure to make timely 12-month findings within 
the statutory deadline of the Act on the petition to list the 14 
species (Friends of Animals, et al. v. Salazar, Case No. 10 CV 00357 
D.D.C.).
    On July 21, 2010, a settlement agreement was approved by the Court 
(CV-10-357, D. DC), in which the Service agreed to submit to the 
Federal Register by July 29, 2011, September 30, 2011, and November 30, 
2011, determinations whether the petitioned action is warranted, not 
warranted, or warranted but precluded by other listing actions for no 
less than 4 of the petitioned species on each date. On August 9, 2011, 
the Service published in the Federal Register a proposed rule and 12-
month status review finding for the following four parrot species: 
crimson shining parrot, Philippine cockatoo, white cockatoo, and 
yellow-crested cockatoo (76 FR 49202). On October 6, 2011, we published 
a 12-month status review finding for the red-crowned parrot (76 FR 
62016). On October 11, 2011, we published a proposed rule and 12-month 
status review finding for the yellow-billed parrot (76 FR 62740), and 
on October 12, 2011, we published a 12-month status review for the 
blue-headed macaw and grey-cheeked parakeet (76 FR 63480).
    On September 16, 2011, an extension for completing the 12-month 
findings with respect to the remaining four petitioned species was 
approved by the Court (CV-10-357, D. DC), in which the Service agreed 
to submit these determinations to the Federal Register by June 30, 
2012.
    In completing this status review, we make a determination whether 
the petitioned action is warranted, not warranted, or warranted but 
precluded by other listing actions for one of the remaining species 
that is the subject of the above-mentioned settlement agreement, the 
scarlet macaw. This Federal Register document complies, in part, with 
the last deadline in the court-ordered settlement agreement.

Information Requested

    We intend that any final actions resulting from this proposed rule 
will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available. 
Therefore, we request comments or information from other concerned 
governmental agencies, the scientific community, or any other 
interested parties concerning this proposed rule. We particularly seek 
clarifying information concerning:
    (1) Information on taxonomy, distribution, habitat selection and 
trends, diet, and population abundance and trends (Venezuela, northwest 
Columbia and other areas of Columbia outside the Amazon Biome) of this 
species.
    (2) Information on the species historical and current status in 
Trinidad and Tobago.
    (3) Information on the effects of habitat loss and changing land 
uses on the distribution and abundance of this species.
    (4) Information on the effects of other potential threat factors, 
including live capture and hunting, domestic and international trade, 
predation by other animals, and any diseases that are known to affect 
this species or its principal food sources.
    (5) Information on management programs for parrot conservation, 
including mitigation measures related to conservation programs, and any 
other private, nongovernmental, or governmental conservation programs 
that benefit this species.
    (6) The potential effects of climate change on this species and its 
habitat.
    In addition, for law enforcement purposes, we are considering 
listing scarlet macaw intraspecific crosses, and individuals of the 
southern DPS of A. m. macao, based on similarity of appearance to 
entities proposed for listing in this document. Therefore, we also 
request information from the public on the similarity of appearance of 
scarlet macaw intraspecific (within species) crosses, and individuals 
of the southern DPS of A. m. macao, to the entities proposed for 
listing in this document.
    Please include sufficient information with your submission (such as 
full references) to allow us to verify any scientific or commercial 
information you include. Submissions merely stating support for or 
opposition to the action under consideration without providing 
supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in 
making a determination. Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that 
determinations as to whether any species is an endangered or threatened 
species must be made ``solely on the basis of the best scientific and 
commercial data available.''

Public Hearing

    At this time, we do not have a public hearing scheduled for this 
proposed rule. The main purpose of most public hearings is to obtain 
public testimony or comment. In most cases, it is sufficient to submit 
comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, described above in the 
ADDRESSES section. If you would like to request a public hearing for 
this proposed rule, you must submit your request, in writing, to the 
person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by August 
20, 2012.

Species Information and Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and implementing regulations 
(50 CFR part 424) set forth procedures for adding species to, removing 
species from, or reclassifying species on the Federal Lists of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of 
the Act, a species may be determined to be endangered or threatened 
based on any of the following five factors:
    (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range;
    (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;
    (C) Disease or predation;
    (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
    (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence.
    In considering whether a species may warrant listing under any of 
the five factors, we look beyond the species' exposure to a potential 
threat or aggregation of threats under any of the factors, and evaluate 
whether the species responds to those potential threats in a way that 
causes actual impact to the species. The identification of threats that 
might impact a species negatively may not be sufficient to compel a 
finding that the species warrants listing. The information must include 
evidence indicating that the

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threats are operative and, either singly or in aggregation, affect the 
status of the species. Threats are significant if they drive, or 
contribute to, the risk of extinction of the species, such that the 
species warrants listing as endangered or threatened, as those terms 
are defined in the Act.

Biological Information

Species Description
    The scarlet macaw (Ara macao) is one of several large neotropical 
parrot species commonly referred to as macaws. Scarlet macaws are among 
the larger of the macaws, measuring 84-89 centimeters (33-35 inches) in 
length and weighing 900-1490 g (2.0-3.3 pounds) (Collar 1997, p. 421). 
They are brilliantly colored and predominantly scarlet red. Most of the 
head, body, tail, and underside of the wings are red. Color on the 
upper side of the wing appears generally as bands of red, yellow, and 
blue, with varying amounts of green occurring between the yellow and 
blue band. Lower back, rump, and tail coverts (upper tail feathers) are 
blue. The species has large white, mostly bare facial patches on either 
side of its bill. The upper bill is a light, whitish color, whereas the 
lower bill is black. The sexes are similar, and immature birds are 
similar to adults, except that immature birds have shorter tails 
(Collar 1997, p. 421; Wiedenfeld 1994, p. 100; Forshaw 1989, pp. 404, 
406).
Taxonomy
    The scarlet macaw was first described in 1758 by Linnaeus (Collar 
1997, p. 421; Wiedenfeld 1994, p. 99). Wiedenfeld (1994, entire) later 
described the subspecies A. macao cyanoptera, separating it from the 
nominate form, A. macao macao. He based this separation on results of a 
study in which he examined the morphology of 31 museum specimens of 
wild birds from known locations throughout the range of the species, 
which extends from Mexico southward through Central America and 
northern South America. He describes A. m. cyanoptera as differing from 
A. m. macao in size and wing color. A. m. cyanoptera is larger than A. 
m. macao, with significantly longer wing lengths. The yellow wing 
coverts that are tipped in blue have no green band separating the 
yellow and blue as in A. m. macao. Wiedenfeld (1994, p. 100-101) 
describes A. m. cyanoptera as historically occurring from southern 
Mexico south to central Nicaragua. He describes birds from southern 
Nicaragua to northern Costa Rica as representing a zone of 
intergradation between the two forms, and the nominate form occurring 
from this zone southward to, and through, the South American range of 
the species.
    The subspecies classification described by Wiedenfeld (1994, 
entire) is broadly used in the scientific community and the subspecies 
are recognized by the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) as 
valid taxa (ITIS 2011, unpaginated). Further, preliminary results of 
recent genetic research on mitochondrial DNA of the species support 
Wiedenfeld's subspecies classification (Schmidt 2011, pers. comm.; 
Schmidt & Amato 2008, pp. 135-137). According to Schmidt and Amato 
(2008, p. 137), the data indicate two distinct clusters of haplogroups 
(groups that carry certain genetic markers potentially used to connect 
distant ancestry with a particular geographical region), suggesting two 
distinct taxonomic units, with the boundary between the clusters 
consistent with the southern Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica zone of 
intergradation described by Wiedenfeld. According to Schmidt (2011, 
pers. comm.), the data also show genetic differentiation between A. m. 
macao that occur on either side of the Andes, indicating two 
populations: One consisting of birds west of the Andes in Costa Rica, 
Panama, and northwest Columbia, and one consisting of birds east of the 
Andes in the species' South American range.
    Because recent genetic research supports Wiedenfeld's subspecies 
classification for scarlet macaw, and because this classification is 
broadly accepted in the scientific community and used in the scientific 
literature, we consider the subspecies A. m. macao and A. m. cyanoptera 
as valid taxa.
Range
    The range of the scarlet macaw is the broadest of all the macaw 
species (Ridgely 1981, p. 250). Extending from Mexico southward to 
central Bolivia and Brazil, it covers an estimated 6,710,000-7,030,975 
square kilometers (km\2\) (2,590,745-2,714,675 square miles (mi\2\)) 
(BirdLife International (BLI) 2012, unpaginated; Vale 2007, p. 112). 
The majority (83 percent) of the species' current range lies within the 
Amazon Biome of South America (BLI 2011a, unpaginated; BLI 2011b, 
unpaginated; BLI 2011c, unpaginated).
    Historically, the range of the scarlet macaw included the southern 
portion of the Mexico state of Tamaulipas southward through the states 
of Veracruz, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Chiapas, and Campeche; all of Belize; the 
Pacific and Atlantic slopes of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El 
Salvador, and Costa Rica; the Pacific slope of Panama; the Magdalena 
Valley in Columbia; and northern South America east of the Andes in 
Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana, 
and Bolivia and Brazil as far south as Santa Cruz and northern Mato 
Grosso, respectively (Wiedenfeld 1994, pp. 100-101; Forshaw 1989, p. 
406; Ridgely 1981, p. 250). Some authors report the native range of the 
species to include Trinidad and Tobago (BLI 2011d, unpaginated; Forshaw 
1989, p. 406). However, the historical record consists of only two 
questionable site records of the species in Trinidad and Tobago 
(Forshaw 1989, p. 407; Ffrench 1973, p. 76). Forshaw (1989, p. 407) 
suggests the species may occur in that country as a very occasional 
vagrant or an escapee from captivity.
    Although the scarlet macaw still occurs over much of its range in 
South America (see Distribution and Abundance), its range in 
Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America) has been reduced and 
fragmented over the past several decades as a result of habitat 
destruction and harvesting of the species for the pet trade (Vaughan et 
al. 2003, pp. 2-3; Collar 1997, p. 421; Wiedenfeld 1994, p. 101; Snyder 
et al. 2000, p. 150). The species has been extirpated from almost all 
of its former range in Mexico, all of its former range in El Salvador, 
and much of its former range in the rest of Central America. The 
species now occurs primarily in the Maya Forest region of eastern 
Chiapas (Mexico), northern Guatemala, and southwest Belize; in the 
Mosquitia region of eastern Honduras and eastern Nicaragua; in west-
central Costa Rica's Carara National Park and surrounding area; in 
southwest Costa Rica's OSA Peninsula and surrounding area; and on Coiba 
Island in Panama. In addition to these populations, small groups or 
remnant populations of 10 to 50 individuals also occur in a few areas 
in the region (see Distribution and Abundance).
Habitat
    The scarlet macaw occurs in lowland tropical forests and savanna, 
often near rivers (Juniper and Parr 1998, p. 425; Collar 1997, p. 421; 
Wiedenfeld 1994, p. 101). The species inhabits primarily tropical humid 
evergreen forest, but also other forest types, including riparian or 
gallery forest, and, in Central America, tropical deciduous forest, 
mixed pine and broadleaf woodland, and pine savanna (Inigo-Elias 2010, 
unpaginated; Collar 1997, p. 421; Wiedenfeld 1994, p. 101). In one 
location, it is reported to roost and nest in mangrove forest (Vaughan 
et al. 2005, p. 127). The

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species generally occurs from sea level to about 500 meters (m) 
elevation, but has been reported ranging up to 1,500 m in Central 
America (Juniper and Parr 1998, p. 425; Vaughan 1983, in Vaughan et al. 
2006, p. 919).
    The scarlet macaw is considered somewhat tolerant of degraded or 
fragmented habitat (BLI 2011c, unpaginated; Forshaw 1989, p. 406). If 
not hunted or captured for the pet trade, they can survive in human-
modified landscapes provided sufficient large trees remain for nesting 
and feeding requirements (BLI 2011c, unpaginated; Forshaw 1989, p. 406; 
Ridgely 1981, p. 251). They are reported occurring in landscapes that 
include a combination of agricultural land, pastureland, timber 
harvesting areas, and remnant forest patches (Vaughn et al. 2006, p. 
920; Vaughan et al. 2005, p. 120; Vaughan et al. 2003, p. 7); partially 
cleared forest where large trees have been left standing (Forshaw 89, 
p. 407); pastureland with scattered woodlots or remnant patches of 
rainforest (Vaughn et al. 2009, p. 396; Forshaw 89, p. 407); and areas 
of human settlement (towns) (Guittar et al. 2009, p. 390). Several 
studies, however, indicate the species occurs in disturbed or secondary 
(recovering) forest habitat at lower densities than in primary 
(undisturbed) forest (Cowen 2009, pp. 11-15; Karubian et al. 2005, pp. 
622-623; Lloyd 2004, pp. 269, 272).
Movements
    Scarlet macaws appear to be nomadic to varying degrees (Boyd and 
Brightsmith 2011, in litt.; Collar 1997, p. 324). In some areas, 
scarlet macaw movements appear to be seasonal (Karubian et al. 2005, p. 
624; Renton 2002, p. 17). Because scarlet macaws feed primarily in the 
canopy on seeds (see Diet and Foraging), they are linked to the 
fruiting patterns of canopy trees. Results of several studies suggest 
that fluctuations in abundance of these food sources may result in 
movements of macaws to areas with greater food availability (Haugaasen 
and Peres 2007, pp. 4174, 4179-4180; Moegenburg and Levey 2003, entire; 
Renton 2002, pp. 17-18). Parrots species can travel tens to hundreds of 
kilometers (km) (10 km = 6.2 miles (mi); 100 km = 62.1 mi) and are 
consequently able to exploit resources in a variety of habitats within 
the larger landscape (Lee 2010, p. 7-8, citing several authors; 
Brightsmith 2006, unpaginated; Collar 1997, p. 241). Recently, radio 
telemetry studies have been conducted on scarlet macaws in Guatemala, 
Belize, and Peru (Boyd and Brightsmith 2011, in litt.; Boyd 2011, pers. 
comm.). Preliminary results show great variation in the distances over 
which scarlet macaws range, but suggest home ranges of individuals 
cover hundreds of km\2\ (100 km\2\ = 38.6 mi\2\). Of nine scarlet 
macaws tracked over periods of 3 to 9 months, the maximum extent of an 
individual's range (farthest distance between two points at which 
individuals were located with radio telemetry) varied from 
approximately 25 km (15.5 mi) to approximately 165 km (102.5 mi), with 
most between 25 km (15.5 mi) and 50 km (31.1 mi) (Boyd and Brightsmith 
2011, in litt.; Boyd 2011, pers. comm.).
    In addition to larger scale movements, scarlet macaws also undergo 
smaller scale movements between nocturnal roost sites and daily 
foraging areas. Conspicuous morning and evening flights to and from 
regularly used roost sites have been documented in several locations 
within the species' range (Marineros and Vaughan 1995, pp. 448-450; 
Forshaw 1989, p. 407).
Diet and Foraging
    Scarlet macaws forage primarily in the forest canopy. They are 
relatively general in their feeding habits, with studies reporting as 
many as 52 plant species, from at least 21 plant families, consumed, 
including nonnative and cultivated species in some areas. The majority 
of plants consumed by scarlet macaws are tree species, but these plants 
also include bromeliads, orchids, and lichen. Seeds comprise the 
majority of their diet, but they also consume various quantities of 
fruit pulp, flowers, leaves, and bark (Dear et al. 2010, pp. 14-15; Lee 
2010, pp. 153-160; Matuzak et al. 2008, p. 355; Renton 2006, p. 281; 
Vaughan et al. 2006, pp. 920, 924; Gilardi 1996 in Matuzak 2008, p. 
361; Marineros and Vaughan 1995, pp. 451-452; Nycander et al. 1995, p. 
424). In some areas scarlet macaws regularly visit clay banks where 
they consume soil or minerals, although it is unclear whether this 
provides a nutritional or other benefit to the species (Brightsmith et 
al. 2010, entire; Brightsmith 2004, pp. 136-137; Brightsmith and Munoz-
Najar 2004, entire).
    Fluctuations in the abundance and availability of scarlet macaw 
food sources may result in movements to areas with greater food 
availability, influencing local seasonal patterns of bird abundance 
(see Movements), or resulting in a change in diet (Lee 2010, p. 7; 
Cowen 2009, pp. 5, 23, citing several sources; Tobias and Brightsmith 
2007, p. 132; Brightsmith 2006, unpaginated; Renton 2002, p. 17).
Social Behavior
    The scarlet macaw is believed to be similar to most parrots in 
being monogamous and generally mating for life (Collar 1997, pp. 296, 
311). As with most parrots, the scarlet macaw lives year-round in pairs 
(Collar 1997, p. 296; Inigo-Elias 1996, p. 77). The species is also 
often observed flying in small flocks of 3 or 4 that include a pair and 
their young of the year, or in larger flocks of 20 to 30 individuals 
(Vaughan et al. 2005, p. 120; Juniper and Parr 1998, p. 425; Marineros 
and Vaughan 1995, p. 448; Forshaw 1989, pp. 406-407). Up to 50 
individuals may congregate at nocturnal roost sites (Juniper and Parr 
1998, p. 425), although one roost site with several hundred individuals 
is reported in Costa Rica (Marineros and Vaughan 1995, p. 455).
Reproduction
Nest Sites
    Scarlet macaws nest high above the ground in pre-existing tree 
cavities. The average height of scarlet macaw nest cavities ranges from 
16 meters (m) (52.5 feet (ft)) to 24 m (78.7 ft) above the ground 
(Guittar et al. 2009; Anleu et al. 2005; Inigo-Elias 1996, p. 59; 
Marineros and Vaughn 1995, p. 455). Scarlet macaws are relatively 
flexible with respect to selection of nest cavities (Guittar et al. 
2009, p. 391; Renton and Brightsmith 2009, pp. 3-6; Inigo-Elias 1996, 
pp. 92-93). They nest in a variety of tree species, including Ceiba 
pentandra, Schizolobium parahybum, Vatairea lundellii, Caryocar 
costaricense, Acacia glomerosa, Dipteryx micrantha, Iriartea deltoidea, 
Erythrina trees, and others, and nest in both live and dead trees 
(Guittar et al. 2009, pp. 389-399; Renton and Brightsmith 2009, pp. 3-
4; Brightsmith 2005, p. 297; Vaughan et al. 2003, p. 8; Inigo-Elias 
1996, p. 57; Marineros and Vaughan 1995, p. 456; Nycander et al. 1995, 
p. 431). The species also will nest in previously used cavities (Renton 
and Brightsmith 2009, p. 4-5; Nycander et al. 1995, p. 428), and will 
readily investigate and often nest in artificial (human-made) cavities 
when supplied (Brightsmith 2005, p. 297; Vaughan et al. 2003, p. 10; 
Nycander et al. 1995, pp. 435-436). Inigo-Elias (1996, p. 57) found 
that tree species used most often in the Usumacinta drainage area of 
southeast Mexico were used in proportion to their occurrence in the 
area studied.
    Due to the scarlet macaw's large size, the species requires large 
nest cavities, which are usually found in older, larger trees. Tree 
cavities large enough for macaws to nest in are scarce, and the 
availability of suitable nest sites may limit scarlet macaw 
reproduction (Vaughan et al. 2003, pp. 10-12; Inigo-

[[Page 40226]]

