[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 130 (Friday, July 6, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 39965-39983]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-16461]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[FWS-R9-ES-2012-0013; 4500030115]
RIN 1018-AY38


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing the 
Hyacinth Macaw

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; 12-month finding.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, propose to list as 
endangered the hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) 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 
hyacinth macaw. If we finalize this rule as proposed, it would extend 
the Act's protections to this species. We seek information from the 
public on this proposed rule and status review for this species.

DATES: Comments: We will consider comments and information received or 
postmarked on or before September 4, 2012.
    Public hearing: We must receive requests for a public hearing by 
August 20, 2012 addressed to the contact specified in FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-R9-
ES-2012-0013.
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: FWS-R9-ES-2012-0013, 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

    We were petitioned to list the hyacinth macaw, and 13 other parrot 
species, under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act). During our 
status review, we found threats operating in aggregation and 
contributing to the risk of extinction of the species. Therefore, in 
this 12-month finding, we announce that listing the hyacinth macaw is 
warranted and are publishing a proposed rule to list this species as 
endangered under the Act. We are undertaking this action pursuant to a 
settlement agreement, and publication of this 12-month finding and 
proposed rule will fulfill our obligations under that agreement.
    This action is authorized by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended. It affects Part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations. 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 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. 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.
    This regulatory action is not economically significant.

Background

    Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Endangered Species Act (Act) (16 U.S.C. 
1533(b)(3)(B)) 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 qualified 
species to or remove species from the Federal Lists of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Section 4(b)(3)(C) of the Act requires 
that we treat a petition for which the requested action is found to be 
warranted but precluded as though

[[Page 39966]]

resubmitted on the date of such finding, that is, requiring a 
subsequent finding to be made within 12 months. We must publish these 
12-month findings in the Federal Register.
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) publishes an annual 
notice of resubmitted petition findings (annual notice) for all foreign 
species for which listings were previously found to be warranted but 
precluded.
    In this document, we announce that listing the hyacinth macaw as 
endangered is warranted, and we are issuing a proposed rule to add that 
species as endangered under the Federal Lists of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants.
    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 threatened or 
endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), 
the following 12 parrot species: blue-headed macaw (Primolius couloni), 
crimson shining parrot (Prosopeia splendens), great 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 (C. 
alba), yellow-billed parrot (Amazona collaria), and yellow-crested 
cockatoo (C. 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 12-month status review 
finding and proposed rule for the following four parrot species: 
Crimson shining parrot, Philippine cockatoo, white cockatoo, and 
yellow-crested cockatoo (76 FR 49202). On October 6, 2011, a 12-month 
status review finding was published for the red-crowned parrot (76 FR 
62016). On October 11, 2011, a 12-month status review and proposed rule 
was published for the yellow-billed parrot (76 FR 62740), and on 
October 12, 2011, a 12-month status review was published for the blue-
headed macaw and grey-cheeked parakeet (76 FR 63480).
    On September 16, 2011, an extension to the settlement agreement was 
approved by the Court (CV-10-357, D. DC), in which the Service agreed 
to submit a determination for the remaining four petitioned species to 
the Federal Register by June 30, 2012.
    In 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, 
the hyacinth 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 (especially breeding and foraging habitats), diet, and 
population abundance and trends (especially current recruitment data) 
of this species.
    (2) Information on the effects of habitat loss and changing land 
uses on the distribution and abundance of this species.
    (3) 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.
    (4) 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.
    (5) The potential effects of climate change on this species and its 
habitat.
    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 the 
date specified in DATES.

[[Page 39967]]

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 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.