Elias 1996, p. 92; Nycander et al. 1995, p. 428; Munn 1992, pp. 55-56). 
Intense competition for nest cavities in some areas suggests suitable 
cavities may be limited in these areas. Scarlet macaws are frequently 
observed competing for nest cavities with other macaws, including other 
species and other scarlet macaw pairs (Renton and Brightsmith 2009, p. 
5; Vaughan et al. 2003, p. 10; Inigo-Elias 1996, pp.79, 96; Nycander 
1995, p. 428). Scarlet macaws are also sometimes displaced from nest 
cavities by Africanized honeybees (see Factor E).
    Several factors may contribute to the suitability of nest cavities. 
For instance, in addition to size requirements, scarlet macaws appear 
to select nest cavities in trees that are isolated from surrounding 
vegetation, possibly to protect from non-volant (unable to fly) 
predators (Brightsmith 2005, p. 302; Inigo-Elias 1996, p. 93).
Breeding
    Large macaws are long-lived species that mature slowly and have 
small clutch sizes, have generally only one clutch per year, have low 
survival of nestlings and fledglings, have a late age of first 
reproduction, have a large proportion of nonbreeding adults, and have 
restrictive nesting requirements (Wright et al. 2001, p. 711; Collar 
1997, pp. 296, 298; Munn 1992, pp. 53-56). Consequently, they have low 
rates of reproduction and are, therefore, particularly vulnerable to 
extinction through factors that increase their rates of mortality 
(Owens and Bennett 2000, p. 12146; Bennett and Owens 1997, entire).
    The scarlet macaw begins breeding at 4 to 7 years of age (Clum 
2008, p. 65; Brightsmith et al. 2005, p. 468), and the maximum breeding 
age is roughly estimated to be 25 years (Clum 2008, p. 65). In general, 
the proportion of breeding birds in a population of parrots in any 
given year is low (Collar 1997, p. 320). Research on three species of 
large macaws, including scarlet macaws, at a location free of 
anthropogenic disturbance suggests that only 10 to 20 percent of adult 
mated pairs attempt to nest in any given year (Munn 1992, pp. 47, 53-
54). Scarlet macaws lay from 1 to 4 eggs (Garcia et al. 2008, p. 101; 
Collar 1997, p. 421; Inigo-Elias 1996, p. 80; Nycander et al. 1995, p. 
430). Eggs are incubated for approximately 22-34 days, and chicks 
fledge at 65 to 100 days of age (Vigo et al. 2011, p. 147; Garcia et 
al. 2008, p. 101; Vaughan et al. 2003, p. 6; Collar 1997, p. 421; Inigo 
Elias 1996, pp. 81-82). Parental care is reported to last at least 77 
days (Myers and Vaughan 2004, p. 415). The breeding season varies with 
location but generally occurs between October and June (Brightsmith 
2005, pp. 297-299; Vaughan et al. 2003, p. 6; Collar 1997, p. 421; 
Inigo-Elias 1996, p. 87; Forshaw 1989, p. 408).
    The results of several studies indicate that approximately one-
third to one-half of nests fail each year (Renton and Brightsmith 2009, 
pp. 4-5; Garcia et al. 2008, p. 51; Nycander et al. 1995, pp. 431-432; 
Munn 1992, p. 54). Successful nests usually fledge only one or two 
young, with most (67 to 89 percent) fledging only one (Renton and 
Brightsmith 2009, p. 4; Clum 2008, pp. 65-66; Nycander et al. 1995, p. 
434; Munn 1992, p. 54). Nesting successes of 0.48 to 0.89 fledglings 
per nest have been reported (Renton and Brightsmith 2009, pp. 4-5; Boyd 
and McNab 2008, p. 61; Nycander et al. 1995, pp. 431, 434; Munn 1992, 
p. 54). Several factors contribute to nest mortality, including 
starvation of chicks, predation of eggs or chicks, and competition for 
nest cavities during which eggs are crushed or chicks are killed 
(Renton and Brightsmith 2009, p. 5; Garcia et al. 2008, p. 52; Inigo-
Elias 1996, p. 83; Nycander et al. 1995, pp. 431-434).
Distribution and Abundance
    The range-wide population of the species is estimated to be 
approximately 20,000-50,000 (BLI 2011a, unpaginated). BLI (2011a, 
unpaginated) reports the global population is suspected of being in 
decline due to ongoing habitat destruction and overexploitation of the 
species. However, they believe the decline will result in less than a 
30 percent decrease in the population over 10 years or three 
generations. A decline in the species is particularly evident in 
Mesoamerica, where it was formerly considered widespread but now occurs 
primarily in small, isolated populations where large tracts of forest 
remain (Wiedenfeld 1994, p. 102; Forshaw 1989, p. 406). Using 1992 
estimates from Honduras, Wiedenfeld estimated the total number of 
scarlet macaws in Mesoamerica to be approximately 5,000 birds, 
consisting of 4,000 A. m. cyanoptera (occurring from southern Mexico to 
Nicaragua), and 1,000 A. m. macao (occurring in Costa Rica and Panama). 
More recently, McNab (2009, unpaginated) suggests the current 
population of A. m. cyanoptera is fewer than 1,000 birds.
Maya Forest (Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize)
    Described as previously abundant in Mexico (Comisi[oacute]n 
Nacional Para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad (CONABIO) 2011, 
p. 2) and numbering in the many thousands (Patten et al. 2010, p. 30), 
the scarlet macaw is now reported to occur in only two small, isolated 
populations in Mexico. One population occurs in the upper Rio Uxpanapa 
region near San Francisco La Paz in Oaxaca (Inigo-Elias 1996, pp. 16-
17). Citing several sources, Inigo-Elias (2010, unpaginated) and 
McReynolds (2011, in litt.) indicate that the upper Uxpanapa River 
population consists of possibly 50 scarlet macaws. According to 
Townsend Peterson et al. (2003, p. 232), it is possible that the 
species may occur seasonally in this area. The second population occurs 
in the southern Mexico and Guatemala border area of eastern Chiapas, 
and is discussed below.
    Within the tri-national region of southern Mexico, northern 
Guatemala, and Belize, the species occurs in three small populations or 
subpopulations: (1) In the Usamacinto watershed in eastern Chiapis, 
Mexico, which is located in the Lacandon forest (part of the Maya 
Forest), Mexico's largest remaining expanse of tropical evergreen 
forest, and which includes the approximately 3,000 km\2\ (1,158 mi\2\) 
Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, several smaller protected areas, and 
the municipality of Maques de Commillas (United Nations Educational, 
Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 2012a, unpaginated; 
McReynolds 2011, in litt.; Enriquez et al. 2009, p. 13; Castillo-
Santiago et al. 2007, pp. 1215, 1217; Inigo-Elias 1996, pp. 16-17, 23); 
(2) in the western Department of Peten in northern Guatemala, primarily 
in the Maya Biosphere Reserve (Garcia et al. 2008, entire); and (3) in 
southwest Belize, where it is known to breed only in the Chiquibul 
region, which includes Chiquibul National Park and other protected 
areas (Salas and Meerman 2008, p. 42). Based on field studies conducted 
from 1989 to 1993, Inigo-Elias (1996, pp. 96-97) estimated that there 
were ``probably less than 200 breeding pairs'' within Mexico's 
Usamacinto watershed. In Guatemala, the population is recently 
estimated to be between 150 and 250 birds (McNab 2008, p. 7; Wildlife 
Conservation Society Guatemala 2005, in McReynolds 2011, in litt.). 
Estimates from Belize are reported to vary from 60 to 219 individuals 
(McReynolds 2011, in litt.), but based on field observations in 2009, 
McReynolds (2011, in litt.) places the current Belize population at 
approximately 200 individuals. Garcia et al. (2008, pp. 52-53) estimate 
the total population in the tri-national Maya region, based on habitat 
modeling and current threats, to be 399 individuals--137 in Mexico, 159 
in Guatemala, and

[[Page 40227]]

103 in Belize. Evidence suggests the populations in Mexico, Guatemala, 
and Belize are not completely isolated from one another. In a recent 
radio telemetry study, a fledgling radio-tagged in Guatemala flew 130 
km (80.8 mi) to Mexico in one day (McReynolds 2011, in litt.). In 
addition, recent studies provide evidence of gene flow between nest 
sites in Guatemala and Belize, and high levels of genetic diversity in 
the tri-national region (Schmidt and Amato 2008, p. 137).
    Clum (2008, entire) presents preliminary results of a population 
viability analysis (PVA) of scarlet macaws in the tri-national region. 
The results showed that the variable most significantly and 
consistently impacting population growth is the percentage of 
successfully breeding females (Clum 2008, p. 80). In other words, 
events that lower female breeding success, such as poaching and nest 
predation, are the most important factors limiting recovery of the 
species in this region. Estimated, ``best guess'' values were used for 
several variables in the baseline scenario, which indicated a 
probability of extinction within 100 years of 12.4 percent ( 1.5 percent SE (standard error)). However, although useful in 
identifying limiting factors where management should be focused, the 
absolute values of PVA scenario outcomes (e.g., probability of 
extinction within 100 years) are generally not reliable because 
uncertainty in the estimates of variables can introduce substantial 
uncertainty in predictions and dramatically change outcome values 
(McGowan et al. 2011, entire; Clum 2008, p. 80; Beissinger and Westphal 
1998, entire).
Honduras and Nicaragua
    Except for a remnant population of approximately 12 or 13 pairs on 
the Peninsula of Cosig[uuml]ina on the Pacific slope of Nicaragua 
(Lezama 2011, pers. comm.), the distribution of the species in these 
countries is now primarily limited to eastern Honduras and eastern 
Nicaragua. Wiedenfeld (1994, pp. 101-102) estimated the total 
population of Honduras to be 1,000 to 1,500 birds, located in the 
provinces of Olancho, Gracias a Dios, and Colon in the Mosquitia, a 
region of extensive forest straddling the eastern Honduras-Nicaragua 
border. Currently, the species occurs in eastern Olancho, western 
Gracias a Dios, and southeastern Colon (Portillo Reyes 2005, p. 71). 
The region includes several thousand square kilometers in protected 
areas, including the Pl[aacute]tano Biosphere Reserve (5,000 km\2\ 
(1,931 mi\2\)) in Honduras, and the Bosaw[aacute]s Biosphere Reserve 
(21,815 km\2\ (8,423 mi\2\)) in adjacent Nicaragua (UNESCO 2012b, 
unpaginated; UNESCO 2012c, unpaginated; Vallely et al. 2010, p. 52). 
McReynolds (2011, in litt.) estimates the population of the Rus Rus 
area of the Honduran Mosquitia alone to be 1,000 to 1,500 birds, based 
on the number of chicks reported as poached by Portillo Reyes et al. 
(2004, in McReynolds 2011, in litt.) and assuming a 20 percent 
reproductive success rate. Based on literature sources from the 1990s, 
Anderson et al. (2004, p. 465) report the scarlet macaw as ``common'' 
within the Honduran Mosquitia. More recent information, however, 
indicates that loss of habitat and demand for the pet trade has put the 
species in danger of extinction in this region (Portillo Reyes 2005, in 
Portillo Reyes et al. 2010, p. 6).
    Wiedenfeld (1995, in Snyder et al. 2000, p. 150) estimated the 
Nicaragua population of scarlet macaw to be 1,500 to 2,500 birds. 
However, the species was not detected during either of two national 
surveys of parrots conducted in 1999 and 2004 (Lezama et al. 2004, in 
McReynolds 2011, in litt.). The species is currently thought to number 
up to 700 in Nicaragua, with groups of 30 to 40 scarlet macaws 
frequently reported in the Rio Coco area, which forms the border with 
Honduras (Lezama 2010, in McReynolds 2011, in litt.). Feria and de los 
Monteros (2007, in McReynolds 2011, in litt.), however, consider the 
number in eastern Nicaragua to be fewer than 100 birds.
Costa Rica
    Vaughan et al. (1991, abstract) describe scarlet macaws as having 
previously occurred in tropical wet and dry forests throughout most of 
Costa Rica, while Ridgely (1981, p. 252) describes the species as 
having always occurred primarily on the Pacific slope of the country. 
Dear et al. (2010, p. 8) describe the species as currently occurring in 
only two viable populations: In central Costa Rica's Central Pacific 
Conservation Area (ACOPAC) in the region of Carara National Park 
(approximately 450 birds) (Arias et al. 2008, in McReynolds 2011, in 
litt.), and in southwest Costa Rica's Osa Conservation Area (ACOSA) in 
the region of Corcovado National Park and the Osa Peninsula (estimates 
ranging from between 800 and 1,200 to 2,000 birds) (Dear et al. 2005 
and Guzman 2008, in McReynolds 2011, in litt.). These two populations 
appear to be genetically isolated (Nader et al. 1999, entire). Dear et 
al. (2010, p. 8) report that small groups of 10 to 25 individuals are 
also found in other parts of the country, including Palo Verde (Pacific 
slope of northwest Costa Rica), Barra del Colorado (Atlantic slope of 
northeast Costa Rica), and Estrella Valley (Atlantic slope of southeast 
Costa Rica), and that the species has been released in several areas on 
the Pacific coast. Further, Penard et al. (2008, in McReynolds 2011, in 
litt.) report a population of 48 to 54 birds in Maquenque National 
Wildlife Refuge, on the Atlantic slope border with Nicaragua, and 
according to Chassot (2011, pers. comm.), this population appears to be 
increasing. Based on plausible regional estimates, McReynolds (2011, in 
litt.) estimates the current population for the country to be about 
1,800 birds.
    Citing Chassot et al. (2006), McReynolds (2011, in litt.) indicates 
that in a 2006 review of all parrot populations in Costa Rica, 
participants believed the scarlet macaw was most accurately described 
by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 
category of ``Minor Risk-Almost Threatened.'' Vaughan et al. (2005, 
entire) show that in 1995, the scarlet macaw population in the ACOPAC 
region was declining, due primarily to poaching of nestlings for the 
pet trade, and that the population increased following intensive 
conservation efforts in 1996 and 1997. In ACOSA, Dear et al. (2010, p. 
10) indicate that 85 percent of residents interviewed in 2005 believed 
scarlet macaws were more abundant than 5 years prior, which suggests 
this population may be increasing.
Panama
    Ridgely (1981, p. 253) describes the species as almost extinct on 
the mainland of Panama, but ``abundant'' and occurring in ``substantial 
numbers'' on Coiba Island, which, at the time, was a penal colony where 
settlement and most hunting was prohibited. McReynolds (2011, in litt.) 
provides a review of the more recent available information on 
distribution and abundance in the country as follows:

    Panama has very few Scarlet Macaws. The last sightings of 
Scarlet Macaws in the border region of Panama and Costa Rica, the 
area of the upper Rio Corotu (or Rio Bartolo Arriba) near Puerto 
Armuelles in the Chiriqu[iacute] province, occurred in 1998 (Burica 
Press, 2007). There is a small, but unknown number, in Cerro Hoya 
National Park in the southwest corner of the Azuero Peninsula of 
Veraguas (Rodriguez & Hinojosa, 2010). The current population of 
Scarlet Macaws in Panama is very likely less than 200. Isla Coiba 
remains the last large stronghold, with a rumored estimate of 100 
individuals (Keller & Schmitt, 2008), or ``large populations'' 
(Barranco, 2009).


[[Page 40228]]


South America
    Within northern South America, the scarlet macaw currently occurs 
primarily in the Amazon Biome of eastern Columbia, Venezuela, Guyana, 
Suriname, French Guyana, Brazil, northeast Ecuador, eastern Peru, and 
northern Bolivia (collectively referred to in this document as the 
Amazon) (BLI 2011a, unpaginated; Inigo-Elias 2010, unpaginated; Juniper 
and Parr 1998, p. 425; Collar 1997, p. 421; Forshaw 1989, pp. 406-407). 
The Amazon comprises not only most of the South America range of the 
species but also approximately 83 percent of its world range (BLI 
2011c, unpaginated). The scarlet macaw is also reported to occur in 
relatively small areas outside the Amazon, including in parts of 
several northern Venezuelan states (Hilty 2003, p. 327) and west of the 
Andes in northwest Columbia (Hilty and Brown 1986, p. 200).
    Using Panjabi's (2008, in BLI 2011a, unpaginated) estimate of fewer 
than 50,000 for the range wide population, and Wiedenfeld's (1994, p. 
102) estimate of 5,000 for Mesoamerica, the South American population 
of the scarlet macaw can be very roughly estimated to be fewer than 
45,000 birds. The species is generally considered common over much of 
its South American range, especially in the Amazon Basin (Hilty 2003, 
p. 327; Angehr et al. 2001, p. 161; Juniper and Parr 1998, p. 425; 
Collar 1997, p. 421; Forshaw 1989, p. 406; Hilty and Brown 1986, p. 
200; Ridgely 1981, p. 251). Juniper and Parr (1998, p. 425) describe 
the species as evidently declining throughout its range due to habitat 
loss, trade, and hunting. Others report it as having declined around 
major population centers and settlement areas (Ridgely 1981, p. 251; 
Forshaw 1989, p. 407).
    We are aware of little recent information on local (country, 
region) populations within South America. Lloyd (2004, p. 270) provides 
the only local population estimate we are aware of, which includes the 
Tambopata Province of Peru. Using density estimates calculated from 
field counts in different forest types, and area of forest cover 
presented in Kratter (1995, in Lloyd 2004, p. 269), Lloyd calculated 
the Tambopata population to number from 4,734-24,332 individuals. The 
species was previously described as uncommon, locally extirpated in 
areas, and declining in eastern Peru (Inigo-Elias 2010, unpaginated, 
citing several sources; Brightsmith 2009, in litt.; Forshaw 1989, p. 
407, citing several sources). In 2004, the scarlet macaw was classified 
as ``Vulnerable'' in Peru, likely due to concerns about 
overexploitation for the pet trade (Brightsmith 2009, in litt.). 
However, a 2009 species review classified the species in Peru at the 
lower threat category of ``Near-Threatened'' based on (1) evidence 
suggesting the pet trade threat is lower than previously believed, and 
(2) the proximity of scarlet macaws in Peru to the existence of ``large 
populations'' in adjacent Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, and Columbia 
(Brightsmith 2009, in litt.).
    The remaining information on the species' populations in South 
America is qualitative. Citing several published works from the 1970s 
and 1980s, Forshaw (1989, p. 407) described the scarlet macaw as 
locally extirpated from areas of northeastern Ecuador and northeastern 
Bolivia. In the lowland Ecuadorian Amazon, scarlet macaws are reported 
to have suffered a rapid decline in recent decades and are considered a 
``Near-Threatened'' species in Ecuador (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001, in 
Karubian et al. 2005, p. 618). The species is believed to be common in 
the Orinoco and Amazon Basins in Columbia, patchily distributed and 
becoming rare in Venezuela, and occurring in large numbers throughout 
the Amazon in Brazil (Inigo-Elias 2010, unpaginated, citing several 
sources).
Conservation Status
    The scarlet macaw is listed in Appendix I of the Convention on 
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora 
(CITES) (United Nations Environment Programme--World Conservation 
Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC) 2012, unpaginated). The species is 
currently classified as ``Least Concern'' by the IUCN. In 2011, BLI 
proposed reclassifying the scarlet macaw from IUCN ``Least Concern'' to 
``Threatened,'' based on the area of Amazon habitat projected to be 
lost to deforestation by 2050 (BLI 2011b, unpaginated; BLI 2011e, 
unpaginated). However, based on review and recommendations from 
regional experts, a current revision of the proposal recommends the 
species remain classified as ``Least Concern'' due to its level of 
tolerance of degraded and fragmented habitat (BLI 2011c, unpaginated).
    The scarlet macaw is considered in danger of extinction in Mexico 
(Government of Mexico 2010a, p. 64), Belize (Biodiversity and 
Environmental Resource Data System of Belize 2012, unpaginated; Meerman 
2005, p. 30), Costa Rica (Costa Rica Sistema Nacional de Areas de 
Conservacion 2012, unpaginated), and Panama (Fundaci[oacute]n de 
Parques Nacionales y Medio Ambiente 2007, p. 125). The species is also 
on Guatemala's Listado de Especies de Fauna Silvestre Amenazadas de 
Extinci[oacute]n (Lista Roja de Fauna) (list of species threatened with 
extinction (red list of fauna)) (Government of Guatemala 2001, p. 15), 
Honduras's Listado Oficial de Especies de Animales Silvestres de 
Preocupaci[oacute]n Especial en Honduras (Official List of Species of 
Wild Animals of Special Concern in Honduras) (Secretaria de Recursos 
Naturales y Ambiente. 2008, p. 62), and Nicaragua's list of species for 
which the season of use (e.g., for harvest or capture) is indefinitely 
closed (Nicaragua Ministerio del Ambiente y Los Recursos Naturales 
2010, entire). In South America, the species is listed as vulnerable in 
Peru (Government of Peru 2004, p. 276855), but a more recent evaluation 
of the species categorizes it at the lower threat level of ``near 
threatened'' (Brightsmith 2009, in litt.). The species is also 
categorized as ``near threatened'' in Ecuador (Ridgely and Greenfield 
2001, in Karubian et al. 2005, p. 618) and as ``near threatened'' on 
Venezuela's red list (Rodriguez and Rojas-Suarez 2008, p. 50). We are 
unaware of the scarlet macaw having official conservation status in any 
other of the species' range countries.
Conservation Measures
    Some of the current range of the scarlet macaw is located within 
officially designated protected areas (see Distribution and Abundance). 
Other conservation measures employed in some areas of the species' 
range include increasing the presence of agency or organization 
personnel in nest areas to deter nest poaching, introduction of 
captive-reared birds into the wild, re-introduction of wild-caught 
birds into the wild, placement of artificial nest boxes within nesting 
areas, and public outreach and community organization efforts (Wildlife 
Conservation Society (WCS) 2010, pp. 2-3; WCS 2009, pp. 2-3; Garcia et 
al. 2008, p. 54; WCS 2008, entire; Brightsmith et al. 2005, entire; 
Dear et al. 2005, abstract; Vaughan et al. 2005, entire; Vaughan et al. 
2003, entire; Brightsmith 2000a, entire; Brightsmith 2000b, entire; 
Vaughan et al. 1999, entire; Nycander et al. 1995, entire). To the 
extent that we have information indicating the effects of these 
measures on the scarlet macaw's status, they are considered and 
discussed within our evaluation of threats below.