Species Description

    The hyacinth macaw is the largest bird of the parrot family, Family 
Psittacidae, (Guedes and Harper 1995, p. 395; Munn et al. 1989, p. 
405). It measures approximately 100 centimeters (cm) (3.3 feet (ft)) in 
length. Average female and male wing lengths measure approximately 400 
to 407.5 millimeters (mm) (1.3 ft), respectively. Average tail lengths 
for females and males are 492.4 mm (1.6 ft) and 509.4 mm (1.7 ft), 
respectively (Forshaw 1973, p. 364). Hyacinth macaws are characterized 
by a predominately cobalt-blue plumage, black underside of wing and 
tail, and unlike other macaws, have feathered faces and lores (areas of 
a bird's face from the base of the bill to the front of the eyes). In 
addition, they have bare yellow eye rings, bare yellow patches 
surrounding the base of their lower mandibles, large and hooked grey-
black bills, dark-brown irises, and dark-grey legs. However, older 
adults have lighter grey or white legs, which are short and sturdy to 
allow the bird to hang sideways or upside down while foraging. Immature 
birds are similar to adults but with shorter tails and paler yellow 
bare facial skin (Juniper and Parr 1998, pp. 416-417; Guedes and Harper 
1995, p. 395; Munn et al. 1989, p. 405; Forshaw 1973, p. 364).
    At one time, hyacinth macaws were widely distributed throughout 
Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay (Pinho and Nogueira 2003, p. 30; 
Whittingham et al. 1998, p. 66; Guedes and Harper 1995, p. 395). Today, 
the species is limited to three separate areas, almost exclusively 
within Brazil, that have experienced less pressure from trapping, 
hunting, and agriculture: Eastern Amazonia in Par[aacute], Brazil, 
south of the Amazon River along the Tocantins, Xingu, and 
Tapaj[oacute]s rivers; the Gerais region of northeastern Brazil, 
including the states of Maranh[atilde]o, Piau[iacute], Goi[aacute]s, 
Tocantins, Bahia, and Minas Gerais; and the Pantanal of Mato Grosso and 
Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil and marginally in Bolivia and Paraguay 
(Snyder et al. 2000, p. 119; Juniper and Parr 1998, p. 416; Abramson et 
al. 1995, p. 14; Munn et al. 1989, p. 407).
    The hyacinth macaw exploits a variety of habitats in the 
Par[aacute], Gerais, and Pantanal regions, although the climate within 
these three regions features a dry season that prevents the growth of 
extensive closed-canopy tropical forests. In Par[aacute], the species 
prefers palm-rich v[aacute]rzea (flooded forests), seasonally moist 
forests with clearings, and savannas. In the Gerais region, it is 
located within the Cerrado biome, where it inhabits dry open forests in 
rocky, steep-sided valleys and plateaus, gallery forests (a stretch of 
forest along a river in an area of otherwise open country), and 
Mauritia palm swamps. In the Pantanal region, hyacinth macaws frequent 
gallery forest and palm groves with wet grassy areas (Juniper and Parr 
1998, p. 417; Guedes and Harper 1995, p. 395; Munn et al. 1989, p. 
407).
    Although there is evidence that suggests this species was abundant 
before the mid-1980's (Collar et al. 1992, p. 4), a very rapid 
population decline is suspected to have taken place over the last 45 
years (three generations) based on large-scale illegal trade, habitat 
loss, and hunting (BLI 2011, unpaginated). In 1986, Munn et al. (1989, 
p. 413) estimated the total population of hyacinth macaws to be 3,000, 
with a range between 2,500 and 5,000 individuals; 750 occurred in 
Par[aacute], 1,000 in Gerais, and 1,500 in Pantanal (Collar et al. 
1992, p. 4). In 2003, the population was estimated at 6,500 
individuals; 5,000 of which were located in the Pantanal region (BLI 
2011, unpaginated; Brouwer 2004, unpaginated). This population is the 
stronghold for the species and has shown signs of recovery since 1990, 
most likely as a response to conservation projects (BLI 2011, 
unpaginated; Antas et al. 2006, p. 128; Pinho and Nogueira 2003, p. 
30).
    The hyacinth macaw has a specialized diet consisting of the fruits 
of various palm species which are inside an extremely hard nut that 
only the hyacinth macaw can easily break (Guedes and Harper 1995, p. 
400; Collar et al. 1992, p. 5). In each of the three regions where it 
occurs, this species utilizes only a few specific palm species. In 
Par[aacute], hyacinth macaws (hyacinths) have been reported to feed on 
Maximiliana regia (inaj[aacute]), Orbignya martiana (babassu), Orbignya 
phalerata (babac[uacute]) and Astrocaryum sp. (tucum[aacute]n). In the 
Gerais region, hyacinths feed on Attalea funifera (piacava), Syagrus 
coronata (catol[eacute]), and Mauritia vinifera (buriti). In the 
Pantanal region, hyacinths feed exclusively on Scheelea phalerata 
(acuri) and Acrocromia totai (bocai[uacute]va) (Antas et al. 2006, p. 
128; Schneider et al. 2006, p. 74; Juniper and Parr 1998, p. 417; 
Guedes and Harper 1995, p. 401; Collar et al. 1992, p. 5; Munn et al. 
1987, pp. 407-408). Although the hyacinth macaw prefers bocai[uacute]va 
palm nuts over acuri, bocai[uacute]va is only readily available from 
September to December, which coincides with the peak of chick hatching; 
however, the acuri is available throughout the year and constitutes the 
majority of this species' diet in the Pantanal (Guedes and Harper 1995, 
p. 400).
    Hyacinths forage for palm nuts and water on the ground. They feed 
on the large quantities of nuts eliminated by cattle in the fields and 
have been observed in close proximity to cattle ranches where waste 
piles are concentrated. They may also forage directly from the palm 
tree and drink fluid from unripe palm fruits (Juniper and Parr 1998, p. 
417; Guedes and Harper 1995, pp. 400-401; Collar et al. 1992, pp. 5, 
7). Birds often occur in small family groups except at feeding and 
roosting sites when large flocks of 10-100 have been observed (Abramson 
et al. 1995, p. 2). Single birds rotate responsibility for serving as a 
lookout. Birds are most active during the cooler parts of the day, 
foraging in the morning and late afternoon. Foraging generally lasts 
about 30 minutes followed by a 10-20 minute break before feeding

[[Page 39968]]

again. Foraging may be within a few meters to several kilometers from 
the roost or nest tree (Guedes and Harper 1995, pp. 400-401; Collar et 
al. 1992, p. 5).
    Hyacinths nest from July to December in tree cavities and, in some 
parts of its range, cliff cavities. As a secondary tree nester, 
hyacinth macaws require large, preexisting tree holes for nesting (Pizo 
et al. 2008, p. 792; Abramson et al. 1995, p. 2). In Par[aacute], the 
species nests in holes of Bertholettia excelsa (Brazil nut). In the 
Gerais region, nesting may occur in large dead Mauritia vinifera 
(buriti), but is most commonly found in natural rock crevices. In 
studies conducted in the Pantanal region, the species was found to nest 
almost exclusively (94 percent of nests) in Sterculia striata 
(manduvi); although nesting has been reported in Pithecellobium edwalii 
(angio branco), Enterolobium contortisiliquum (ximbuva), and Vitex sp. 
(tarum[aacute]) (Kuniy et al. 2006, p. 381; Pinho and Nogueira 2003, p. 
30; Juniper and Parr 1998, p. 417; Guedes and Harper 1995, p. 402; 
Collar et al. 1992, pp. 5-6; Munn et al. 1987, p. 408).
    Hyacinth pairs will defend a nest using loud vocalizations and 
flights around the nest tree when a potential threat, such as humans, 
dogs, some birds, and mammals, approach. Often one or two other pairs 
will join in these nest defense behaviors. However, when displacing 
other macaw species, hyacinths engage in silent behaviors; the male and 
female will cover the nest opening using their bodies, hook their bill 
on the upper rim of the nest opening, and extend their wings. The male 
may fly to displace the intruding bird while the female remains at the 
nest opening (Guedes and Harper 1995, p. 405).
    In captivity, hyacinths reach reproductive maturity between 4 and 5 
years old (Abramson et al. 1995, p. 2). The hyacinth macaw lays two 
smooth, white eggs approximately 48.4 mm (1.9 inches (in)) long and 
36.4 mm (1.4 in) wide. Eggs are usually found in the nest from August 
until December (Juniper and Parr 1998, p. 417; Guedes and Harper 1995, 
p. 406). The female alone incubates the eggs for approximately 28-30 
days. The male remains near the nest to protect it from invaders, but 
may leave 4-6 times a day to forage and collect food for the female 
(Schneider et al. 2006, pp. 72, 79; Guedes and Harper 1995, p. 406). 
Chicks are mostly naked with sparse white down feathers at hatching. 
Young are fed regurgitated, chopped palm nuts (Munn et al. 1989, p. 
405). Most chicks fledge at 105-110 days old; however, separation is a 
slow process. Fledglings will continue to be fed by the parents for 6 
months, when they begin to break hard palm nuts themselves, and may 
remain with the adults for 16 months, after which they will join groups 
of other young birds (Schneider et al. 2006, pp. 71-72; Guedes and 
Harper 1995, pp. 407-411). Although hyacinths lay two eggs, observers 
have reported that they rarely fledge more than one bird (Munn et al. 
1989, p. 409). Given the long period of chick dependence, hyacinths may 
not breed every year (Schneider et al. 2006, pp. 71-72; Guedes and 
Harper 1995, pp. 407-411).