[[Page 40229]]

Evaluation of Threats

Introduction
    This status review focuses on the scarlet macaw populations in 
Mexico's southeastern state of Chiapas; Central America; and the Amazon 
Biome in South America. Although the species is also reported to occur 
in small numbers in Oaxaca, Mexico, and areas of Venezuela and Columbia 
that lie outside the Amazon, there is little information on the species 
in these areas and these areas constitute a relatively small fraction 
of the species' worldwide range. As discussed above, the Amazon 
constitutes 83 percent of the species' world range (BLI 2011c, 
unpaginated), and most information from South America is from the 
Amazon. However, we request information from the public on the status 
of, and threats to, scarlet macaws that occur in South America outside 
the Amazon, and in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Factor A: Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or 
Curtailment of Habitat or Range
    One of the main threats to neotropical parrot species, in general, 
is loss of forest habitat (Snyder et al. 2000, p. 98). Deforestation 
(conversion of forest to other land uses such as agriculture) and 
forest degradation (reduction in forest biomass, such as through 
selective cutting of trees or fire) occur across much of the range of 
the scarlet macaw. The primary cause is conversion of forest to 
agriculture (crop and pasture), although other land uses, including 
construction of roads and other infrastructure, logging, fires, oil and 
gas extraction, and mining also contribute significantly and to varying 
degrees in different areas of the species range (Blaser et al. 2011, 
pp. 263, 290, 299, 310, 334, 344, 354, 363-364, 375, 394; Boucher et 
al. 2011, entire; Clark and Aide 2011, entire; Food and Agriculture 
Organization (FAO) 2011a, p. 17; May et al. 2011, pp. 7-13; Muller and 
Patry 2011, p. 81; Nasi et al. 2011, pp. 203-204; Pacheco 2011, entire; 
DeFries et al. 2010, abstract; FAO 2010a, p. 15; Government of Costa 
Rica 2010, pp. 38-39; Jarvis et al. 2010, entire; Belize Ministry of 
Natural Resources and Environment 2010, pp. 41-45; Armenteras and 
Morales 2009, pp. 134-176; Garcia et al. 2008, pp. 50-51; Grau and Aide 
2008, unpaginated; Harvey et al. 2008, p. 8; Kaimowitz 2008, pp. 487-
491; Mosandl et al. 2008, pp. 38-39; Nepstad et al. 2008, entire; Foley 
et al. 2007, pp. 26-27; Barreto et al. 2006, entire; Fearnside 2005, 
pp. 681-683; Carr et al. 2003, entire). Deforestation poses a potential 
threat to the scarlet macaw because it directly eliminates the species' 
tropical forest habitat, removing the trees that support the species' 
nesting, roosting, and dietary requirements. It may also result in 
fragmented habitat that reduces and isolates populations; as fragments 
are reduced, they are less likely to provide resources for species that 
require large areas, and small areas of forest may only support small 
populations of a species (Ibarra-Macias 2009, entire, citing several 
sources; Lees and Peres 2006, entire; Lindenmayer and Fischer 2006, in 
Ibarra-Macias et al. 2011, p. 703). Fragmented habitat could 
potentially compromise the genetics of these populations through 
inbreeding depression and genetic drift (see Factor E).
    Forest degradation poses a threat to the species because it may 
reduce the number of trees in an area. Although scarlet macaws are 
known to use partially cleared and cultivated landscapes (see Habitat), 
they are only able to do so if the landscape maintains enough adequate 
large trees to support the species' nesting and dietary requirements. A 
reduced number of trees may reduce the availability of adequate nest 
sites and food resources across the landscape, resulting in a reduction 
in the number of scarlet macaws the landscape can support and, thus, a 
reduction in the species' population. Scarlet macaws are especially 
dependent on larger, older trees because these trees provide the large 
nesting cavities required by the species. One of the causes of forest 
degradation within the species' range, selective logging, generally 
targets older, larger trees, thus posing a threat to parrot populations 
by creating a shortage of suitable nesting sites, increasing 
competition, and causing the loss of current generations through an 
increase in infanticide and egg destruction (Lee 2010, pp. 2, 12).
    Deforestation and forest degradation also pose a threat to scarlet 
macaws through indirect effects. In the absence of management for 
maintenance of tree density or regeneration, forest degradation may 
eventually lead to full deforestation or degradation to low-stature 
brush ecosystems (Boucher et al. 2011, p. 6; May et al. 2011, pp. 11, 
13-16; Nasi et al. 2011, p. 201; Gibbs et al. 2010, p. 2; Government of 
Mexico 2010b, p. 32; Nepstad et al. 2008, pp. 1739-1740; Foley et al. 
2007, pp. 26-27; Killeen 2007, pp. 25-27; Fearnside 2005, pp. 682-683). 
Also, clearing or degradation of forests often provides easier access 
by humans to previously inaccessible areas inhabited by the species. 
Easier access by humans increases the vulnerability of species to 
overexploitation (Peres 2001, entire; Putz et al. 2000, pp. 16, 23) 
(see Factor B) and also threatens the species because increased access 
to forests is also often followed by full deforestation as lands are 
cleared for agricultural use (Kaimowitz and Angelsen 1998, in Putz et 
al. 2000, p. 16).
    Below we provide a summary of information on deforestation and 
forest degradation within the range of the scarlet macaw.
Mesoamerica
    Destruction of forest habitat is one of the main causes of the 
decline of the scarlet macaw in Mesoamerica (CONABIO 2011, p. 5; Lezama 
2011, pers. comm.; McGinley et al. 2009, p. 11; Garcia et al. 2008, p. 
50; Hansen and Florez 2008, pp. 48-50; Snyder et al. 2000, p. 150; 
Collar 1997, p. 421; Forshaw 1989, p. 406; Ridgely 1981, pp. 251-253). 
Although much of the species' habitat within South America remains 
intact, the habitat of the species in Mesoamerica has changed 
substantially over the past several decades as a result of 
deforestation. Mesoamerica has had among the highest deforestation 
rates in the world, and all countries in the region lost much (up to 50 
percent) of their forest during recent decades (Bray 2010, pp. 92-95; 
Kaimowitz 2008, p. 487; Carr et al. 2006, pp. 10-11; Dejong et al. 
2000, pp. 506; Rzedowski 1978, in Masera et al. 1997, p. 273). The 
remaining forest is fragmented and includes few large tracts of forest 
habitat (Bray 2010, pp. 92-93; Snyder et al. 2000, p. 150; Wiedenfeld 
1994, p. 101). Although deforestation rates have declined in 
Mesoamerica during the past two decades, they are still very high (FAO 
2010a, pp. 232-233; Kaimowitz 2008, p. 487) and include the loss of 
significant amounts of primary forest (FAO 2010a, pp. 55, 259). 
Further, deforestation is occurring rapidly in many areas within the 
range of the scarlet macaw in this region, including in Chiapas, 
Mexico, western Pet[eacute]n in Guatemala; eastern Olancho in Honduras; 
and eastern Nicaragua (Kaimowitz 2008, p. 487).
Mexico
    During 1990-2010, Mexico lost approximately 6 million hectares (ha) 
(approximately 15 million acres (ac)) of forest, and had one of the 
largest decreases in primary forests worldwide (FAO 2010a, pp. 56, 
233). Although Mexico's rate of forest loss has slowed in the past 
decade, it continues at a rate of 1,550 km\2\ (598 mi\2\) per year, 
with an estimated 2,500-3,000 km\2\ (965-1,158 mi\2\) per year degraded 
(FAO 2010a, p.

[[Page 40230]]

233; Government of Mexico 2010c, in Blaser et al. 2011, p. 344). Most 
of Mexico's remaining scarlet macaws occur in the Lacandon Forest of 
the southeastern state of Chiapas (see Distribution and Abundance). The 
main drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in this region are 
conversion of forest to pasture and agriculture, and uncontrolled 
logging (overexploitation and illegal logging) (Government of Mexico 
2010b, pp. 22-24; Jimenez-Ferrer et al. 2008, p. 195-196; Castillo-
Santiago et al. 2007, p. 1217; Oglethorpe et al. 2007, p. 85). In 
southeastern Mexico, the area of land devoted to cattle farming has 
increased dramatically due to the increase of regional meat prices and 
a decrease in the economy of staple crop cultivation (Jimenez-Ferrer et 
al. 2008, pp. 195-196). The state of Chiapas encourages cattle farming 
through subsidies (Enriquez et al. 2009, p. 58), and clearing of forest 
for pasture in the state is ongoing (Enriquez et al. 2009, p. 48-49). 
Chiapas has the second highest rate of deforestation of Mexico's 31 
states, with recent forest losses averaging approximately 600 km\2\ 
(232 m\2\) per year (Masek et al. 2011, p. 10). Cattle farming is the 
most profitable activity within the Lacandon Forest and is extensive in 
the region (Jimenez-Ferrer et al. 2008, pp. 195-196). Deforestation 
risk outside protected areas in the Lacandon Forest is primarily 
categorized as high to very high. Inside protected areas, the risk of 
deforestation is categorized as low to very low (Secretaria de Medio 
Ambiente y Recursos Naturales 2011, unpaginated). Monte Azules 
Biosphere Reserve is the largest protected area in the Lacandon Forest, 
and studies indicate that it has been relatively successful at 
conserving the resources within its boundaries (Castillo-Santiago et 
al. 2007, pp. 1223-1224; Figueroa and Sanchez-Cordero 2008, p. 3231). 
However, according to Enriquez et al. (2009, pp. 28, 57), the reserve 
is one of 32 priority forest regions defined by Mexico's Federal 
Environmental Protection Agency in which more than 60 percent of 
illegal logging in the country occurs. Although illegal logging has 
received more attention from Mexico's policy makers recently, efforts 
to address the problem have had limited success due to insufficient 
human and financial resources to enforce laws effectively, and poorly 
designed control efforts (Blaser et al. 2010, p. 346; Enriquez et al. 
2009, p. 57; Kaimowitz 2008, p. 491). Ongoing illegal logging within 
the reserve is likely degrading the reserve's forests, as illegal 
logging is usually conducted using unsustainable methods (Enriquez et 
al. 2009, p. 56). Degradation through illegal logging may affect 
nesting trees and food resources, and may result in future 
deforestation if not effectively addressed. While we are unaware of 
information on projected future rates of deforestation specifically in 
the Lacandon Forest region, Diaz-Gallegos et al. (2010, p. 194) project 
a loss of approximately 20,000 km\2\ (7,722 mi\2\) between 2000 and 
2015 in the southeastern States (which include Chiapas), assuming the 
same rate of loss as occurred during the period 1987-2000. Further, by 
2030, forest area in Mexico as a whole is projected to decrease, with 
anywhere from about 10 percent to nearly 60 percent of mature forests 
lost, and approximately 0 to 54 percent of regrowth forests lost 
(Commission for Environmental Cooperation 2010, pp. 45, 75).
    Although Mexico implements several forest conservation measures and 
has made significant progress in conserving forest within its 
boundaries (Blaser et al. 2011, pp. 344-346; Center for International 
Forestry Research (CIFOR) 2010, pp. 34-39; Masek et al. 2011, p. 17; 
FAO 2010a, p. 233; Perron-Welch 2010, entire; Enriquez et al. 2009, pp. 
4, 36-41; Munoz-Pina et al. 2008, entire; Karousakis 2007, pp. 24-25, 
29), we consider deforestation and forest degradation to be an 
immediate threat to the species in Mexico because (1) clearing of 
forest for pasture is ongoing in Chiapas, (2) the Lacandon Forest 
outside of protected areas is at high to very high risk of 
deforestation, (3) illegal logging is ongoing in the largest reserve in 
the Lacandon Forest and attempts to address the problem of illegal 
logging in Mexico have had limited success, and (4) deforestation is 
projected to continue in Mexico as a whole and in the southeastern 
states.
Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and Nicaragua
    With the exception of Belize, the countries of northern Central 
American have the highest rates of deforestation in Latin America. 
Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua lost 560 km\2\ (216 mi\2\) (or 1.47 
percent), 1,200 km\2\ (463 mi\2\) (or 2.16 percent), and 700 km\2\(270 
mi\2\) (or 2.11 percent) per year, respectively, between 2005 and 2010 
(FAO 2010a, p. 232). Belize, has a much lower deforestation rate (100-
150 km\2\ (39-58 mi\2\) (0.3-0.68 percent) per year (Cherrington et al. 
2010, p. 22; FAO 2010a, p. 232)), but deforestation and forest 
degradation is increasing in the Chiquibal region, the only region in 
which scarlet macaws are known to nest in the country (Belize Ministry 
of Natural Resources and Environment 2010, pp. 44-45; Salas and Meerman 
2008, pp. 22, 42).
    The main causes of deforestation and forest degradation within the 
range of the scarlet macaw in these countries include clearing for 
agriculture and cattle pasture, illegal colonization in protected 
areas, illegal logging, purposefully set fires, and, in some areas, 
activities related to drug trafficking. Some or all of these activities 
are ongoing in areas occupied by the species, including in the Maya 
Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala, Rio Platano Biosphere in Honduras, 
Bosawas Biosphere Reserve in Nicaragua, and the Chiquibul region in 
Belize, resulting in the loss of significant amounts of forest area in 
locations in which the few remaining scarlet macaw populations in these 
countries occur (Blaser et al. 2011, pp. 310, 334; Friends for 
Conservation and Development 2011, pp. 1, 4; Muller and Patry, 2011, 
pp. 80-81; Radachowsky et al. in press, pp. 5-7; UNEP-WCMC 2011a, 
unpaginated; UNESCO 2011a, unpaginated; UNESCO 2011b, unpaginated; 
Belize Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment 2010, pp. 44-
46; Bray 2010, pp. 100-106; Tolisano and Lopez-Selva 2010, pp. 3-4; 
Anderson and Devenish 2009, pp. 256-257; Government of Honduras 2009, 
unpaginated; McGinley et al. 2009, pp. 13, 33-36; McNab 2009, 
unpaginated; Muccio 2009, p. 14; Davalos and Bejarano 2008, p. 223; 
Garcia et al. 2008, pp. 50-54; Grau and Aide 2008, unpaginated; Hansen 
and Florez 2008, p. 21; Kaimowitz 2008, pp. 487, 490; Reynolds 2008, p. 
6; Wade 2007, entire; Parkswatch 2005, unpaginated; Conservation 
International 2004, pp. 13-14; Parkswatch 2003, p. 1; Richards et al. 
2003, entire; WCS undated, pp. 10-11). Deforestation and forest 
degradation are exacerbated in this region by the combination of weak 
governance (e.g., limited resources and capacity for law enforcement, 
lack of reasonable enforcement strategies, poorly designed and complex 
legislation, corruption, and weak commitment in judicial systems), 
increasing human populations placing demands on forest resources, and 
the increasing presence of drug trafficking and other illegal 
activities, which create an environment of insecurity and undermine 
conservation efforts (Boucher et al. 2011, p. 11; Larson and Petkova 
2011, p. 100; Pellegrini 2009, pp. 15-19; UNESCO 2011a, unpaginated; 
WCS 2011, p. 4; Balzotti 2010, pp. 4, 15, citing several sources; 
Belize Ministry of Natural Resources

[[Page 40231]]

and Environment 2010, pp. 5, 41-42, 45; Meerman and Cayetano 2010, pp. 
32-33; Science for Environment Policy 2010, entire; Tolisano and Lopez-
Selva 2010, pp. 2, 38, 42-43, 47-49; Union of Concerned Scientists 
2010, unpaginated; WCS 2010, p. 4; McGinley et al. 2009, pp. 34-37; WCS 
2009, pp. 5-6; Davalos and Bejarano 2008, p. 223; Hansen and Florez 
2008, pp. 21-26; Salas and Meerman 2008, pp. 43-45; Bray et al. 2008, 
unpaginated; Kaimowitz 2008, pp. 488, 490; Oglethorpe et al. 2007, p. 
87; Conservation International 2004, pp. 3, 12-13; Richards 2003, 
entire). Although forest conservation efforts in Guatemala's Maya 
Biosphere are currently preventing further habitat loss in the range of 
about 75 percent of Guatemala's scarlet macaw population (Boyd and 
McNab 2008, pp. v-vi), this area is currently unstable (Human Rights 
Watch 2012, pp. 1-2; United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights 
in Guatemala 2012, pp. 6, 14; U.S. Department of State 2012, 
unpaginated; Dudley 2011, pp. 12-13, 15; Southern Pulse 2011, 
unpaginated; Radachowsky et al. in press, p. 5; Dudley 2010, p. 14; 
Farah 2010, unpaginated; Schmidt 2010, unpaginated; Muccio 2009, p. 14; 
Parkswatch 2005; Parkswatch 2003). Several high-profile violent crimes 
in the area during 2010-2011 resulted in violent confrontations between 
authorities and organized criminals and a declaration of a state of 
siege in the area by Guatemala's president and cabinet (WCS 2011, p. 
4). The increased violence and fear of retaliation by criminals has 
hindered enforcement and prosecution of law in the area, and, along 
with turnover in political administrations and key political and agency 
personnel, pose significant risk to forest conservation efforts in the 
Maya Biosphere Reserve (WCS 2011, pp. 4-5; WCS 2010, pp. 4-5).
    Although forest conservation measures exist in the other countries 
in this region (Belize Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment 
2010, pp. 54-58; Bray 2010, pp. 99, 102-103, 106; Hansen and Florez 
2008, pp. 9-12, 17-20; Kaimowitz 2008, pp. 488-491; McGinley et al. 
2009, pp. 27-33), we are unaware of any information indicating these 
conservation measures are significantly reducing deforestation and 
forest degradation within the current range of the species. For this 
reason, and because (1) the much reduced and limited forest habitat in 
these countries is still being cleared in these countries, and (2) the 
habitat of up to 25 percent of Guatemala's population is still at high 
threat of being deforested or degraded, and the protection of the other 
75 percent appears tenuous, we consider deforestation and forest 
degradation to be occurring a level that poses a significant and 
immediate threat to scarlet macaws in all four countries in this 
region.
Costa Rica and Panama
    Costa Rica experienced some of the highest rates of deforestation 
in the world during past decades (Bray 2010, p. 107; Government of 
Costa Rica 2010, p. 68). As a result of deforestation, the country's 
forest cover declined from 67 percent in 1940, to 17-20 percent in 1983 
(Bray 2010, p. 107), and in 1993, only 20 percent of original scarlet 
macaw habitat remained, all within protected areas (Marineros and 
Vaughan 1995, pp. 445-446). However, during the 1990s, Costa Rica 
implemented several forest conservation strategies, including new laws 
protecting forests and mechanisms of payment for ecosystem services 
(Bray 2010, pp. 107-109; Kaimowitz 2008, pp. 488-491; Pagiola 2008, 
entire; Sanchez-Azofeifa et al. 2003, entire). Subsequently, forest 
cover has been increasing in the country (a process referred to as 
afforestation). Costa Rica is the only country in Central America to 
experience a positive change in forest cover. Between 2000 and 2010, 
Costa Rica had afforestation rates of between 0.90 and 0.95 percent per 
year (FAO 2010a, p. 232), and total forest cover in 2005 was estimated 
to be 53 percent (Government of Costa Rica 2010, p. 68), more than 
double the country's forest cover in the 1980s. Some level of 
deforestation still occurs in some areas of the country due to illegal 
logging in private forests, illegal activities in national parks and 
reserves, and expansion of agriculture and livestock activities 
(Government of Costa Rica 2011, p. 2; Government of Costa Rica 2010, 
pp. 10-11, 38, 52-54; Parks in Peril 2008, unpaginated). Corcovado 
National Park, the largest protected area in ACOSA, has been identified 
as one of the protected areas in Costa Rica most affected by 
deforestation close to its boundaries (Sanchez-Azofeifa et al. 2003, 
pp. 128-129). However, the scarlet macaw population in this region 
appears to be increasing (see Distribution and Abundance), and we are 
unaware of any information indicating that deforestation or forest 
degradation in the current range of the scarlet macaw in Costa Rica is 
occurring at a level that is causing or likely to cause a decline in 
the species. The government of Costa Rica has proposed building an 
international airport in ACOSA, where the larger of Costa Rica's two 
populations of scarlet macaws occurs (Driscoll et al. 2011, p. 9; Walsh 
2011, unpaginated). So far, the remoteness of the ACOSA has deterred 
large-scale development in the region. If the airport is built, it may 
lead to development of the region in the form of large-scale resorts, 
vacation homes, new roads, and other infrastructure, placing the 
habitat of the ACOSA population of scarlet macaws at high risk of 
accelerated deforestation (Driscoll 2011, p. 9; Natural Resources 
Defense Council 2011, unpaginated). However, based on the available 
information, whether or when the airport will be built, and the nature 
of subsequent development in the region, is speculative at this time. 
Therefore, it is not appropriate to make a determination of the scarlet 
macaw's status in the country, for the purposes of listing under the 
Act, based on this potential development project.
    Deforestation in Panama is relatively low for the Mesoamerica 
region (120 km\2\ (46 mi\2\), or 0.36 percent, per year) (FAO 2010a, p. 
232). Deforestation in the country currently occurs primarily in the 
Darien, Colon, Ngabe Bugle, and Bocas del Toro provinces (Blaser et al. 
2011, p. 354), which are outside the range in which scarlet macaws in 
Panama are currently reported to occur. As mentioned above (see 
Distribution and Abundance), most of Panama's scarlet macaw population 
occurs on Coiba Island. Coiba Island, which is approximately 494 km\2\ 
(191 mi\2\), was used by the government of Panama as a penal colony 
until 2004, which limited previous human access and development on the 
island (Government of Panama 2005, p. 23; Steinitz et al. 2005, p. 26). 
Consequently, forests on the island remain largely intact. Coiba 
National Park was established, by law, in 2004, and is currently a 
World Heritage Site (Suman et al. 2010, p. 7; Government of Panama 
2005, p. 11). Available information indicates that some level of 
deforestation or forest degradation on the island is occurring as the 
result of vegetation trampling and soil erosion by a herd of 
approximately 2,500 to 3,500 feral cattle (Smithsonian Tropical 
Research Institute 2011, unpaginated; Suman et al. 2010, p. 25). 
Although the removal of cattle from Coiba National Park is considered a 
priority issue (Suman et al. 2010, p. 25), the cattle removal effort 
has had few results to date (UNESCO 2011c, p. 61). The herd is reported 
to be growing and increasingly impacting the island's vegetation 
(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute 2011, unpaginated), although 
the extent of this impact is