Conservation Status

    In 1989, the hyacinth macaw was listed as a species at risk for 
extinction by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Natural 
Resources (IBAMA), the government agency that controls the country's 
natural resources (Lunardi et al. 2003, p. 283). It is also listed as 
``critically endangered'' by the State of Minas Gerais and 
``vulnerable'' by the State of Par[aacute] (Garcia and Marini 2006, p. 
153). This species is also currently classified as ``endangered'' by 
the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and is listed as 
Appendix I on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered 
Species (CITES) list. Species included in CITES Appendix I are the most 
endangered CITES-listed species. They are considered threatened with 
extinction, and international trade is permitted only under exceptional 
circumstances, which generally precludes commercial trade.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Hyacinth Macaw

    This status review focuses primarily on the hyacinth macaw 
populations in Brazil. The species occurs only marginally within 
Bolivia and Paraguay as extensions from the Brazilian Pantanal 
population, and there is little information on the species in those 
countries. Most of the information on the hyacinth macaw is from the 
Pantanal region, as this is the largest and most studied population. We 
found little information on the status of the Par[aacute] and Gerais 
populations; therefore, we evaluated factors for these populations by a 
broader region (e.g., the Amazon biome for Par[aacute] and the Cerrado 
biome for Gerais). For particular areas in which we lack information 
about the species, we request additional information from the public 
during the proposed rule comment period.

A. Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of 
Habitat or Range

    Natural ecosystems across Latin America are being transformed due 
to economic development, international market demands, and government 
policies. In Brazil, demand for soybean oil and meal has increased, 
causing cultivations to significantly increase (Barona et al. 2010, pp. 
1-2). Brazil has also risen to become the world's largest exporter of 
beef. Over the past decade, more than 10 million hectares (ha) (24.7 
million acres (ac)) were cleared for cattle ranching, and the 
government is aiming to double the country's share of the beef export 
market to 60 percent by 2018 (Mongabay 2009, unpaginated). Much of the 
recent surge in cropland area expansion is taking place in the 
Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado regions (Nepstad et al. 2008, p. 1738). 
However, in all of the regions where the hyacinth macaw occurs, the 
natural vegetation, including food and nesting resources, is threatened 
by expansion of agriculture and cattle ranching.
Par[aacute]
    Par[aacute] is one of the Brazilian states that constitute the 
Amazon biome (Greenpeace 2009, p. 2). This biome contains more than 
just the well-known tropical rainforests; it also encompasses other 
ecosystems, including floodplain forests and savannas. Par[aacute] has 
long been known as the epicenter of illegal deforestation in the 
Brazilian Amazon (Dias and Ramos 2012, unpaginated). Here, the most 
important cause of deforestation is the conversion of floodplain 
forests to cattle-ranching, which has expanded significantly over the 
last 15 years (da Silva 2009, p. 3; Lucas 2009, p. 1; Collar et al. 
1992a, p. 7). Although the hyacinth macaw's food and nesting habitat 
are reasonably intact, the continuing rapid expansion of cattle 
ranching may affect nesting trees and food resources (Munn et al. 1989, 
p. 415).
    Cattle ranching has been present in the v[aacute]rzea (floodplain 
forests) of the Amazon for centuries (Arima and Uhl, 1997, p. 433). 
However, state subsidies and massive infrastructure development have 
facilitated large-scale forest conversion and colonization for cattle 
ranching (Barona et al. 2010, p. 1). Additionally, certain factors have 
led to a significant expansion of this land use. The climate of the 
Brazilian Amazon is favorable for cattle ranching; frosts do not occur 
like in the south of Brazil and rainfall is more evenly distributed 
throughout the year, increasing pasture productivity and reducing the 
risk of