[[Page 40232]]

unknown. Because Coiba National Park has been classified as a World 
Heritage Site, UNESCO evaluates threats to the park using a standard 
method it developed for this purpose. They categorize threats to Coiba 
National Park as increasing since 2008 (UNESCO 2012d, unpaginated). The 
United Nations (UNESCO 2011c, pp. 59-63; UNEP-WCMC 2011b, unpaginated) 
reports several potential threats to the park, including insufficient 
capacity to control expected pressures from fishing, tourism, and 
possible illegal colonization and logging; delayed implementation of 
management plans; and impacts of a newly constructed naval station on 
Coiba Island. Although we are unaware of information on the probability 
or extent of impacts to scarlet macaw habitat from these threats, the 
World Heritage Centre and IUCN concluded that the main conservation 
concerns regarding this site remain poorly addressed.
    Evidence suggests that within southern Central America, 
deforestation and forest degradation are a current threat to scarlet 
macaws in Panama, but not in Costa Rica. Although we are aware of 
little information on the magnitude and extent of deforestation and 
forest degradation on Panama's Coiba Island, we consider deforestation 
and forest degradation to be a significant threat to the scarlet maaws 
in Panama because (1) feral cattle are known to be currently impacting 
the forest on Coiba Island; (2) conservation concerns, including the 
elimination of feral cattle, remain poorly addressed on the island; (3) 
most of the scarlet macaws in the country occur on this island; (4) the 
number of scarlet macaws in the entire country (fewer than 200) is 
extremely small and thus more vulnerable to extinction (see Factor E); 
(5) the range of the species in this country is highly restricted, 
primarily to Coiba Island which is only approximately 494 km\2\ (191 
mi\2\); and (6) scarlet macaws have large home ranges (see Movements) 
and thus require large areas to survive. In Costa Rica, the species 
numbers between approximately 800 and 2,000 in ACOSA, and approximately 
450 in ACOPAC. We are not aware of any information indicating that 
habitat loss or destruction is affecting the population in ACOPAC. 
Despite the occurrence of activities causing some level of 
deforestation in ACOSA, the best available information suggests scarlet 
macaws in ACOSA may be increasing in numbers (see Distribution and 
Abundance). For these reasons, we do not consider deforestation or 
forest degradation to be occurring at a level that is likely to have a 
negative impact on the species in Costa Rica, either now or in the 
foreseeable future.
South America
    As indicated above, we focus here on the Amazon region and request 
information from the public on the status of the species in areas of 
Columbia and Venezuela (see Information Requested) that lie outside the 
Amazon Biome.
    The Amazon is the world's greatest expanse of tropical forest, 
originally covering 6.2 million km\2\ (2.4 million mi\2\) (Hansen et 
al. 2010, p. 2; Foley et al. 2007, p. 25; Killeen 2007, p. 11; Soares-
Filho et al. 2006, p. 522; Myers and Myers 1992, in Bird et al. 2011, 
p. 1). Although it has the world's highest absolute rate of 
deforestation (FAO 2010a, pp. 232-233; Hansen et al. 2008, entire; 
Neptstad et al. 2008, p. 1350; Laurance et al. 2002, p. 738), vast 
tracts of remote, intact forest still remain (Government of Guyana 
2010, p. 6; Hansen et al. 2010, p. 2; Jarvis et al. 2010, p. 185; 
Vergara and Scholz 2010, p. 3; Love et al. 2007, p. 63; Barreto et al. 
2006, pp. 45-53; Soares-Filho et al. 2006, pp. 521-522). As of 2003, 
forest cover of the region was an estimated 5.3 million km\2\ (2.0 
million mi\2\) (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, p. 522). To date, 
approximately 18 percent of the region's forest has been cleared with 
average annual losses of approximately 18,000 km\2\ (6,950 mi\2\) per 
year (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais 2011, in Bird et al. 
2011, p. 1). A roughly equal amount is estimated to be degraded by 
selective logging (Foley et al. 2007, p. 27; Asner et al. 2005, 
entire). Deforestation and forest degradation in the Amazon are largely 
the result of the expansion of agriculture, cattle ranching, and 
logging. Other factors also contribute, especially the construction of 
roads that provide access to previously remote areas and allow further 
expansion of agriculture, ranching, mining, and other activities that 
result in more forest clearing and degradation (Davidson et al. 2012, 
p. 323; Lambin and Meyfroidt 2011, pp. 3468-3469; May et al. 2011, pp. 
6, 9-11; Barona et al. 2010, entire; Foley 2007, pp. 26-27; Barreto et 
al. 2006, pp. 25-26; Morton et al. 2006, entire; Soares-Filho et al. 
2006, p. 520; Asner et al. 2005, entire; Fearnside 2005, pp. 681-683; 
Laurance et al. 2004, entire). Eighty percent (Malhi et al. 2008, p. 
169) of the deforestation in the Amazon occurs in Brazil, the country 
in which the majority of the Amazon lies (Blaser et al. 2011, p. 274). 
During 2005-2009, Brazil lost approximately 10,700 km\2\ (4,131 mi\2\) 
of Amazon forest per year (Blaser et al. 2011, p. 275). Deforestation 
in the Amazon occurs primarily along the south and east edge of the 
Amazon Basin in the Brazilian states of Rondonia, Para, Mato Grosso, 
and Acre, an area referred to as the ``arc of deforestation'' (Hansen 
et al. 2008, p. 9440; Malhi et al. 2008, p. 169; Soares-Filho et al. 
2006, pp. 521-522; Asner et al. 2005, entire), and in the northern 
state of Roraima (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE) 
2005, in Asner et al. 2005, p. 480). The remaining 20 percent of 
deforestation in the Amazon occurs in the remaining seven countries and 
one territory that comprise the region. Recent average deforestation 
rates for these countries and territory, which in some cases includes 
forest loss in areas outside the Amazon and outside the range of the 
scarlet macaw, vary from nearly 0 (Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana) to 
approximately 3,080 km\2\ (1,189 mi\2\) (Bolivia) per year (FAO 2010a, 
p. 233).
    Deforestation in the Amazon is ongoing and expected to continue 
into the future. Soares-Filho et al. (2006, p. 522) estimate loss of 
Amazon closed canopy forest via modeling of different potential future 
scenarios. The most pessimistic ``business as usual'' scenario 
investigated by Soares-Filho et al. assumes that recent deforestation 
trends will continue, highways scheduled for paving will be paved, 
compliance with environmental legislation will remain low, new 
protected areas will not be created, and up to 40 percent of the 
forests inside and 85 percent of the forests outside of protected areas 
will be deforested (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, p. 520). Results indicate 
that Amazon closed canopy forest will be reduced under this scenario 
from its current 5.3 million km\2\ (2.0 million mi\2\) to an estimated 
3.2 million km\2\ (1.2 million mi\2\) (53 percent of its original 
area), and that future deforestation will continue to be concentrated 
primarily in the eastern and southern Brazilian Amazon. Large blocks of 
remote forest outside Brazil and in most of the northwest Brazilian 
Amazon are projected to remain largely intact until 2050 (Soares-Filho 
et al. 2006, p. 522). Soares-Filho et al. consider their results to be 
conservative because they did not consider forest degradation due to 
logging and fire, the potential effects of global warming, or the loss 
of savannas. However, others suggest projected losses under Soares-
Filho et al.'s ``business as usual'' conditions may be too high because 
rates of deforestation in the Amazon have declined during recent years 
(Bird et al. 2011, p. 6), and Soares-Filho et al. modeled future 
scenarios

[[Page 40233]]

using 1997-2002 deforestation rates that don't take into account recent 
trends (Soares-Filho et al. 2006b, pp. 4-6)). While deforestation in 
the Brazilian Amazon during 1996-2005 averaged approximately 19,500 
km\2\ (7,529 mi\2\) per year, it averaged only about 7,000-10,000 km\2\ 
(2,702-3,861 mi\2\) per year during 2005-2009 due to several factors, 
likely including extensive conservation efforts by the Brazilian 
government (Blaser et al. 2011, p. 275; May 2011, pp. 16-18; Nepstad et 
al. 2009, p. 1350). Nepstad et al. (2008, entire) combined Soares-Filho 
et al.'s pessimistic scenario with the future effects of drought and 
logging. They project 31 percent of the Amazon's closed canopy forest 
would be deforested and 24 percent would be degraded by 2030. Nepstad 
et al.'s (2008, p. 1741) results also show large tracts of Amazon 
forest remaining outside Brazil and in northwest Brazil.
    Using the results of Soares-Filho et al.'s most pessimistic and 
optimistic scenarios, BirdLife International (BLI) (2011c, unpaginated) 
projects the scarlet macaw will lose 21.4 to 35 percent of its Amazon 
habitat within three generations (38 years). Although this constitutes 
a loss of up to more than a third of the species' habitat in the 
region, evidence suggests that scarlet macaws occur and are generally 
common throughout the Amazon (see Distribution and Abundance) and that 
large areas of intact forest will remain in the region into the future, 
even under pessimistic conditions. Further, due to the species level of 
tolerance of fragmented or degraded habitats, projected losses of 
forest habitat are expected to result in less than a 25 percent decline 
in the scarlet macaw population (BLI 2011c, unpaginated). Therefore, we 
do not consider deforestation or forest degradation to be a threat to 
the species in the Amazon now or in the foreseeable future.
Summary of Factor A
    Deforestation and forest degradation are a threat to the scarlet 
macaw in some areas of its current range. Deforestation is a 
significant threat throughout the range of the subspecies A. m. 
cyanoptera (Mexico south to Nicaragua), where most of the species' 
historical habitat has been eliminated, the remaining habitat is 
fragmented, and habitat occurs mainly in the few large isolated tracts 
of forest remaining in the region. Deforestation rates in the region 
are the highest in Latin America, and are often associated with illegal 
activities that, due to weak governance in the region, are difficult to 
control. Evidence indicates that deforestation and forest degradation 
is ongoing throughout the range of A. m. cyanoptera, and we are unaware 
of information indicating these activities have been abated. As such, 
because scarlet macaws require large areas of habitat to meet their 
biological requirements, the subspecies' range is limited and 
fragmented, and deforestation is rapid and ongoing in these countries 
and occurs within the range of the few remaining scarlet macaw 
populations in the region, we conclude that habitat destruction or 
modification occurs at a level that is having a negative impact on the 
subspecies A. m. cyanoptera throughout its range. In Costa Rica, 
previous levels of deforestation eliminated much of the forest in Costa 
Rica, including approximately 80 percent of scarlet macaw habitat. 
However, current practices in Costa Rica have resulted in a reversal in 
this trend; forest cover in the country has increased substantially 
over the past 10 to 15 years and continues to increase. Although some 
level of deforestation is occurring in the ACOSA, scarlet macaw numbers 
appear to be increasing in this region, suggesting that habitat loss or 
modification is not posing a significant threat to the species in this 
country. In Panama, where one extremely small population of the species 
occurs, and in a severely restricted range, mainly on Coiba Island, the 
threat to habitat posed by feral cattle and other factors likely pose a 
significant immediate threat to the scarlet macaws in this country.
    Despite threats to scarlet macaws in Mesoamerica, in the Amazon, 
where the vast majority of the species' current range occurs, most of 
the species' forest habitat remains intact and remote from human 
impacts. Although extensive deforestation and forest degradation occur 
in the Amazon, primarily on its south and east margins, even under 
pessimistic circumstances, approximately half (53 percent, or over 2 
million km\2\ (0.8 million mi\2\)) of the Amazon forest, including 
large blocks of remote intact forest habitat, are projected to remain 
until at least 2050. Although a decline in forest cover under this 
scenario is likely to cause a decline in scarlet macaw numbers, the 
level of the decline is unlikely to place the species in danger of 
extinction in the foreseeable future because large areas of the 
species' habitat will remain.
    Although the scarlet macaw is threatened by deforestation in most 
of Mesoamerica, this area comprises less than 17 percent of the 
species' range. Because the species is considered common throughout the 
Amazon, which comprises most (about 83 percent) of the species' current 
range, and large tracts of intact Amazon forest are projected to remain 
in this region even under pessimistic deforestation conditions, we do 
not consider habitat destruction and modification to be a threat to the 
species throughout its entire range now or in the foreseeable future. 
In conclusion, although the scarlet macaw is threatened by habitat 
destruction or modification in some regions of its range, we do not 
consider habitat destruction and modification to be a threat, either 
now or in the foreseeable future, to the species throughout its range. 
However, we consider habitat destruction and modification to be an 
immediate threat to the subspecies A. m. cyanoptera throughout its 
range (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and Nicaragua), and to the 
subspecies A. m. macao in Panama.
Factor B: Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes
    Parrots and macaws have been used for centuries in the neotropics, 
as pets, as a source of ornamental feathers, and for food (Cantu-Guzman 
et al. 2007, p. 9; Guedes 2004, p. 279; Snyder et al. 2000, pp. 98-99). 
The threat of overutilization of most species is primarily attributed 
to capture for the pet trade (Wright et al. 2001, p. 711; Snyder et al. 
2000, p. 150). Parrots have been traded for centuries in the neotropics 
(Cantu-Guzman et al. 2007, p. 9; Guedes 2004, p. 279; Snyder et al. 
2000, pp. 98-99) and in the past several decades, capture for the pet 
trade and habitat loss have become the main threats to many parrot 
species (Guedes 2004, p. 279; Wright et al. 2001, p. 711).
    As with other parrots, the scarlet macaw is a long-lived species 
with a low reproductive rate (Lee 2010, p. 3; Thiollay 2005, p. 1121; 
Wright et al. 2001, p. 711). As a result, the species is slow to 
recover from harvesting pressures, and these pressures can have a 
particularly devastating effect on the species (Lee 2010, p. 3; 
Thiollay 2005, p. 1121; Wright et al. 2001, p. 711; Munn et al. 1989, 
p. 410); removal of individuals year after year can stop population 
growth and cause local extirpations (Cantu-Guzman et al. 2007, p. 14). 
Both poaching of chicks from nests and trapping adults are used for 
capturing scarlet macaws (Arevalo 2011, unpaginated; Dear et al. 2010, 
p. 19; Bjork 2008, p. 15; Garcia et al. 2008, p. 51; Hanks 2005, pp. 
88-89; Herrera 2004, p. 6; Portillo Reyes et al. 2004, in McReynolds 
2011, in litt.; Gonzalez 2003, pp. 441-443; Vaughan et al. 2003, pp. 5, 
8; Duplaix 2001, p. 7; Marineros and Vaughan 1995, p. 460). Where 
nestlings are targeted, there is a lag in

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population decline due to the long lifespan of adults (Wright 2001, p. 
717). Thus, declines may not be apparent for decades. Where adults are 
targeted, the population is depleted more rapidly because reproductive 
individuals are removed from the population (Collar et al. 1992, p. 6). 
The number of individuals actually sold or exported for the pet trade 
only represents a portion of those removed from the population due to 
mortality associated with capture and transport, which is estimated to 
be as high as 77 percent (Cantu-Guzman et al. 2007, p. 60). Certain 
capture methods may also contribute to population declines by 
destroying the already limited number of trees that have suitable nest 
cavities (Munn 1992, pp. 55-56), thus limiting the number of pairs that 
can breed in an area.
    The scarlet macaw is a popular pet species within its range 
countries (Snyder et al. 2000, p. 150; Wiedenfeld 1994, p. 102), and 
capture for sale in local markets can provide a significant source of 
supplemental income in rural areas (Huson 2010, p. 58; Gonzalez 2003, 
p. 438). Once a species becomes rare in the wild, demand often 
increases, creating a greater demand for the species and increasing 
harvesting pressure (Herrera and Hennessey 2009, p. 234; Wright et al.. 
2001, p. 717). Species priced above $500 U.S. dollars (USD) are more 
likely to be imported into a country illegally, and higher prices often 
drive poaching rates (Wright et al.2001, p. 718). The scarlet macaw is 
a larger and more expensive species; prices in the United States may 
reach over $2,000 USD (Cantu-Guzman et al. 2007, p. 73).
Legal International Trade
    The United States and Europe were historically the main markets for 
wild birds in international trade (FAO 2011b, p. 3). Trade in parrots 
was particularly high in the 1980's due to a huge demand from developed 
countries (Rosales et al.. 2007, pp. 85, 94; Best et al.. 1995, p. 
234). In the years following the enactment of the U.S. Wild Bird 
Conservation Act in 1992 (WBCA; 16 U.S.C. 4901 et seq.), studies found 
lower poaching levels than in prior years, suggesting that import bans 
in developed countries reduced poaching levels in exporting countries 
(Wright et al. 2001, pp. 715, 718). The European Union, which was the 
largest market for wild birds following enactment of the WBCA, banned 
the import of wild birds in 2006 (FAO 2011b, p. 21), thus eliminating 
another market for wild birds in international trade.
    International trade of the scarlet macaw was initially restricted 
by the listing of the species in Appendix II of CITES in 1981, and, in 
1985, it was transferred to the more restrictive Appendix I. CITES, an 
international agreement between governments, ensures that the 
international trade of CITES-listed plant and animal species does not 
threaten those species' survival in the wild. There are currently 175 
CITES Parties (member countries or signatories to the Convention). 
Under this treaty, CITES Parties regulate the import, export, and re-
export of specimens, parts, and products of CITES-listed plant and 
animal species (see Factor D discussion). Trade must be authorized 
through a system of permits and certificates that are provided by the 
designated CITES Scientific and Management Authorities of each CITES 
Party (CITES 2010, unpaginated). In 1981, the scarlet macaw was listed 
in Appendix II of CITES, which includes species not necessarily 
threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in 
order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival (UNEP-WCMC 
2012, unpaginated; CITES 2010, unpaginated). In 1985, the species was 
transferred from Appendix II to Appendix I. An Appendix-I listing 
includes species threatened with extinction whose trade is permitted 
only under exceptional circumstances, which generally precludes 
commercial trade. The import of an Appendix-I species requires the 
issuance of both an import and export permit. Import permits for 
Appendix-I species are issued only if findings are made that the import 
would be for purposes that are not detrimental to the survival of the 
species in the wild and would not be for primarily commercial purposes 
(CITES Article III(3)). Export permits for Appendix-I species are 
issued only if findings are made that the specimen was legally acquired 
and trade is not detrimental to the survival of the species in the 
wild, and if the issuing authority is satisfied that an import permit 
has been granted for the specimen (CITES Article III(2)).
    On the same date that the scarlet macaw was placed in Appendix I, 
Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Suriname entered a reservation 
stating that they would not be bound by the provisions of CITES 
relating to international trade in scarlet macaws (Austria withdrew its 
reservation in 1989) (UNEP-WCMC 2012, unpaginated). A reservation means 
that these countries are treated as non-CITES parties with respect to 
the species concerned. However, if a country with a reservation on a 
particular species wishes to trade in that species with a country that 
has not taken the same reservation, then that trade is subject to the 
CITES permit requirements.
    Based on CITES trade data obtained from the United Nations 
Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Center CITES Trade 
Database, from the time the scarlet macaw was transferred to CITES 
Appendix I in 1985 through 2010, 14,210 specimens of scarlet macaw were 
reported in international trade. Of these, 5,981 were live birds, 6,171 
were feathers, and the remainder were such items as eggs, dead bodies, 
derivatives, and scientific specimens. In analyzing these data, it 
appears that a number of records in the database may be over-counts due 
to slight differences in the manner in which the importing and 
exporting countries reported their trade. It is likely that the actual 
number of scarlet macaw specimens in international trade during this 
period was 13,075, of which 5,175 were live birds, and 5,850 were 
feathers. Because the scarlet macaw is listed in Appendix I of CITES, 
legal commercial international trade, especially trade in specimens 
obtained from the wild, is limited. Of the 13,075 specimens that were 
likely in trade between 1985 and 2010, the majority (7,890, or 60 
percent) were either captive-born or captive-bred, pre-convention 
specimens, from unknown sources, or were confiscated or seized due to 
lack of certification or authorization to import. The remaining 5,185 
(40 percent) were wild specimens (including 2,454 feathers, 1,716 live 
birds, 940 scientific specimens, 3 bodies, 1 derivative, and 71 
unspecified). Of these wild specimens, only 834 (16 percent) were 
traded for commercial purposes. All 834 were live birds, of which 831 
(99.6 percent) were exported from Suriname (the other three were 
exported from Honduras). The remaining 4,351 wild specimens were traded 
for educational, captive propagation, scientific, personal, or similar 
purposes. Regardless of purpose, most (1,629, or 95 percent) of the 
total of 1,716 live, wild-sourced scarlet macaws that were in trade 
during 1985 to 2010 were exported from Suriname.
    Suriname is the only scarlet macaw range country that filed a 
reservation on the transfer of the species from CITES Appendix II to 
the more restrictive Appendix I. Suriname is one of only two countries 
in South America that still legally export significant quantities of 
wildlife (Duplaix 2001, p. ii). Wildlife exports generate significant 
income and jobs in Suriname, and the country has set an annual 
voluntary export quota of from 100 to 133 scarlet macaws for the past 
several years (UNEP-WCMC 2012, unpaginated). Suriname's wildlife

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export quotas are reported to be ``realistic'' in that they are based 
on the belief that larger parrots cannot sustain large harvests 
(Duplaix 2001, pp. 10, 65, 68). Further, actual exports of CITES listed 
species are often lower than Suriname's allowed quotas (FAO 2010b, p. 
42; Duplaix 2001, p. 10).
    Because most specimens of scarlet macaw reported in trade were from 
non-wild sources, were seized, or were feathers rather than whole 
birds, and because most wild-sourced, live birds were exported from 
Suriname, which is reported to set realistic quotas, we have determined 
that legal international trade controlled via valid CITES permits is 
not a threat to the species.
    Despite regulation of international scarlet macaw trade through 
CITES, there is still some level of illegal international trade in wild 
scarlet macaws (Snyder et al. 2000, p. 150; Duplaix 2001, p. 8), 
although most harvested birds probably remain within the species' range 
countries (Snyder et al. 2000, p. 150).
Illegal Trade in Mesoamerica
    The scarlet macaw is particularly threatened by capture for the pet 
trade in Mesoamerica, where the species' populations are isolated and 
small. The scarlet macaw is protected by domestic laws within all 
countries in Mesoamerica (Nicaragua Ministerio del Ambiente y Los 
Recursos Naturales 2010, pp. 3708-3709; Traffic North America (Traffic 
NA) 2009, pp. 40, 44-46; Animal Legal and Historical Center 2008, 
unpaginated; Keller and Schmitt 2008, abstract; Pereira 2007, p. 34; 
Parker et al. 2004, Annex H, unpaginated; CITES 2001, p. 7; Government 
of Belize 2000, entire; Renton 2000, p. 255). However, the agencies 
responsible for enforcing wildlife laws in these countries generally do 
not have the resources or funding to adequately enforce these laws 
(Traffic NA 2009, p. 20; Valdez et al. 2006, p. 276; Mauri 2002, 
entire). The general public perception in the region is that the 
probability of being punished for breaking wildlife-related laws is 
low, and that, even if caught, sanctions dictated by law are usually 
not applied. Further, low salaries and high unemployment in the region 
drives people to search for additional sources of income (Traffic NA 
2009, pp. 23-24). As a result, scarlet macaws are still captured 
throughout the region and traded illegally (see the following 
subsections).
Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize
    Poaching occurs at significant levels in the Maya Forest region of 
Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, where the three subpopulations total 
approximately 400 scarlet macaws. Although information on the extent of 
poaching in Mexico is unavailable, according to Boyd and McNab (2008, 
p. xiii), reproductive success is almost certainly lower in Mexico than 
in Guatemala, where many nests are protected. Cantu-Guzman et al. 
(2007, p. 35) indicate that up to 50 scarlet macaws are captured 
annually in Mexico, although some of these may be from Central American 
countries. Further, detained traffickers report that parrot populations 
in Chiapas (the primary state in which the species occurs in Mexico) 
have decreased so much that trapping is now conducted in natural 
protected areas in Chiapas (Cantu-Guzman et al. 2007, p. 14). In 
Guatemala, much of the scarlet macaw population is currently protected 
through conservation efforts. However, up to 25 percent is not 
protected, and it is likely that most unprotected nests in the country 
are poached (Garcia et al. 2008, p. 51; Boyd and McNab 2008, pp. v-vi). 
In Belize, Arevalo (2011, unpaginated) reports that 50 percent, 47.4 
percent, and 89 percent of monitored nests were poached in 2008, 2010, 
and 2011, respectively. Modeling research indicates that poaching is 
one of the most important factors influencing scarlet macaw population 
growth in the Maya Forest and that relatively low levels of poaching 
could result in population declines (Clum 2008, pp. 76, 78-80).
Honduras and Nicaragua
    Little quantitative information on poaching of scarlet macaws in 
Nicaragua and Honduras is available, although poaching of the species 
is recognized as a problem in these countries (Traffic NA 2009, p. 5). 
Capture of parrots for the pet trade is described as common in 
Nicaragua (Herrera 2004, p. 1), and up to four times as many parrots 
are captured than make it to market due to mortalities during capture 
and transport (Engebretson 2006, in Weston and Mamon 2009, p. 79). 
Evidence indicates that parrot populations in Nicaragua have declined 
by as much as 60 percent since the mid-1990s, although loss of habitat 
has also likely contributed to this decline (Nicaragua Ministerio del 
Ambiente y Los Recursos Naturales (MARENA) 2008, p. 51). Scarlet macaws 
are one of the three most preferred species in Nicaragua's parrot trade 
and are among the main CITES species harvested for illegal trade in the 
country (McGinley et al. 2009, p. 16; Lezama 2008, abstract; MARENA 
2008, p. 25). In Honduras, the scarlet macaw population appears to have 
decreased since 2005, and, according to Lafeber Conservation & Wildlife 
(2011, unpaginated), the scarlet macaw is experiencing severe 
reproductive limits due to poaching. In a 2010-2011 survey of 20 parrot 
nests, 16 of which were scarlet macaw nests, 17 showed evidence of past 
or recent poaching (Lafeber Conservation & Wildlife 2011, unpaginated). 
In 2003, an estimated 200 to 300 chicks were poached in the Rus Rus 
area alone (Portillo Reyes et al. 2004, in McReynolds 2011, in litt.). 
Although quantitative information on the impacts of poaching on scarlet 
macaws is not available for these countries, the available evidence 
suggests poaching is occurring at significant levels.
Costa Rica
    Scarlet macaws in Costa Rica have experienced heavy poaching 
pressure in the recent past. In field studies conducted in the 1990s, 
56 to 64 percent of evaluated nest sites in the Carara National Park 
region showed signs of being poached (Vaughan et al. 2003, pp. 6, 8; 
Snyder et al. 2000, p. 150; Marineros and Vaughan 1995, p. 460). 
Vaughan et al. (2005, pp. 127) suggest intense anti-poaching efforts in 
this region during 1995-1996 may have resulted in increased recruitment 
into the population. The authors also suggest the scarlet macaw 
population was self-sustaining from 1996-2003, despite heavy poaching 
pressure. However, poaching pressure appears to be increasing in this 
region. Officials in Carara National Park indicate that poaching of 
wildlife is becoming more prominent and is believed to be occurring at 
unsustainable levels (Huson 2010, p. 19). Park officials believe lack 
of funding and capacity prevents them from effectively controlling 
poaching in the park. From 2004 to 2009, there were only 26 seizures of 
poached animals, totaling 31 animals. Although most (39 percent) of 
these were paca (Cuniculus paca), poached animals also included scarlet 
macaw chicks (Huson 2010, p. 19), and scarlet macaws were among the top 
four species identified by park officials as most at risk of poaching 
or local extinction or both (Huson 2010, p. 20). Based on surveys of 
local residents, Huson (2010, entire) estimated the number of 
individuals poached of six species (three birds and three mammals). 
While a relatively small portion of the estimated number of individuals 
hunted or extracted from the park were scarlet macaws, approximately 19 
scarlet macaw chicks were estimated to be removed from the park per 
month, although the author

[[Page 40236]]

indicated that, due to limitations of the study, this estimate is 
likely exaggerated (Huson 2010, p. 59).
    Human population densities and accessibility in ACOSA are lower 
than in ACOPAC, and estimates of the scarlet macaw population in ACOSA 
range from 800-1,200 to 2,000 individuals. During 2005, Dear et al. 
(2010, entire) interviewed 105 non-randomly selected residents (with 
knowledge of wildlife or long-term residency) at 35 sites in ACOSA 
about scarlet macaws in their area. Interview responses suggest the 
level of poaching has decreased in the region. However, poaching still 
occurs and still threatens the population (Dear et al. 2010, p. 19). 
Interview responses suggest that 25-50 scarlet macaw chicks are poached 
annually (Dear et al. 2010, p. 19). Additionally, Guittar et al. (2009, 
pp. 390, 392) report that of 57 potential nest cavities found in ACOSA 
in 2006, 11 (19 percent) were reported by local residents as recently 
poached, although the authors suggest the actual number of nests 
poached is likely greater.
    Although 85 percent of ACOSA residents interviewed by Dear et al. 
(2010, p. 10) believed scarlet macaws were more abundant in 2005 than 
in 2000, and scarlet macaws were not determined to be at risk of 
extinction during a 2006 review of parrot populations in Costa Rica 
(see Distribution and Abundance), interviews of residents by Guittar et 
al. (2009, p. 390) suggest a significant proportion (19 percent) of 
nests in ACOSA are poached. Further, recent information suggests 
poaching of wildlife is on the rise and has reached unsustainable 
levels in ACOPAC. Because (1) scarlet macaws are susceptible to 
overharvest due to their demographic traits and naturally low rate of 
reproduction, (2) the populations in Costa Rica are additionally at 
risk because they are relatively small and are isolated, (3) poaching 
at one of the only two viable populations in the country is on the rise 
and park officials believe they do not have the resources to control 
it, and (4) a significant proportion of nests in the other of the two 
viable populations are reported to be poached, it is reasonable to 
conclude that poaching is having a significant impact on the species in 
Costa Rica. Thus, we consider poaching to be a significant threat to 
the species in Costa Rica.
Panama
    Little information is available on capture of scarlet macaws for 
trade in Panama. Coiba and Cerro Hoya National Parks are located within 
Panama's most impoverished province (Government of Panama 2005, p. 36). 
According to Parker et al. (2004, p. II-6), trade in rare and 
endangered species is a constant threat in the country, due to the high 
prices paid for these animals and their parts. Although poaching is not 
identified as a main threat to biodiversity within Coiba and Cerro Hoya 
National Parks (Parker et al. 2004, Annex G, unpaginated), capture for 
the illegal pet trade is identified as being a threat to the species in 
this country (Keller and Schmitt 2008, abstract). For these reasons, it 
is reasonable to conclude that some level of poaching of scarlet macaws 
likely occurs in the country, although at what level is unknown. 
However, because the current population of scarlet macaws in Panama is 
extremely small (fewer than 200 individuals) and isolated, and the 
species' demographic traits and low rate of reproduction render them 
susceptible to overharvesting, even low levels of poaching would likely 
have a negative effect on the population in Panama. Thus, we consider 
poaching to be a significant threat to the species in Panama.
Illegal Trade in South America
    There is evidence of a market for national and international parrot 
trade within the range of the scarlet macaw in South America, much of 
which involves illegally traded birds (Gasta[ntilde]aga et al. 2011, 
entire; Lee 2010, p. 12; Herrera and Hennessey 2007, pp. 296-297). 
However, there is little evidence that scarlet macaws are a significant 
part of that trade. Gonzalez (2003, entire) reported results of a 
parrot-harvesting study in northeast Peru during 1996-1999, which 
suggested that the illegal harvest of scarlet macaws was not 
sustainable and posed a long-term threat to the species. However, 
according to Brightsmith (2009, in litt.), recent studies indicate that 
scarlet macaws are not particularly common in Peru's national pet 
trade. Only 38 scarlet macaws were seen during over 500 visits to Peru 
markets during 2007-2009 (Brightsmith 2009, in litt.). A study 
conducted in wildlife markets in eight of Peru's capital cities 
detected only four scarlet macaws during quarterly surveys conducted 
over a 1-year period during 2007 to 2008 (Gastanaga et al. 2011, 
entire). In Bolivia, a study conducted in Santa Cruz, a city that 
receives much of the trade from Bolivia's lowland savannas and 
rainforest, recorded 7,279 individual parrots at a market during a 1-
year period, 306 of which were macaws (Herrera and Hennessy 2007, p. 
297). However, only 4 of these were scarlet macaws. A later report by 
the same authors (2009, p. 233) recorded only 50 scarlet macaws during 
a 4-year period in the same market. In Guyana, Hanks (2005, p. 27, 84) 
reports that trappers on the Courantyne River system in Guyana sell 
about 200 scarlet macaws every trapping season, despite the country's 
zero quota for the species. However, Hanks also indicates the species 
is fairly common in Guyana. Hanks (2005, p. 8) also reports anecdotal 
information that indicates captured scarlet macaws are smuggled between 
Guyana and Suriname.
    Scarlet macaws are generally considered common and widespread 
within the Amazon. Although there is evidence that some level of 
illegal trade of scarlet macaws occurs within the Amazon, and that 
harvesting of the species was heavy at one time in northeast Peru, 
evidence suggests the current level of trade is low. Although the study 
by Gonzalez (2003, entire) suggests a high level of harvest of the 
species in northeast Peru, a more recent and national scale study 
suggests a low level of scarlet macaw trade in the country. Based on 
what little information exists on non-CITES regulated trade in South 
America, it appears that this trade does not occur at a level that 
would put the species in danger of extinction in this region now or in 
the foreseeable future.
Hunting
    Scarlet macaws are known to be hunted in some areas of their range 
for meat or feathers (Maldonado 2010, p. 60; Salas and Meerman 2008, p. 
42; Heemskerk and Delvoye 2007, p. 300; Thiollay 2005, entire; Burger 
and Gothfeld 2003, p. 23; CITES 2001, p. 7; Duplaix 2001, pp. 7, 64; 
Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, p. 173; Munn 1992, pp. 56-57; Saffirio and 
Skaglion, 1982, p. 321). However, information on the effects of hunting 
on scarlet macaw populations is limited. Maldonado (2010, entire) 
reported that parrot species comprised only 40 (1.9 percent) of a total 
of 2,101 game species harvested by subsistence hunters during a 4-year 
period over approximately 400 km\2\ (154 mi\2\) of the Columbian 
Amazon. Only one scarlet macaw was reported harvested during the study, 
although harvested animals also included 31 unidentified macaws in the 
genus Ara. Thiollay (2005, p. 1129) reported that encounter rates and 
mean flock size of Ara macaws in French Guiana were significantly 
higher in non-hunted than regularly hunted sites. Hunted sites were 
easily accessible and disturbed to some degree, whereas non-hunted 
sites were pristine, undisturbed forest. Although the study indicates 
that