[[Page 39969]]

fire. In Par[aacute], there is a lower incidence of disease, such as 
hoof-and-mouth disease, brucellosis, and ectoparasites than in central 
and south Brazil. Additionally, the price of land in Par[aacute] has 
been lower than in central and south Brazil, resulting in ranchers 
selling farms, establishing larger farms in Par[aacute], and competing 
in the national market (Arima and Uhl, 1997, p. 446).
    In the Brazilian North region, including Par[aacute], cattle occupy 
84 percent of the total area under agricultural and livestock uses. 
This area, on average, has expanded 9 percent per year over the last 10 
years causing 70-80 percent of deforestation (Nepstad et al. 2008, p. 
1739). Par[aacute] itself contains two-thirds of the Brazilian Amazonia 
cattle herd (Arima and Uhl 1997, p. 343). For 7 months of the year, 
cattle are grazed in the v[aacute]rzea, but are moved to the upper 
terra firme the other 5 months (Arima and Uhl, 1997, p. 440). Intense 
livestock activity can affect seedling recruitment via trampling and 
grazing. Cattle also compact the soil such that regeneration of forest 
species is severely reduced (Lucas 2009, pp. 1-2). This type of 
repeated disturbance can lead to an ecosystem dominated by invasive 
trees, grasses, bamboo, and ferns (Nepstad et al. 2008, p. 1740).
    Although the immediate cause of deforestation in the Amazon was 
predominantly the expansion of pasture during the period 2000-2006 
(Barona et al. 2010, p. 8), the underlying cause may be the expansion 
of soy cultivation in other areas, leading to a displacement of 
pastures further north into parts of Par[aacute] causing additional 
deforestation (Barona et al. 2010, pp. 6, 8). Par[aacute] has one of 
the highest deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon (Portal Brasil 
2010, unpaginated). During 1988-2009, the state lost 123,527 km\2\ 
(47,694 mi\2\), with annual rates varying between 3,780-8,870 km\2\ 
(1,460-3,424 mi\2\) (Butler 2010, unpaginated). Modeled future 
deforestation is concentrated in eastern Amazonia. If current trends in 
agricultural expansion continue, the southeastern tributaries of the 
Amazon River (Tapaj[oacute]s and Xingu) will lose at least two-thirds 
of their forest cover by 2050 (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, p. 522).
Cerrado
    The Cerrado is a 2 million km\2\ (772,204 mi\2\) biome consisting 
of plateaus and depressions with vegetation that varies from dense 
grasslands with sparse shrubs and small trees to an almost closed 
woodland (Pinto et al. 2007, p. 14; da Silva 1997, p. 437; Ratter et 
al. 1997, p. 223). In the Cerrado, hyacinths now mostly nest in rock 
crevices, most likely a response to the destruction of nesting trees 
(Collar et al. 1992, p. 5). These crevices will likely remain constant 
and are not a limiting factor. However, deforestation for agriculture, 
primarily soy crops, and cattle ranching threaten the remaining native 
cerrado vegetation, including palm species the hyacinth macaw relies on 
as a food resource.
    Settlement of the Cerrado region by nonindigenous people began in 
the 18th Century with the quest for gold and precious stones. Later, 
cattle ranching became the dominant activity until the 1950's (WWF-UK 
2011b, p. 2). However, during this time the Cerrado was sparsely 
populated and inhabitants practiced little more than subsistence 
agriculture (Pinto et al. 2007, p. 14; Ratter et al. 1997, p. 227). 
Most of the settlement and drastic anthropogenic modification to the 
Cerrado region began in the 1950's with the mechanization of 
agriculture, new fertilization techniques, and the low cost of land 
(Pinto et al. 2007, p. 14; WWF 2001, unpaginated; da Silva 1997, p. 
446). With the construction of the new Brazilian capital, 
Bras[iacute]lia, in 1960, several highways and railways were built, and 
during the 1970's and 1980's, investment programs along with generous 