[[Page 40237]]

current levels of macaw hunting in French Guiana may be unsustainable 
in regularly hunted areas, the portion of forest regularly hunted in 
this country is likely extremely low. Ninety-five percent of French 
Guiana forest is undisturbed primary forest (FAO 2010a, p. 14, 54). 
Further, French Guiana has a very low human population density (Van 
Andel et al. 2003, p. 66; Hanks 2005, p. 16; United Nations Department 
of Economic and Social Affairs 2010, entire), has the highest 
proportion (98 percent) of its area in forest than any other country or 
territory in the world (FAO 2010a, p. 14), and much of its forest is 
not easily accessible (Comptes [eacute]conomiques rapides pour l'Outre-
mer (CEROM) 2008, pp. 4, 7-8). Thus, much of French Guiana's forest is 
unlikely to be as regularly hunted as the hunted sites reported by 
Thiollay. A study conducted in southeast Peru indicates that the number 
of large macaws is significantly lower in areas subject to moderate to 
intense hunting, and that even moderate levels of hunting appeared to 
be sufficient to extirpate large macaws from large regions of the 
Amazon (Munn 1992, pp. 56-57). However, the levels at which the scarlet 
macaw is hunted across the Amazon are unknown. Thus, it is difficult to 
determine whether hunting poses a threat to the species in this region. 
We are unaware of any information on current levels of hunting in 
Mesoamerica. Illegal xat[eacute] (palms of the genus Chamaedorea) 
collectors are known to kill scarlet macaws for food in the Chiquibul 
Forest of Belize (Salas and Meerman 2008, p. 42), but the extent of 
this activity is unknown. In Guatemala's Maya Biosphere Reserve forest 
concessions, Radachowsky et al. (in press, p. 7) found that densities 
of large terrestrial birds were three times lower in areas of high 
human access than in areas with difficult access. Although this may 
suggest hunting has an impact on scarlet macaw populations, in the case 
of parrot species like the scarlet macaw, these declines may also be 
the result of poaching for the pet trade.
    Although hunting may pose a threat to scarlet macaws in some areas, 
we are not aware of any information indicating that hunting occurs at a 
level that places the species in danger of extinction throughout all or 
any part of its range. We are also not aware of any information 
indicating that hunting may place the species in danger of extinction 
within the foreseeable future throughout all or any portion of its 
range.
Recreational, Scientific, or Educational Purposes
    We are not aware of any information indicating that overutilization 
for recreational, scientific, or educational purposes is a threat to 
the species anywhere in the species' current range.
Summary of Factor B
    Overutilization of scarlet macaws, primarily as a result of 
poaching for the pet trade, is a threat to the scarlet macaw in some 
areas of its current range. Capture for the pet trade is a significant 
and immediate threat to the species throughout the range of the 
subspecies A. m. cyanoptera (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and 
Nicaragua), where the species occurs mainly in small, isolated 
populations. Evidence suggests poaching occurs at significant levels in 
the Maya Forest region, where modeling indicates that even moderate 
levels of poaching could cause a decline in already small populations. 
Although quantitative data from Honduras and Nicaragua are lacking, 
evidence suggests poaching occurs at significant levels in this region 
as well. Within the range of the subspecies A. m. macao in Costa Rica, 
evidence indicates poaching of wildlife in one of the two viable 
populations in the country has increased to unsustainable levels, and 
increased access to, and thus likely poaching of, the second population 
will likely increase in the foreseeable future as the result of an 
expanding transportation network in the region. Although information is 
limited in Panama, it is reasonable to conclude that some level of 
poaching occurs because trade in rare and endangered species is a 
constant threat in the country due to the high prices paid for these 
animals and their parts, and poaching has been identified specifically 
as a threat to scarlet macaws in this country. Further, because the 
population is isolated and extremely small, it is also reasonable to 
conclude that any level of poaching on this population poses a 
significant threat to the species. We are not aware of any information 
indicating that poaching levels in any of these countries will decrease 
at any time in the foreseeable future.
    Despite the threat of overutilization of scarlet macaws in 
Mesoamerica, the available information suggests that overutilization is 
not a threat in the Amazon of South America, where the vast majority of 
the species' current range and worldwide population occurs. Scarlet 
macaws are generally considered common in the Amazon, and the Amazon 
comprises approximately 83 percent of the species' global range. 
Therefore, although we consider overutilization to be occurring at 
significant levels throughout Mesoamerica, we conclude that 
overutilization due to commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes is not occurring at a level that poses a 
significant threat to the species throughout its range now or in the 
foreseeable future.
Factor C. Disease or Predation
Disease
    Infectious diseases can pose many direct threats to individual 
birds as well as entire flocks (Abramson et al. 1995, p. 287), and 
parrots are susceptible to a variety of lethal, infectious diseases, 
including, among others, Pacheco's disease (psittacine herpesvirus), 
proventricular dilatation disease, beak and feather disease, and 
Newcastle's disease (Kistler et al. 2008, p. 1; Rahaus et al. 2008, p. 
53; Tomaszewski et al. 2006, p. 536; Brightsmith et al. 2005, p. 465; 
Abramson et al. 1995, pp. 288, 293, 296; Gaskin 1989, entire; Panigrahy 
and Grumbles 1984, p. 811). However, most of the available research on 
disease in parrots addresses captive-held birds, while information on 
the health of parrots in the wild is scarce (Karesh et al. 1997, p. 
368). Burton and Brightsmith (2010, entire) tested parrots, including 
wild and hand-reared scarlet macaws, at a site in Peru for the presence 
of Salmonella and found no evidence of the disease in these birds, 
although over 30 percent of domestic fowl at the site tested positive. 
Karesh et al. (1997, entire) tested scarlet macaws, and other macaws, 
for several diseases at a different site in Peru and detected the 
presence of two diseases, Salmonella spp. and psittacine herpesvirus, 
in some birds. However, Karesh et al. did not identify which species or 
strain of Salmonella was infecting the macaws they tested, and the 
effects of infection by salmonella are highly dependent on several 
factors, including the virulence of the strain and the susceptibility 
of the host species (Friend 1999, p. 103). Further, the effects of 
psittacine herpesvirus can vary, and the prevalence or clinical 
significance of the disease in free-ranging species is unknown (Karesh 
et al. 1997, pp. 374-376). Nycander et al. (1995, p. 433) detected 
three types of ectoparasites (botflys, mites, and lice) on macaw (Ara 
sp.) nestlings at a site in Peru. Three out of 63 nestlings appeared to 
have died from infestations of these organisms. Nycander et al. also 
report the presence of intestinal parasites (Ascaris galli and 
Heterakis sp.) and a

[[Page 40238]]

blood parasite (Plasmodium elongatum), but affected nestlings appeared 
healthy or showed no signs of clinical symptoms. Although these and 
other diseases could negatively affect scarlet macaws, we are not aware 
of any information indicating that disease poses a significant threat 
to the species as a whole, although it may pose a greater threat to 
small, isolated populations in parts of the species' range (see Factor 
E).
Predation
    Few predators (e.g., hawk eagles) are large enough to capture adult 
macaws, and predators that are large enough occur at naturally low 
densities (Brightsmith et al. 2005, p. 469). Consequently, it is likely 
that predation of adults is uncommon, and that most predation occurs on 
eggs, nestlings, and newly fledged birds. These earlier life stages are 
reported to be predated mainly by raptors (birds of prey), reptiles, 
and small to medium-sized mammals. Predators and potential predators 
include falcons (Micrastur semitorquatus, Micrastur ruficollis, Falco 
rufigularis), toucans (Ramphastos swainsonii, R. cuvieri, Pteroglossus 
castanotis), black iguanas (Ctenosaura similis), tayras (Eira barbara, 
a large weasel), monkeys (Ateles paniscus, Saimiri sciureus, Cebus 
capucinus), opossums (Didelphis marsupialis), rats (unknown sp.), and 
cockroaches (unknown sp.) (Renton and Brightsmith 2009, p. 5; Garcia et 
al. 2008, pp. 51-52; Anleu et al. 2005, p. 45; Vaughan et al. 2003, p. 
10; Inigo-Elias 1996, p. 83; Nycander et al. 1995, p. 433).
    Few studies on the level and effects of predation on scarlet macaw 
populations have been reported. In Guatemala, where the population is 
very small, cameras placed in five nests recorded predation of three 
chicks by collared forest falcons (Micrastur semitorquatus) (Garcia et 
al. 2008b, in Garcia et al. 2008a, pp. 51-52; WCS 2008, p. 3). Scarlet 
macaws usually hatch one or two chicks (Garcia et al. 2008a, p. 61; 
Inigo-Elias 1996, pp. 80-81; Nycander 1995, p. 431), thus 30-60 percent 
of the observed chicks were predated. Species with long generation 
times and low reproductive rates, such as the scarlet macaw, take 
longer to recover from population declines, especially when populations 
are small. They are, therefore, more vulnerable to extinction via 
increases in mortality rates (Owens and Bennett 2000, p. 12146; Owens 
and Bennett 1997, abstract). Garcia et al. (2008, p. 50) identify 
predation as one of the four main threats to the species in Guatemala. 
In southeast Peru, Nycander et al. (1995, pp. 431-433) report that 
predators took substantial numbers of macaw (Ara sp.) eggs and young at 
a site in southeast Peru, but they provide no indication that predation 
posed a significant threat to any of the three macaw species (including 
scarlet macaws) studied. Twenty percent of scarlet macaw eggs were 
predated, and 30 percent of chicks died from predation or parasite 
infection. Also in southeast Peru, Brightsmith (2010, unpaginated) 
reports only 1 percent to 8 percent of scarlet macaw nests fail as a 
result of predation, and also provides no indication that this level of 
predation poses a threat to the species.
Summary of Factor C
    Although scarlet macaws are subject to disease and predation, and 
predation appears to be a threat to individuals in Guatemala, we found 
no evidence that disease or predation is occurring at a level that 
places the species in danger of extinction at this time or is likely to 
place the species in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.
Factor D: Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms
Habitat Destruction and Modification
    Scarlet macaws occur in and require forest habitat for their 
survival. National forest policy and the legal framework related to 
forests constitute the basis for sustainable forest management (FAO 
2010a, pp. 150). With the exception of Belize, all scarlet macaw range 
countries have a national or subnational policy framework on forests 
and their management. Of those countries with a policy framework, all 
but Colombia have specific national forest laws in support of these 
policies, but laws supporting national forest policy in Colombia are 
incorporated within other laws. All range countries except Belize and 
Venezuela also have National Forest programs that provide the framework 
to develop and implement their forest policies, although the status of 
Panama's program is unknown (for information on regulatory mechanisms 
pertaining to forest management in scarlet macaw range countries see: 
Claros et al. 2011, entire; Espinosa et al. 2011, pp. 21-26; FAO 2011c, 
p. 78; Government of Colombia 2011, pp. 89-91, 203-211; Guignier 2011, 
pp. 12-22; Larson and Petkova 2011, entire; May et al. 2011, pp. 16-55; 
Meerman et al. 2011, entire; Stern and Kernan 2011, pp. 52-54, 88-90; 
United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from 
Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) 
2011, unpaginated; Belize Ministry of Natural Resources and Development 
2010, pp. 54, 57-58; Blaser et al. 2010, pp. 263-267, 277-281, 291-293, 
300-302, 311-312, 320-323, 334-337, 345-346, 365-367, 376-377, 394-396; 
CIFOR 2010, p. 45; FAO 2010a, pp. 150-158, 302-303; Government of 
Belize 2010, pp. 27-34; Sparovek 2010, pp. 6046-6047; Tolisano and 
Lopez-Selva 2010, pp. 24-28; Bauch et al. 2009, entire; McGinley et al. 
2009, pp. 18-30; Patriota 2009, pp. 612-615; Trevin and Nasi 2009, 
entire; Byers and Israel 2008, pp. 29-34; Torres-Lezama et al. 2008, 
entire; Hopkins 2007, pp. 398-405; Playfair 2007, entire; Portilla and 
Eguren 2007, pp. 19-32; World Bank 2007, pp. 10-28, 71-76; Clark 2006, 
pp. 19-29; Grenand et al. 2006, pp. 49, 54-56; Baal 2005, unpaginated; 
Parker et al. 2004, pp. III-1-III-8, Annex H, Annex I; Government of 
Belize 2003, entire; Bevilacqua et al. 2002, pp. 6-9; Mauri 2002, 
entire; Vreugdenhil et al. 2002, pp. 6-10).
    As discussed above under Factor A, we do not find habitat 
destruction or modification to be occurring at a level that poses a 
significant threat to the species throughout all of its range. Thus, it 
is reasonable to conclude that the regulating mechanisms addressing 
this threat are adequate at protecting the species at a global level. 
Therefore, we conclude that inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms for addressing habitat destruction or modification is not a 
threat to the scarlet macaw throughout all of its range. However, we 
determined that habitat destruction or modification in the form of 
deforestation and forest degradation occurs at a level that is likely 
to negatively impact the species throughout all of the range of the 
subspecies A. m. cyanoptera, and in the range of the subspecies A. m. 
macao in Panama. Because deforestation and forest degradation are 
ongoing and pose immediate significant threats to scarlet macaws in 
these regions, it is reasonable to conclude that the regulatory 
mechanisms addressing this threat in these regions are inadequate. 
Therefore, we conclude that the inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms for addressing habitat destruction or modification are a 
significant immediate threat to the subspecies A. m. cyanoptera 
throughout all of its range, and the subspecies A.m. macao in Panama.
Trade
    A variety of laws, regulations, and decrees form the policy 
framework that governs wildlife conservation and use in scarlet macaw 
range countries, including national implementing legislation for a 
variety of multilateral

[[Page 40239]]

agreements such as CITES (Traffic NA 2009, pp. 11-13) (for information 
on regulatory mechanisms pertaining to wildlife use in scarlet macaw 
range countries see: Ecolex 2012, unpaginated; Clayton 2011, 
unpaginated; de la Torre et al. 2011, entire; Embassy of the Bolivarian 
Republic of Venezuela in the United States 2011, unpaginated; Gastanaga 
et al. 2011, p. 77; Rincon Rubiano 2011, pp. 112-113; Traffic NA 2009, 
pp. 40-47; Animal Legal and Historical Center 2008, unpaginated; Byers 
and Israel 2008, pp. 29-34; Cantu-Guzman et al. 2007, pp. 24-33; Ecolex 
2007a, unpaginated; Ecolex 2007b, unpaginated; Herrera and Hennessey 
2007, pp. 295-296; Portilla and Eguren 2007, pp. 19-32; United Nations 
Environment Programme 2006, pp. 3-5; Hanks 2005, pp. 71-76; Government 
of Ecuador 2004, entire; Parker et al. 2004, pp. III-1-III-2; Van Andel 
et al. 2003, pp. 25, 49, 66-67, 80-85, 102-105, 122; CITES 2001, pp. 7-
8; Duplaix 2001, pp. 3-10, 47-51, 61-63; Government of Belize 2000, 
entire; Global Legal Information Network 1999, unpaginated; FAO 1996, 
unpaginated). As discussed above under Factor B, we do not find 
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes to be a threat to the species throughout all of 
its range. Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that the regulating 
mechanisms addressing this threat are adequate at protecting the 
species at a global level. Therefore, we conclude that inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms for addressing the threat of capture for 
the pet trade is not a threat to the scarlet macaw throughout all of 
its range. However, we determined that overutilization in the form of 
capture for the pet trade occurs at a level that is likely to 
negatively impact the species throughout all of the range of the 
subspecies A. m. cyanoptera, and in the range of the subspecies A. m. 
macao in Costa Rica and Panama. Because capture for the pet trade is 
ongoing and poses an immediate significant threat to scarlet macaws in 
these regions, it is reasonable to conclude that the regulatory 
mechanisms addressing this threat in these regions are inadequate. 
Therefore, we conclude that the inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms for addressing overutilization for commercial, recreational, 
scientific, or educational purposes is a significant immediate threat 
to the subspecies A. m. cyanoptera throughout all of its range, and the 
subspecies A. m. macao in Costa Rica and Panama.
Summary of Factor D
    As discussed under Factors A, B, C, and E, we do not find the 
potential threats discussed under Factors A, B, C and E to occur at a 
level that places the species in danger of extinction throughout its 
range now or in the foreseeable future. Thus, it is reasonable to 
conclude that the regulating mechanisms addressing these potential 
threats are adequate at protecting the species at a global level. 
Therefore, we conclude that inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms is not a threat to the scarlet macaw throughout all of its 
range. However, we found potential threats discussed under Factors A 
and B to be a threat to the species throughout all of the range of the 
subspecies A. m. cyanoptera, and in the range of the subspecies A. m. 
macao in Costa Rica (Factor B) and Panama (Factors A and B). Because 
these threats are ongoing and pose immediate threats to scarlet macaws 
in these regions, it is reasonable to conclude that the regulatory 
mechanisms addressing these threats in these regions are inadequate. 
Therefore, we conclude that the inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms pose an immediate threat to the continued existence of the 
subspecies A. m. cyanoptera throughout all of its range, and the 
subspecies A. m. macao in Costa Rica and Panama.
Factor E: Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Species' 
Continued Existence
Small Population Size and Cumulative Effects of Threats
    Small, isolated populations place species at greater risk of local 
extirpation or extinction due to a variety of factors, including loss 
of genetic variability, inbreeding depression, demographic 
stochasticity, environmental stochasticity, and natural catastrophes 
(Lande 1995, entire; Lehmkuhl and Ruggiero 1991, p. 37; Gilpin and 
Soule 1986, pp. 25-33; Soule and Simberloff 1986, pp. 28-32; Shaffer 
1981, p. 131; Franklin 1980, entire). The isolation of populations and 
consequent loss of genetic interchange may lead to genetic 
deterioration, for example, that has negative impacts on the population 
at different timescales. In the short term, populations may suffer the 
deleterious consequences of inbreeding; over the long term, the loss of 
genetic variability diminishes the capacity of the species to evolve by 
adapting to changes in the environment (e.g., Blomqvist et al. 2010, 
entire; Reed and Frankham 2003, pp. 233-234; Nunney and Campbell 1993, 
pp. 236-237; Soule and Simberloff 1986, pp. 28-29; Franklin 1980, pp. 
140-144). Stochastic events that put small populations at risk of 
extinction include, but are not limited to, variation in birth and 
death rates, fluctuations in gender ratio, inbreeding depression, and 
random environmental disturbances such as fire, wind, and climatic 
shifts (e.g., Blomqvist et al. 2010, entire; Gilpin and Soule 1986, p. 
27; Shaffer 1981, p. 131). The negative impacts associated with small 
population size and vulnerability to random demographic fluctuations or 
natural catastrophes are further magnified by synergistic interactions 
with other threats, such as those discussed above (Factors A, B, and 
C).
    Small, declining populations can be especially vulnerable to 
environmental disturbances such as habitat loss (O'Grady et al. 2004, 
pp. 513-514). In order for a population to sustain itself, there must 
be enough reproducing individuals (and habitat to sustain them) to 
ensure its survival. Conservation biology defines this as the ``minimum 
viable population'' (MVP) requirement (Grumbine 1990, pp. 127-128). 
Some studies (Traill et al. 2010, entire; Traill et al. 2007, entire; 
Brook et al. 2006, entire; Reed et al. 2003, entire) suggest that 
approximately 1,000 to 7,000 adults are required to ensure long-term 
survival of a species, although others argue that the general 
applicability of such estimates is not scientifically supported, and 
that they are likely to be poor estimates of any specific population 
(Beissinger et al. 2011, entire; Flather et al. 2011a, entire; Flather 
et al. 2011b, entire; Garnett and Zander 2011, entire). Although common 
and widespread in the Amazon, the scarlet macaw occurs in relatively 
small populations in Mesoamerica (ranging from a few pairs up to fewer 
than 2,000 individuals, with the total population size that is likely 
no greater than 4,000). Historically, the scarlet macaw in Mesoamerica 
existed in much higher numbers in more continuous, connected habitat. 
Its suitable habitat is becoming increasingly limited, and its suitable 
habitat is not likely to expand in the future.
    The combined effects of habitat fragmentation and other factors on 
a species can have profound effects and can potentially reduce a 
species' respective effective population (the proportion of the actual 
population that contributes to future generations) by orders of 
magnitude (Gilpin and Soul[eacute] 1986, p. 31). For example, an 
increase in habitat fragmentation can separate populations to the point 
where individuals can no longer disperse and breed among habitat 
patches, causing a shift in the demographic characteristics