government subsidies, tax incentives, and low-interest loans 
transformed the region to a new agricultural frontier (WWF-UK 2011b, p. 
2; WWF 2001, unpaginated; Ratter et al. 1997, pp. 227-228).
    In the last 15 years, soy production has doubled due to an 
increasing demand related to an increase in the consumption of meat 
(soy is used in the manufacturing of livestock feed), use in food, and 
biofuel (WWF 2011, unpaginated). In 1980, cattle in the Cerrado region 
numbered 48 million, and have certainly grown since then. In 1994, 3.9 
million ha (9.6 million ac) of soy were planted, and far more were 
planted with exotic grasses for pasture (Ratter et al. 1997, p. 228). 
Today, the Cerrado produces 70 percent of Brazil's farm output and 
constitutes 40 percent of the national cattle herd (Pearce 2011, 
unpaginated; WWF-UK 2011b, p. 2). The remaining Cerrado continues to be 
pressured by conversion for soy plantations and extensive cattle 
ranching. Additionally, the conversion to biofuel production is 
imminent, creating a market for the expansion and establishment of new 
areas for soy, caster beans, other oil-bearing plants, and sugar cane 
(WWF-UK 2011a, unpaginated; Carvalho et al. 2009, p. 1393; BLI 2008, 
unpaginated).
    Fire is frequently used to clear land or stimulate new growth in 
pastures. Farmers often burn at the end of the dry season when fuel is 
high and humidity low, resulting in extremely hot fires (Klink and 
Machado 2005, p. 708). Cerrado vegetation is resistant to fires, but 
frequent burnings cause destruction, affecting tree and shrub 
establishment, and resulting in a more herbaceous landscape (Klink and 
Machado 2005, pp. 709-710; Ratter et al. 1997, p. 224). It was 
estimated that in 2000, 67 percent of the area burned in Brazil 
occurred within the Cerrado (Klink and Machado 2005, p. 709). From May 
to September 2010, there were 60,000 fire outbreaks, a 350 percent 
increase over the same time period in 2009. Although some of this 
increase is likely due to the drought at that time, more can be 
attributed to deliberate burning to create farmland, aggravated by a 
legislative challenge to Brazil's Forest Code (See Factor D) (WWF 2010, 
unpaginated).
    More than 50 percent of the original Cerrado vegetation has been 
lost due to conversion to agriculture and pasture, although estimates 
range up to 80 percent, and the area currently continues to suffer high 
rates of habitat loss (Pearce 2011, unpaginated; WWF-UK 2011b, pp. 1-2; 
Carvalho et al. 2009, p. 1393; BLI 2008, unpaginated; Pinto et al. 
2007, p. 14; Klink and Machado 2005, p. 708; Marini and Garcia 2005, p. 
667; WWF 2001, unpaginated; da Silva 1997, p. 446, da Silva 1995, p. 
298). During 2002-2008, the demand for land to be put into production 
resulted in an annual deforestation rate of more than 14,200 km\2\ 
(5,483 mi\2\) (WWF-UK 2011b, p. 2). At this rate, the vegetation of the 
Cerrado region is disappearing faster than the Amazon rainforest 
(Pearce 2011, unpaginated; WWF-UK 2001, unpaginated; Klink and Machado 
2005, p. 708; Ratter et al. 1997, p. 228). If current rates continue, 
the remaining native habitat may be lost by 2030 (Marini and Garcia 
2005, p. 667).
Pantanal
    The Pantanal is a 140,000-km\2\ (54,054-mi\2\) seasonally flooded 
wetland interspersed with higher areas, not subject to inundation, 
covered with cerrado or seasonal forests (J[uacute]nior 2008, p. 133; 
J[uacute]nior et al. 2007, p. 127; Harris et al. 2005, p. 715; 
Mittermeier et al. 1990, p. 103). Since the 1700's, the Pantanal region 
has been subject to various economic activities, including mining, 
sugar plantations, agriculture, and cattle ranching (Harris et al. 
2006, p. 165). Although cattle ranching has occurred in this region for 
more than a century, transitions during the 1990's to more intense 
ranching methods led to the conversion of more forests to pasture and 
the introduction of nonnative grasses. Today, cattle ranching is the

[[Page 39970]]

predominant economic activity in this region and is the greatest threat 
to habitat loss in the Pantanal (Pizo et al. 2008, p. 793; Harris et 
al. 2006, pp. 165, 175-176; Harris et al. 2005, pp. 715-716, 718; Pinho 
and Nogueira 2003, p. 30; Seidl et al. 2001, p. 414; Guedes and Harper 
1995, p. 396; Mettermeier 1990, pp. 103, 107-108).
    Eighty percent of the land in the Pantanal is owned by large-ranch 
owners, some whose tracts exceed 1,000 km\2\ (386 mi\2\) (Seidl et al. 
2001, p. 414; Mettermeier et al. 1990, p. 103). Cattle ranchers use 
naturally occurring grasslands for grazing cattle, but these areas are 
subject to seasonal flooding. During the flooding season (January to 
June), the upland forests experience increased pressure from cattle. 
These upland forests are often removed and converted to cultivated 
pastures (J[uacute]nior et al. 2007, p. 127; Harris et al. 2006, p. 
165; Pinho and Nogueira 2003, p. 30; Seidl et al. 2001, p. 414; Johnson 
et al. 1997, p. 186). Clearing land to establish pasture is perceived 
as the economically optimal land use while land not producing beef is 
often perceived as unproductive (Seidl et al. 2001, pp. 414-415). 
Little of the vegetation in this region remains undisturbed due to 
cattle ranching and the associated burning of pastures for maintenance 
(Mittermeier et al. 1990, p. 103). Between 1990 and 2000, the annual 
deforestation rate was estimated at 0.46 percent. During the period 
2000-2004, the rate increased to 2.3 percent per year, an increase of 
five times compared to the previous 10-year period. If this rate is 
maintained, the original vegetation area of the Pantanal, including 
nesting trees for the hyacinth macaw, will be completely destroyed by 
approximately 2050 (Harris et al. 2006, pp. 169, 177).
    When clearing land for pastures, palm trees are often left as the 
cattle will feed on the palm nuts (Pinho and Nogueira 2003, p. 36). In 
fact, hyacinth macaws are known to occur near cattle ranches and feed 
off the palm nuts eliminated by the cattle (Juniper and Parr 1998, p. 
417; Guedes and Harper 1995, pp. 400-401; Collar et al. 1992, pp. 5, 
7). However, other trees, including potential nesting trees, are often 
removed (Snyder et al. 2000, p. 119). In addition to the direct removal 
of trees, other activities associated with cattle ranching, such as the 
introduction of exotic foraging grasses, grazing, and burning, are 
serious threats to the nesting trees of the hyacinth macaw 
(J[uacute]nior et al. 2007, p. 128; Harris et al. 2006, p. 175; Snyder 
et al. 2000, p. 119).
    As stated above, hyacinths in the Pantanal nest almost exclusively 
in cavities of the manduvi tree, as it is one of the few tree species 
that grow large enough to supply cavities that can accommodate the 
hyacinth's large size. Manduvis occur in forest patches and corridors 
that cover only 6 percent of the vegetative area of the Pantanal (Pizo 
et al. 2008, p. 793). Much of these patches and corridors are 
surrounded by seasonally flooded grasslands used as rangeland for 
cattle (Johnson et al. 1997, p. 186). When forests are cleared, the 
natural vegetation is replaced with exotic grasses (J[uacute]nior 2008, 
p. 136; Harris et al. 2005, p. 716). More than 40 percent of the 
forests and savanna habitats have already been altered by the 
introduction of exotic grasses (Harris et al. 2005, p. 716; Johnson et 
al. 1997, p. 187). Fire is a common method for renewing pastures, 
controlling weeds, and controlling pests (e.g., ticks); however, fires 
frequently become uncontrolled and are known to enter the patches and 
corridors of manduvi trees during the dry season (Harris et al. 2005, 
p. 716; Johnson et al. 1997, p. 186). Although fire can promote cavity 
formation in manduvi trees, frequent fires can also prevent trees from 
surviving to a size capable of providing suitable cavities and can 
cause a high rate of nesting tree loss (Guedes 1993 in Johnson et al. 
1997, p. 187). Guedes (1995 in J[uacute]nior et al. 2006, p. 185) noted 
that 5 percent of hyacinth macaw nests are lost each year to 
deforestation, fire, and storms.
    In addition to the direct removal of trees and the impact of fire 
on recruitment of manduvi trees, cattle themselves have impacted the 
density of manduvi seedlings in the Pantanal. Cattle forage on and 
trample manduvi seedlings, affecting the recruitment of this species to 