[[Page 40240]]

of a population and a reduction in genetic fitness (Gilpin and 
Soul[eacute] 1986, p. 31). This is especially applicable for scarlet 
macaws in Mesoamerica, where the species was once wide-ranging and has 
lost a significant amount of its historical range due to habitat loss 
and degradation. Furthermore, as a species' or population's status 
continues to decline, often as a result of deterministic forces such as 
habitat loss or overutilization, it will become increasingly vulnerable 
to other impacts. If this trend continues, its ultimate extinction due 
to one or more stochastic (random or unpredictable) events becomes more 
likely. The scarlet macaw's current occupied and suitable range in 
Mesoamerica is highly reduced and fragmented. The small size of the 
species' populations in this region, and its reproductive and life-
history traits, combined with its highly restricted and severely 
fragmented range, increases the vulnerability of the scarlet macaw in 
this region to other threats.
    The global scarlet macaw population totals approximately 20,000 to 
50,000 individuals. The majority of these birds occur in the Amazon, 
where the species is generally common and widely distributed. Further, 
genetic studies indicate there is a high degree of genetic variability 
throughout the species' range. Consequently, the risks associated with 
small population size do not pose a threat to the species as a whole. 
However, most populations in Mesoamerica are believed to range from 
fewer than 200 to about 700 individuals, with only two possibly 
numbering between 1,000 and 2,000. Therefore it is reasonable to 
conclude that the populations in Mesoamerica are threatened by the 
synergistic interactions of small population size and other threats 
such as those discussed in Factors A, B, and C above.
Competition for Nest Cavities
    Competition for suitable nest cavities has the potential to limit 
reproductive success by limiting the number of pairs that can breed, or 
by causing nest mortality as a result of agonistic competitive 
interactions. Competition among different pairs of scarlet macaws, and 
between scarlet macaw pairs and pairs of other macaw species, is 
reported to be intense in some areas (Renton and Brightsmith 2009, p. 
5; Inigo-Elias 1996, p. 96; Nycander 1995, p. 428). At a remote study 
site in southeast Peru, competition for nest sites with other macaws 
was found to be the primary source of nest failure (Brightsmith 2010, 
unpaginated). Nevertheless, we are unaware of any information 
indicating that competition for nest cavities with other macaws occurs 
at a level that poses a threat to the species. The scarlet macaw is 
reported to be common in the Amazon, which encompasses the Peruvian 
portion of the species' range. Further, although a decline in the 
worldwide population of scarlet macaws is suspected (BLI 2011a, 
unpaginated), this suspected decline is not believed to be rapid (i.e., 
greater than 30 percent over 10 years or 3 generations). Further, we 
are not aware of any information indicating the species is declining in 
the Amazon (as opposed to in Mesoamerica), except in localized areas 
around human population centers (see Distribution and Abundance).
    Feral Africanized honey bees (Apis mellifera scutellata) are also 
reported to compete with scarlet macaws for nest sites (Garcia et al. 
2008, p. 52; Vaughan et al. 2003, p. 13; Inigo-Elias 1996, p. 61). 
Inigo-Elias (1996, p. 61) reported them to be ``a serious problem'' 
during his study of scarlet macaws in Mexico, and Garcia et al. (2008, 
p. 52) consider them the most serious competitor for scarlet macaw nest 
cavities in Guatemala. Africanized honey bees are an exotic species 
originally introduced in Brazil in 1956 (Whitfield et al. 2006, p. 
644). They subsequently spread throughout South and Central America, 
displacing naturalized European honey bees, and arriving in Mexico, 
Guatemala, and Belize around 1986 (Whitfield et al. 2006, pp. 643-644; 
Clarke et al. 2002 and Rogel et al. 1991, in Berry et al. 2010, p. 486; 
Fierro et al. 1987, unpaginated). Africanized honeybees occur at higher 
densities and are more aggressive than naturalized European honey bees 
(Rogel 1991 and Clarke et al. 2002, in Berry et al. 2010, p. 486). They 
attack and drive away intruders in the vicinity of their colonies, 
preventing the use of cavities in these areas by scarlet macaws. 
Africanized honeybees also take over occupied scarlet macaw nest 
cavities, killing the chicks or causing them to starve by driving off 
the nesting adults, resulting in failure of the macaw nest (Garcia et 
al. 2008, p. 52; Inigo-Elias 1996, p. 61). Inigo-Elias (1996, p. 61) 
reports that Africanized honey bees caused the failure of 3 of 41 nests 
during one breeding season. We are unaware of any other data or 
information on the effects of honeybees on scarlet macaw nesting. 
Although competition for nest sites with honeybees appears to be a 
threat to the species in the Maya Forest, we are unaware of any 
information indicating honeybees are a threat to the species throughout 
its range.
Climate Change
    Our analyses under the Endangered Species Act include consideration 
of on-going and projected changes in climate. Described in general 
terms, ``climate'' refers to the mean and variability of different 
types of weather conditions over a long period of time, which may be 
reported as decades, centuries, or thousands of years. The term 
``climate change'' thus refers to a change in the mean or variability 
of one or more measures of climate (e.g., temperature, precipitation) 
that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer, 
whether the change is due to natural variability, human activity, or 
both (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007, p. 78). 
Various types of changes in climate can have direct or indirect effects 
on species, and these may be positive or negative depending on the 
species and other relevant considerations, such as the effects of 
interactions with non-climate conditions (e.g., habitat fragmentation). 
We use our expert judgment to weigh information, including uncertainty, 
in our consideration of various aspects of climate change that are 
relevant to the scarlet macaw.
    Several studies project various changes in climate in Mesoamerica 
and the Amazon by the mid- to late century or sooner (Karmalkar et al. 
2011, entire; Kitoh et al. 2011, entire; Giorgi and Bi 2009, entire; 
Anderson et al. 2008, entire; Cook and Vizy 2008, entire; Li et al. 
2008, entire; Christensen et al. 2007, pp. 892-896). Although there are 
uncertainties in these models, and variation in projections, the 
general trajectory under most scenarios is one of increased warming in 
Mesoamerica and the Amazon, and increased drying in Mesoamerica and 
some areas of the Amazon. Several studies (Imbach et al. 2011, 
abstract; Marengo et al. 2011, entire; Asner et al. 2010, entire; 
Vergara and Scholz 2010, entire; Malhi et al. 2009, entire; Malhi et 
al. 2008, entire; Nepstad et al. 2008, entire) project changes in 
habitat in areas of the species' range, either from climate change or 
from climate change in combination with deforestation. However, high 
levels of uncertainty remain in projecting habitat changes within the 
species' range (see review by Davidson et al. 2012, entire), and there 
is no consensus on the type or extent of habitat changes that will 
occur. In addition, the scarlet macaw has a high level of genetic 
diversity, and is tolerant of a relatively broad range of ecological 
conditions. The species occurs in a variety of habitat types including 
wet

[[Page 40241]]

forest, dry forest, and savanna; has a broad and flexible diet; can 
nest in a variety of forest habitats provided they contain suitable 
nest cavities; and is known to inhabit patchworks of forest and human-
modified landscapes and feed on introduced species (see Biological 
Information). Thus, the scarlet macaw is likely to be able to adapt to 
some level of change in its environment provided forest remains. 
Further, we are unaware of any information indicating that the effects 
of climate change are now causing, or will in the future cause, 
declines in the scarlet macaw population.
Summary of Factor E
    Although small population size combined with the cumulative effect 
of other threats, and competition for nest cavities, is a threat to the 
scarlet macaw in some areas of its range, we conclude that small 
population size, competition for nest cavities, and climate change are 
not impacting the scarlet macaw at a level that poses a threat to the 
species throughout its range. Further, we are not aware of any 
information indicating that any other factors not already discussed 
under Factors A, B, C, and D pose a threat to the species throughout 
all of its range.
    In Mesoamerica, the scarlet macaw's current range is highly 
restricted and fragmented, populations are small and isolated, and 
threats continue to impact the species. Impacts of multiple threats 
typically operate synergistically, particularly when populations of a 
species are decreasing. Initial effects of one threat factor can later 
exacerbate the effects of other threat factors (Gilpin and Soul[eacute] 
1986, pp. 25-26). Further fragmentation of populations can decrease the 
fitness and reproductive potential of the species, which will 
exacerbate other threats. Lack of a sufficient number of individuals in 
a local area or a decline in their individual or collective fitness may 
cause a decline in the population size, despite the presence of 
suitable habitat patches. Within the preceding review of the five 
factors, we have identified multiple threats that may have interrelated 
impacts on this species in Mesoamerica. For example, deforestation 
provides access to previously inaccessible areas, thereby opening up 
new areas of the species' range to the threat of illegal poaching. 
Thus, the species' productivity in Mesoamerica may be reduced because 
of any of these threats, either singularly or in combination. The most 
significant threats in this region are habitat loss and poaching, 
particularly as populations in this region are small and fragmented, 
and the species requires a large range and variety of food sources. 
These threats occur at a scale sufficient to affect the status of the 
species in Mesoamerica both now and in the future. In addition, the 
species' current range in Mesoamerica is highly restricted and severely 
fragmented. The species' small population size, and its reproductive 
and life-history traits, combined with its highly restricted and 
severely fragmented range, increase the species' vulnerability to 
adverse natural events and human activities that eliminate habitat, 
reduce nesting success of breeding pairs, and remove individuals from 
these populations. The susceptibility to extirpation of limited-range 
species can occur for a variety of reasons, such as when a species' 
remaining population is so small or its distribution so fragmented that 
it may no longer be demographically or genetically viable (Harris and 
Pimm 2004, pp. 1612-1613). Although populations in this region have a 
high level of genetic diversity, they remain vulnerable to stochastic 
demographic and environmental events. Therefore, we find that the small 
sizes and isolated ranges of populations of the species in Mesoamerica, 
in combination with other threats identified above, are threats to the 
continued existence of the scarlet macaw throughout Mesoamerica, 
including the entire range of the subspecies A. m. cyanoptera and the 
range of A. m. macao in Costa Rica, Panama, and northwest Columbia, now 
and in the future.

Finding

Scarlet Macaw (A. macao) Finding
    As required by the Act, we conducted a review of the status of the 
species and considered the five factors in assessing whether the 
scarlet macaw is endangered or threatened throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range. We examined the best scientific and 
commercial information available regarding the past, present, and 
future threats faced by the scarlet macaw. We reviewed the petition, 
information available in our files, and other available published and 
unpublished information.
    In considering whether a species may warrant listing under any of 
the five factors, we look beyond the species' exposure to a potential 
threat or aggregation of threats under any of the factors, and evaluate 
whether the species responds to those potential threats in a way that 
causes an actual impact to the species. The identification of threats 
that might impact a species negatively may not be sufficient to compel 
a finding that the species warrants listing. The information must 
include evidence indicating that the threats are operative and, either 
singly or in aggregation, affect the status of the species. Threats are 
significant if they drive, or contribute to, the risk of extinction of 
the species, such that the species warrants listing as endangered or 
threatened, as those terms are defined in the Act.
    The scarlet macaw has the broadest range of any macaw. Over 80 
percent of the species' range occurs in the Amazon, and the scarlet 
macaw is considered widespread and relatively common in this region. 
Habitat destruction and modification as a result of deforestation and 
forest degradation occurs in the Amazon, but the majority of the area 
affected occurs in south and east Brazil, and projected forest loss in 
the Amazon still leaves large areas of intact forest outside Brazil and 
in northwest Brazil by 2050. Poaching for the pet trade and hunting 
occur, but we have no information indicating that the magnitude of this 
threat places the species in danger of extinction throughout its range 
now or in the foreseeable future. In Peru, where poaching for the pet 
trade was initially believed to be a threat, it has been found in trade 
only in small numbers. Additionally, we are aware of no information 
indicating that disease, predation, inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms, other factors, or the cumulative impact of factors place 
the species in danger of extinction in the Amazon now or within the 
foreseeable future. According to BLI (2011a, unpaginated), the scarlet 
macaw is suspected of being in decline globally, and, as discussed in 
Distribution and Abundance, evidence indicates that scarlet macaw 
numbers and distribution have been much reduced over the past few 
decades in Mesoamerica. However, we found no evidence that the species 
is declining in the Amazon except around human population centers, and 
much of the species' range in the Amazon is remote from human 
populations. For these reasons, and because large areas of intact 
forest are projected to remain in the Amazon for the next few decades, 
it is reasonable to conclude that if the suspected population decline 
of scarlet macaws is occurring throughout its range, it is unlikely to 
be occurring at a rate that puts the species in danger of extinction 
now or in the foreseeable future.
    Because the best available information indicates that the scarlet 
macaw in the majority of its range is not in danger of extinction 
(endangered), or likely to become so in the foreseeable future

[[Page 40242]]

(threatened), we conclude that listing the species under the Act is not 
warranted at this time.
    Having determined that listing the species throughout its range is 
not warranted, we next consider whether listing either subspecies, Ara 
macao cyanoptera or Ara macao macao, is warranted.
Northern Subspecies (A. m. cyanoptera) Finding
    The northern subspecies of scarlet macaw, A. m. cyanoptera, 
inhabits the species' current range in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, 
Honduras, and Nicaragua. This status review identified threats to A. m. 
cyanoptera attributable to Factors A, B, D, and E. The primary threats 
to this subspecies are habitat loss, illegal capture for the pet trade, 
the inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms that address these threats, and 
small population size combined with the cumulative effects of threats. 
Habitat destruction and modification (Factor A) in the form of 
deforestation and forest degradation are occurring throughout the 
subspecies' range. Illegal capture for the pet trade (Factor B) is also 
likely occurring throughout the subspecies' range, and is exacerbated 
by deforestation because deforestation increases access to the 
subspecies. Regulatory mechanisms (Factor D) are inadequate to prevent 
further loss of forest habitat and continued capture and trade of the 
species throughout the subspecies' range.
    Although little quantitative data on historical populations are 
available, the range of this subspecies has been greatly reduced and 
fragmented over the past several decades. It is, therefore, clear that 
the global population of A. m. cyanoptera has experienced a large 
decline, primarily due to loss of habitat and capture for the pet 
trade. As a result, the current global population is estimated to be 
4,000 or fewer individuals (see Distribution and Abundance).
    Section 3 of the Act defines an ``endangered species'' as ``any 
species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range,'' and a ``threatened species'' as 
``any species which is likely to become an endangered species within 
the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range.'' Given (1) the large extent of the decline in the subspecies' 
range and numbers in recent decades due to habitat destruction and 
modification and capture for the illegal pet trade, (2) that these 
threats are ongoing within the range of the subspecies, (3) that 
existing regulatory mechanisms addressing these threats are inadequate, 
and (4) we found no information indicating that these threats are being 
ameliorated, we find that these threats are immediate and significant 
and place the subspecies A. m. cyanoptera in danger of extinction at 
this time. Therefore, on the basis of the best scientific and 
commercial information available, we find that A. m. cyanoptera meets 
the definition of an ``endangered'' species under the Act, and we are 
proposing to list this subspecies as endangered throughout its range.
    We have reviewed the available information to determine if the 
existing and foreseeable threats render the species at risk of 
extinction now such that issuing an emergency regulation temporarily 
listing the species in accordance with section 4(b)(7) of the Act is 
warranted. We have determined that issuing an emergency regulation 
temporarily listing A. m. cyanoptera is not warranted for this 
subspecies at this time because there are no impending actions that 
might result in extinction of the species that would be addressed and 
alleviated by emergency listing. However, if at any time we determine 
that issuing an emergency regulation temporarily listing A. m. 
cyanoptera is warranted, we will initiate this action at that time.
Southern Subspecies (A. m. macao) Finding
    The southern subspecies of scarlet macaw, A. m. macao, inhabits the 
species' range from Costa Rica southward into South America. As with 
the species as a whole, the vast majority of the range of A. m. macao 
(greater than 80 percent) occurs in the Amazon. Therefore, for the 
reasons discussed under our finding for the species, A. macao, located 
above, we find that listing this subspecies throughout its range is not 
warranted.
    Having determined that listing the whole subspecies of A. m. macao 
is not warranted, we now consider whether there are any distinct 
population segments (DPSes) of the subspecies that warrant listing 
under the Act.
Distinct Population Segments
    Section 3(16) of the Act defines ``species'' to include ``any 
distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or 
wildlife which interbreeds when mature.'' To interpret and implement 
the DPS provisions of the Act and Congressional guidance, the Service 
and National Marine Fisheries Service published a policy regarding the 
recognition of distinct vertebrate population segments in the Federal 
Register (DPS Policy) on February 7, 1996 (61 FR 4722). Under the DPS 
policy, three factors are considered in a decision concerning the 
establishment and classification of a possible DPS. These are applied 
similarly to endangered and threatened species. The first two factors--
discreteness of the population segment in relation to the remainder of 
the taxon and the significance of the population segment to the taxon 
to which it belongs--bear upon whether the population segment is a 
valid DPS. If a population meets both tests, it is a DPS, and then the 
third factor is applied--the population segment's conservation status 
in relation to the Act's standards for listing, delisting, or 
reclassification (i.e., is the population segment endangered or 
threatened?).
Discreteness Analysis
    Under the DPS policy, a population segment of a vertebrate taxon 
may be considered discrete if it satisfies either of the following 
conditions: (1) It is markedly separated from other populations of the 
same taxon as a consequence of physical, physiological, ecological, or 
behavioral factors (quantitative measures of genetic or morphological 
discontinuity may provide evidence of this separation); or (2) it is 
delimited by international boundaries within which differences in 
control of exploitation, management of habitat, conservation status, or 
regulatory mechanisms exist that are significant in light of section 
4(a)(1)(D) of the Act.
    Genetic studies of scarlet macaws from throughout the species' 
range show that A. m. macao north and west of the Andes mountains 
(those in Costa Rica, Panama, and northwest Columbia) are genetically 
different from those south and east of the Andes (northern South 
America), indicating birds in these two areas represent separate 
populations (Schmidt 2011, pers. comm.). The Andes reach over 5,700 m 
(18,701 ft) in elevation in Columbia, with few passes below 1,600 m 
(5,249 ft) (Parsons 1982, pp. 254-256), and the highest elevation at 
which scarlet macaws have been recorded is approximately 1,500 m (4,921 
ft). Thus, the Andes represent a major physical barrier separating 
these two populations. Therefore, we conclude that A. m. macao north 
and west of the Andes are markedly separated from A. m. macao south and 
east of the Andes and represent two discrete populations.
Significance Analysis
    If a population segment is considered discrete under one or more of 
the conditions described in our DPS policy,

[[Page 40243]]

its biological and ecological significance is to be considered in light 
of Congressional guidance that the authority to list DPSes be used 
``sparingly'' while encouraging the conservation of genetic diversity. 
In carrying out this examination, we consider available scientific 
evidence of the population segment's importance to the taxon to which 
it belongs. This consideration may include, but is not limited to: (1) 
Its persistence in an ecological setting unusual or unique for the 
taxon; (2) evidence that its loss would result in a significant gap in 
the range of the taxon; (3) evidence that it is the only surviving 
natural occurrence of a taxon that may be more abundant elsewhere as an 
introduced population outside its historic range; or (4) evidence that 
the DPS differs markedly from other populations of the species in its 
genetic characteristics. A population segment needs to satisfy only one 
of these criteria to be considered significant. Furthermore, the list 
of criteria is not exhaustive; other criteria may be used, as 
appropriate. Below, we consider the biological and ecological 
significance of the A. m. macao populations on either side of the 
Andes.
    Evidence indicates that loss of either population of A. m. macao 
would result in a significant gap in the range of the subspecies. The 
subspecies' range south and east of the Andes comprises well over 90 
percent of its entire range (considering that the Amazon comprises an 
estimated 83 percent of the entire range of the species), all of its 
range in the Amazon, and the vast majority of its range on the South 
American continent (all but northwest Columbia). Therefore, its loss 
would result in a significant gap in the range of the subspecies.
    Although considerably smaller, the area of the subspecies' range 
north and west of the Andes inhabits a unique geographical position in 
the range of the subspecies. It is located partly on the Central 
American isthmus, a biological transition zone between the north and 
south American continents and a biodiversity ``hotspot'' (Muller and 
Patry 2011, p. 80; Myers et al. 2000, entire). This population occurs 
in the only area of the subspecies range located on the Central 
American isthmus, and the only area where the subspecies occurs on the 
Pacific slope of Central or South America. It is also the only area of 
the subspecies range with a connection to the range of A. m. 
cyanoptera. The population of A. m. macao north and west of the Andes 
includes, in northern Costa Rica (the transition zone also extends into 
southern Nicaragua) (Wiedenfeld 1994, pp. 100-101), and, together with 
genetic differences between the two populations of A. m. macao, 
indicates that a loss of the population north and west of the Andes 
would represent a significant loss to the genetic diversity of the 
subspecies. Loss of this population would also result in elimination of 
the subspecies from Central America and subsequent loss of the 
connection, and subsequently the transition zone, between populations 
of the two subspecies of scarlet macaw. Thus, we conclude that loss of 
the population of A. m. macao north and west of the Andes would result 
in a significant gap in the subspecies' range.
    We conclude that loss of either population of A. m. macao (the 
population north and west of the Andes or the population south and east 
of the Andes) would create a significant gap in the range of the 
subspecies. Therefore, because we find these two population segments to 
be discrete and because they meet the significance criterion, with 
respect to evidence that loss of either population segment would result 
in a significant gap in the range of the taxon, both qualify as DPSes 
under the Act. For the remainder of this document, we refer to the DPS 
north and west of the Andes as the northern DPS of A. m. macao, and the 
DPS south and east of the Andes as the southern DPS of A. m. macao.
Finding for the Northern DPS of A. m. macao
    We are unaware of any information on the numbers, if any, or status 
of A. m. macao in northwest Columbia. Therefore, we limit our 
discussion here to populations in Costa Rica and Panama, and request 
information from the public on the status of the subspecies in 
northwest Columbia (see Information Requested).
    This status review identified threats to the scarlet macaw 
attributable to Factors A, B, D, and E, in Costa Rica and Panama. The 
primary threats to the northern DPS of A. m. macao are habitat loss, 
illegal capture for the pet trade, the inadequacy of regulatory 
mechanisms that address these threats, and small population size 
combined with the cumulative effects of threats. Habitat destruction 
and modification (Factor A) in the form of deforestation and forest 
degradation are likely occurring in the range of two of the three 
populations in this region (the populations in southern Pacific Costa 
Rica and Panama). Illegal capture for the pet trade (Factor B) is also 
likely occurring in the range of all three populations in this region, 
and is exacerbated by deforestation because deforestation increases 
access to these birds. Regulatory mechanisms (Factor D) are inadequate 
to prevent further loss of forest habitat and continued capture and 
trade of the species throughout this region.
    Although quantitative data on historical populations are not 
available, as discussed above, the range of A. m. macao north and west 
of the Andes has been greatly reduced and fragmented over the past 
several decades. The species has been almost completely eliminated from 
Panama, and has been eliminated from 80 percent of its range in Costa 
Rica, primarily due to loss of habitat and capture for the pet trade.
    Section 3 of the Act defines an ``endangered species'' as ``any 
species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range,'' and a ``threatened species'' as 
``any species which is likely to become an endangered species within 
the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range.'' Given (1) the large extent of the decline of the subspecies 
within the northern DPS of A. m. macao in recent decades due to habitat 
destruction and modification and capture for the illegal pet trade, (2) 
that these threats are ongoing within the range of this DPS, (3) that 
existing regulatory mechanisms addressing these threats are inadequate, 
and (4) we found no information indicating that these threats are being 
ameliorated, we find that these threats are immediate and significant 
and place the northern DPS of A. m. macao in danger of extinction at 
this time. Therefore, on the basis of the best scientific and 
commercial information available, we find that the northern DPS of A. 
m. macao meets the definition of an ``endangered species'' under the 
Act, and we are proposing to list the northern DPS of A. m. macao as 
endangered throughout its range.
Finding for the Southern DPS of A. m. macao
    This DPS of A. m. macao inhabits the vast majority of the 
subspecies range in South America. As with the species range, and 
subspecies range, the vast majority of the range of this DPS occurs in 
the Amazon. Therefore, for the reasons discussed under our finding for 
the species A. macao located above, we find that listing this DPS 
throughout its range is not warranted.
    Having determined that listing the southern DPS of A. m. macao is 
not warranted, we next look at whether the southern DPS may be 
endangered or threatened with extinction in a significant portion of 
its range.

Significant Portion of the Range

    Having determined that the southern DPS of A. m. macao is not 
endangered

[[Page 40244]]

or threatened throughout its range, we must next consider whether there 
are any significant portions of the DPS where A. m. macao is in danger 
of extinction or is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable 
future.
    The Act defines ``endangered species'' as any species which is ``in 
danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range,'' and ``threatened species'' as any species which is ``likely to 
become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range.'' The definition of 
``species'' is also relevant to this discussion. Section 3(16) of the 
Act defines ``species'' as follows: ``The term `species' includes any 
subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population 
segment [DPS] of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which 
interbreeds when mature.'' The phrase ``significant portion of its 
range'' (SPR) is not defined by the statute, nor addressed in our 
regulations. For example, neither the statute nor its implementing 
regulations describes the consequences of a determination that a 
species is either endangered or likely to become so throughout a 
significant portion of its range, but not throughout all of its range, 
or explains what qualifies a portion of a range as ``significant.''
    Two recent district court decisions have addressed whether the SPR 
language allows the Service to list or protect less than all members of 
a defined ``species'': Defenders of Wildlife v. Salazar, 729 F. Supp. 
2d 1207 (D. Mont. 2010), concerning the Service's delisting of the 
Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf (74 FR 15123, April 2, 2009); and 
WildEarth Guardians v. Salazar, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105253 (D. Ariz. 
Sept. 30, 2010), concerning the Service's 2008 finding on a petition to 
list the Gunnison's prairie dog (73 FR 6660, February 5, 2008). The 
Service had asserted in both of these determinations that it had 
authority, in effect, to protect only some members of a ``species,'' as 
defined by the Act (i.e., species, subspecies, or DPS), under the Act. 
Both courts ruled that the determinations were arbitrary and capricious 
on the grounds that this approach violated the plain and unambiguous 
language of the Act. The courts concluded that reading the SPR language 
to allow protecting only a portion of a species' range is inconsistent 
with the Act's definition of ``species.'' The courts concluded that 
once a determination is made that a species (i.e., species, subspecies, 
or DPS) meets the definition of ``endangered species'' or ``threatened 
species,'' it must be placed on the list in its entirety and the Act's 
protections applied consistently to all members of that species 
(subject to modification of protections through special rules under 
sections 4(d) and 10(j) of the Act).
    Consistent with that interpretation, and for the purposes of this 
finding, we interpret the phrase ``significant portion of its range'' 
in the Act's definitions of ``endangered species'' and ``threatened 
species'' to provide an independent basis for listing; thus there are 
two situations (or factual bases) under which a species would qualify 
for listing: a species may be endangered or threatened throughout all 
of its range; or a species may be endangered or threatened in only a 
significant portion of its range. If a species is in danger of 
extinction throughout an SPR, it, the species, is an ``endangered 
species.'' The same analysis applies to ``threatened species.'' Based 
on this interpretation and supported by existing case law, the 
consequence of finding that a species is endangered or threatened in 
only a significant portion of its range is that the entire species will 
be listed as endangered or threatened, respectively, and the Act's 
protections will be applied across the species' entire range.
    We conclude, for the purposes of this finding, that interpreting 
the SPR phrase as providing an independent basis for listing is the 
best interpretation of the Act because it is consistent with the 
purposes and the plain meaning of the key definitions of the Act; it 
does not conflict with established past agency practice (i.e., prior to 
the 2007 Solicitor's Opinion), as no consistent, long-term agency 
practice has been established; and it is consistent with the judicial 
opinions that have most closely examined this issue. Having concluded 
that the phrase ``significant portion of its range'' provides an 
independent basis for listing and protecting the entire species, we 
next turn to the meaning of ``significant'' to determine the threshold 
for when such an independent basis for listing exists.
    Although there are potentially many ways to determine whether a 
portion of a species' range is ``significant,'' we conclude, for the 
purposes of this finding, that the significance of the portion of the 
range should be determined based on its biological contribution to the 
conservation of the species. For this reason, we describe the threshold 
for ``significant'' in terms of an increase in the risk of extinction 
for the species. We conclude that a biologically based definition of 
``significant'' best conforms to the purposes of the Act, is consistent 
with judicial interpretations, and best ensures species' conservation. 
Thus, for the purposes of this finding, and as explained further below, 
a portion of the range of a species is ``significant'' if its 
contribution to the viability of the species is so important that 
without that portion, the species would be in danger of extinction.
    We evaluate biological significance based on the principles of 
conservation biology using the concepts of redundancy, resiliency, and 
representation. Resiliency describes the characteristics of a species 
and its habitat that allow it to recover from periodic disturbance. 
Redundancy (having multiple populations distributed across the 
landscape) may be needed to provide a margin of safety for the species 
to withstand catastrophic events. Representation (the range of 
variation found in a species) ensures that the species' adaptive 
capabilities are conserved. Redundancy, resiliency, and representation 
are not independent of each other, and some characteristic of a species 
or area may contribute to all three. For example, distribution across a 
wide variety of habitat types is an indicator of representation, but it 
may also indicate a broad geographic distribution contributing to 
redundancy (decreasing the chance that any one event affects the entire 
species), and the likelihood that some habitat types are less 
susceptible to certain threats, contributing to resiliency (the ability 
of the species to recover from disturbance). None of these concepts is 
intended to be mutually exclusive, and a portion of a species' range 
may be determined to be ``significant'' due to its contributions under 
any one or more of these concepts.
    For the purposes of this finding, we determine if a portion's 
biological contribution is so important that the portion qualifies as 
``significant'' by asking whether without that portion, the 
representation, redundancy, or resiliency of the species would be so 
impaired that the species would have an increased vulnerability to 
threats to the point that the overall species would be in danger of 
extinction (i.e., would be ``endangered''). Conversely, we would not 
consider the portion of the range at issue to be ``significant'' if 
there is sufficient resiliency, redundancy, and representation 
elsewhere in the species' range that the species would not be in danger 
of extinction throughout its range if the population in that portion of 
the range in question became extirpated (extinct locally).
    We recognize that this definition of ``significant'' (a portion of 
the range of a species is ``significant'' if its contribution to the 
viability of the

[[Page 40245]]

species is so important that without that portion, the species would be 
in danger of extinction) establishes a threshold that is relatively 
high. On the one hand, given that the consequences of finding a species 
to be endangered or threatened in an SPR would be listing the species 
throughout its entire range, it is important to use a threshold for 
``significant'' that is robust. It would not be meaningful or 
appropriate to establish a very low threshold whereby a portion of the 
range can be considered ``significant'' even if only a negligible 
increase in extinction risk would result from its loss. Because nearly 
any portion of a species' range can be said to contribute some 
increment to a species' viability, use of such a low threshold would 
require us to impose restrictions and expend conservation resources 
disproportionately to conservation benefit: listing would be range-
wide, even if only a portion of the range of minor conservation 
importance to the species is imperiled. On the other hand, it would be 
inappropriate to establish a threshold for ``significant'' that is too 
high. This would be the case if the standard were, for example, that a 
portion of the range can be considered ``significant'' only if threats 
in that portion result in the entire species' being currently 
endangered or threatened. Such a high bar would not give the SPR phrase 
independent meaning, as the Ninth Circuit held in Defenders of Wildlife 
v. Norton, 258 F.3d 1136 (9th Cir. 2001).
    The definition of ``significant'' used in this finding carefully 
balances these concerns. By setting a relatively high threshold, we 
minimize the degree to which restrictions will be imposed or resources 
expended that do not contribute substantially to species conservation. 
However, we have not set the threshold so high that the phrase ``in a 
significant portion of its range'' loses independent meaning. 
Specifically, we have not set the threshold as high as it was under the 
interpretation presented by the Service in the Defenders litigation. 
Under that interpretation, the portion of the range would have to be so 
important that current imperilment there would mean that the species 
would be currently imperiled everywhere. Under the definition of 
``significant'' used in this finding, the portion of the range need not 
rise to such an exceptionally high level of biological significance. 
(We recognize that if the species is imperiled in a portion that rises 
to that level of biological significance, then we should conclude that 
the species is in fact imperiled throughout all of its range, and that 
we would not need to rely on the SPR language for such a listing.) 
Rather, under this interpretation we ask whether the species would be 
endangered everywhere without that portion, i.e., if that portion were 
completely extirpated. In other words, the portion of the range need 
not be so important that even the species being in danger of extinction 
in that portion would be sufficient to cause the species in the 
remainder of the range to be endangered; rather, the complete 
extirpation (in a hypothetical future) of the species in that portion 
would be required to cause the species in the remainder of the range to 
be endangered.
    The range of a species can theoretically be divided into portions 
in an infinite number of ways. However, there is no purpose to 
analyzing portions of the range that have no reasonable potential to be 
significant or to analyzing portions of the range in which there is no 
reasonable potential for the species to be endangered or threatened. To 
identify only those portions that warrant further consideration, we 
determine whether there is substantial information indicating that: (1) 
The portions may be ``significant,'' and (2) the species may be in 
danger of extinction there or likely to become so within the 
foreseeable future. Depending on the biology of the species, its range, 
and the threats it faces, it might be more efficient for us to address 
the significance question first or the status question first. Thus, if 
we determine that a portion of the range is not ``significant,'' we do 
not need to determine whether the species is endangered or threatened 
there; if we determine that the species is not endangered or threatened 
in a portion of its range, we do not need to determine if that portion 
is ``significant.'' In practice, a key part of the determination that a 
species is in danger of extinction in a significant portion of its 
range is whether the threats are geographically concentrated in some 
way. If the threats to the species are essentially uniform throughout 
its range, no portion is likely to warrant further consideration. 
Moreover, if any concentration of threats to the species occurs only in 
portions of the species' range that clearly would not meet the 
biologically based definition of ``significant,'' such portions will 
not warrant further consideration.

SPR Analysis for the Southern DPS of A. m. macao

    After reviewing the potential threats throughout the range of the 
southern DPS of A. m. macao, we determine that two areas, the area 
referred to as the arc of deforestation in the southern and eastern 
Amazon (in the Brazilian states of Para, Mato Grosso, Rondonia, and 
Acre) and the Brazilian state of Roraima, have concentrated threats 
(see discussion under Factor A), as 90 percent of deforestation in the 
Amazon occurs in these areas (INPE 2005, in Asner et al. 2005, p. 480). 
We next consider the contribution of these two portions to determine if 
these areas are significant, as described above.
    As discussed under Factor A, above, the Amazon covers approximately 
6.7 million km\2\ (2.6 million mi\2\) in 9 countries and 1 territory of 
France. Even with the loss of either or both portions discussed above, 
large tracts of the DPS would remain, including large tracts of remote 
forest in northwest Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana, eastern 
Peru, and southeast Columbia. Thus, even without either or both 
portions of the range identified above, large areas of the range of the 
southern DPS of A. m. macao would remain. As discussed above, A. m. 
macao in the Amazon are reported to be common, widely distributed, 
genetically similar, and have high genetic variability. Thus, it is 
reasonable to conclude that A. m. macao in the remaining forest outside 
the identified portions would be common, widely distributed, and have 
high genetic variability. Further, although little information exists 
on movements of scarlet macaws in the Amazon, scarlet macaws are not 
migratory, and although they are nomadic to some degree, we know of no 
information suggesting that the two portions discussed above are 
required for the survival of the portion of the southern DPS of A. m. 
macao that occurs outside the two portions discussed above. Therefore, 
because (1) the remaining portion includes large areas of intact forest 
in several areas of the Amazon, (2) scarlet macaws in these remaining 
areas have high genetic diversity and are likely common and widely 
distributed, and (3) scarlet macaws are not migratory and thus the 
survival of scarlet macaws outside the two identified portions are 
unlikely to depend on the existence of the two identified portions, we 
conclude that remaining portion of the southern DPS of A. m. macao is 
likely to offer sufficient resiliency, redundancy, and representation 
to the DPS such that the DPS would not be in danger of extinction if 
the two portions identified above were completely lost.
    In summary, despite having some locations of elevated risk to 
potential threats, we conclude that the portions of the southern DPS of 
A. m. macao's

[[Page 40246]]

range where these threats occur are not significant portions of its 
range. Even if scarlet macaws in these locations were extirpated at 
some time in the future, the DPS would persist at locations not 
affected by these threats. The existing, remaining population would be 
distributed across a large region of the Amazon in Suriname, Guyana, 
French Guayana, northwest Brazil, southeast Colombia, eastern Ecuador, 
and eastern Peru, and would provide adequate redundancy, resiliency, 
and representation to the DPS. Therefore, the two identified portions 
(whether considered separately or combined) are not a ``significant'' 
portion of the species' range because their contribution to the 
viability of the species is not so important that the species would be 
in danger of extinction without those portions.
    We find that the southern DPS of A. m. macao is not in danger of 
extinction now, nor is it likely to become endangered within the 
foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range. Therefore, listing the southern DPS of A. m. macao as endangered 
or threatened under the Act is not warranted at this time. We find that 
the southern DPS of A. m. macao is not in danger of extinction now, nor 
is it likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future 
throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Therefore, 
listing the southern DPS of A. m. macao as endangered or threatened 
under the Act is not warranted at this time. However, for law 
enforcement purposes, we are considering listing this DPS, and 
intraspecific crosses of scarlet macaws, based on similarity of 
appearance to entities proposed for listing in this document, and 
request information from the public pertaining to this subject (see 
Information Requested).

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Act include recognition, requirements for Federal 
protection, and prohibitions against certain practices. Recognition 
through listing results in public awareness, and encourages and results 
in conservation actions by Federal and State governments, private 
agencies and interest groups, and individuals.
    The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of 
general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all endangered and 
threatened wildlife. These prohibitions, at 50 CFR 17.21 and 17.31, in 
part, make it illegal for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the 
United States to ``take'' (includes harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, 
wound, kill, trap, capture, or to attempt any of these) within the 
United States or upon the high seas; import or export; deliver, 
receive, carry, transport, or ship in interstate or foreign commerce in 
the course of commercial activity; or sell or offer for sale in 
interstate or foreign commerce any endangered wildlife species. It also 
is illegal to possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship any 
such wildlife that has been taken in violation of the Act. Certain 
exceptions apply to agents of the Service and State conservation 
agencies.
    Permits may be issued to carry out otherwise prohibited activities 
involving endangered and threatened wildlife species under certain 
circumstances. Regulations governing permits are codified at 50 CFR 
17.22 for endangered species and 17.32 for threatened species. With 
regard to endangered wildlife, a permit may be issued for the following 
purposes: for scientific purposes, to enhance the propagation or 
survival of the species, and for incidental take in connection with 
otherwise lawful activities. For threatened species, a permit may be 
issued for the same activities, as well as zoological exhibition, 
education, and special purposes consistent with the Act.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our policy, ``Notice of Interagency Cooperative 
Policy for Peer Review in Endangered Species Act Activities,'' that was 
published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we will seek the expert 
opinion of at least three appropriate independent specialists regarding 
this proposed rule. The purpose of such review is to ensure listing 
decisions are based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and 
analysis. We will send copies of this proposed rule to the peer 
reviewers immediately following publication in the Federal Register. We 
will invite these peer reviewers to comment, during the public comment 
period, on the specific assumptions and the data that are the basis for 
our conclusions regarding this proposal to list as endangered the 
northern scarlet macaw subspecies (Ara macao cyanoptera) and the 
northern DPS of the southern scarlet macaw subspecies (Ara macao 
macao), under the Act.
    We will consider all comments and information we receive during the 
comment period on this proposed rule during preparation of a final 
rulemaking. Accordingly, our final decision may differ from this 
proposal.

Required Determinations

Clarity of Rule
    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the 
Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain 
language. This means that each rule we publish must:
    (a) Be logically organized;
    (b) Use the active voice to address readers directly;
    (c) Use clear language rather than jargon;
    (d) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and
    (e) Use lists and tables wherever possible.
    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us 
comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. To 
better help us revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as 
possible. For example, you should tell us the names of the sections or 
paragraphs that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences are 
too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be useful, 
etc.
National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)
    We have determined that we do not need to prepare an environmental 
assessment, as defined under the authority of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, in connection with regulations 
adopted under section 4(a) of the Act. We published a notice outlining 
our reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on October 
25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

References Cited

    A list of all references cited in this document is available at 
http://www.regulations.gov, Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2012-0039, or upon 
request from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species 
Program, Branch of Foreign Species (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
section).

Authors

    The primary authors of this notice are staff members of the Branch 
of Foreign Species, Endangered Species Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter 
I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:

[[Page 40247]]

PART 17--[AMENDED]

    1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

    2. Amend Sec.  17.11(h) by adding new entries for ``Macaw, 
scarlet'' in alphabetical order under BIRDS to the List of Endangered 
and Threatened Wildlife, to read as follows:


Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Species                                                       Vertebrate population
---------------------------------------------------------------      Historic range        where endangered or     Status    When    Critical   Special
             Common name                   Scientific name                                      threatened                  listed   habitat     rules
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
                Birds
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Macaw, scarlet.......................  Ara macao cyanoptera...  Mexico, Guatemala,       Entire.................        E  .......         NA         NA
                                                                 Belize, El Salvador,
                                                                 Honduras, Nicaragua.
Macaw, scarlet.......................  Ara macao macao........  Costa Rica, Panama,      Costa Rica, Panama, and        E  .......         NA         NA
                                                                 Colombia, Ecuador,       the portion of
                                                                 Peru, Suriname,          Colombia north and
                                                                 Guyana, French Guiana,   west of the Andes.
                                                                 Brazil, Bolivia.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *

    Dated: June 26, 2012.
Gregory Siekaniec,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-16445 Filed 7-5-12; 8:45 am]
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