a size large enough to accommodate hyacinths (Pizo et al. 2008, p. 793; 
Johnson et al. 1997, p. 187; Mettermeier et al. 1990, p. 107). Only 
those manduvi trees 60 years old or older are capable of providing 
these cavities (Pizo et al. 2008, p. 792; J[uacute]nior et al. 2006, p. 
185). The minimum diameter at breast height (DBH) for trees to 
potentially contain a cavity suitable for hyacinth macaws is 50 cm (20 
in), while all manduvi trees greater than 100 cm (39 in) DBH contain 
suitable nest cavities. Data indicate a low recruitment in classes 
greater than 5 cm (2 in) DBH, a strong reduction in the occurrence of 
individuals greater than 50 cm (20 in) DBH, and very few individuals 
greater than 110 cm (43 in) DBH (J[uacute]nior et al. 2007, p. 128). 
Only 5 percent of the existing adult manduvi trees in south-central 
Pantanal contain suitable cavities for hyacinth macaws (Guedes 1993 in 
Johnson et al. 1997, p. 186). This suggests that potential nesting 
sites are rare and will become increasingly rare in the future 
(J[uacute]nior et al. 2007, p. 128).
Effects of Deforestation on the Hyacinth Macaw
    The hyacinth macaw is highly specialized in its diet and nest sites 
(Faria et al. 2008, p. 766; Guedes and Harper 1995, p. 400; Collar et 
al. 1992, p. 5). The loss of these tree species may pose a threat by 
creating a shortage of suitable nesting sites and increasing 
competition, and result in lowered recruitment and a reduction in 
population size (Lee 2010, pp. 2, 12; J[uacute]nior et al. 2007, p. 
128; Johnson et al. 1997, p. 188).
    The hyacinth macaw has an extremely strong and chiseled beak which 
allows it to feed on extremely hard palm nuts that few, if any, other 
species can eat (Guedes and Harper 1995, p. 400; Collar et al. 1992, p. 
5). Loss of these palm species, especially in Par[aacute] and the 
Cerrado region where food sources are threatened, could lead to reduced 
fitness, reduced reproduction, and extinction. For example, one of the 
major factors thought to have contributed to the critically endangered 
status of the Lear's macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) is the loss of its 
food source, licuri palm stands (Syagrus), to cattle grazing (Collar et 
al. 1992, p. 257).
    Lack of breeding cavities can be a limiting factor for cavity-
nesting parrot species (Pinho and Noguiera 2003, p. 30). Hyacinths can 
tolerate a certain degree of human disturbance at their breeding sites 
(Pinho and Noguiera 2003, p. 36); however, the number of usable 
cavities increases with the age of the trees in the forest (Newton 
1994, p. 266), and clearing land for agriculture and cattle ranching, 
cattle trampling and foraging, and burning of forest habitat result in 
the loss of mature trees with natural cavities of sufficient size and a 
reduction in recruitment of native species, which could eventually 
provide nesting cavities. A shortage of nest sites can threaten the 
persistence of the hyacinth macaw by constraining breeding density, 
resulting in lower recruitment and a gradual reduction in population 
size (J[uacute]nior et al. 2007, p. 128; Johnson et al. 1997, p. 188; 
Guedes and Harper 1995, p. 405; Newton 1994, p. 265). This may lead to 
long-term effects on the viability of the hyacinth macaw population, 
especially in Par[aacute] and the Pantanal where persistence of nesting 
trees is threatened (J[uacute]nior et al. 2007, p. 128; J[uacute]nior 
et al. 2006, p. 181).
    Habitat and feeding specializations are good predictors of the risk 
of

[[Page 39971]]

extinction of birds. The hyacinth macaw scores high in both feeding and 
nest site specialization (Pizo et al. 2008, pp. 794-795). Although a 
species may withstand the initial shock of deforestation, factors such 
as the lack of food resources and breeding sites may reduce the 
viability of the population and make them vulnerable to extinction 
(Sodhi et al. 2009, p. 517). Given the land-use trends across the range 
of the hyacinth macaw, the continued existence of food and nesting 
resources is a great concern.
Conservation Actions
    Brazil announced in 2009 a plan to cut deforestation rates by 80 
percent by 2020 with the help of international funding; Brazil's plan 
calls on foreign countries to find $20 billion U.S. dollars (USD) 
(Marengo et al. 2011, p. 8; Moukaddem 2011, unpaginated; Painter 2008, 
unpaginated). If Brazil's plan is implemented and the goal is met, 
deforestation in Brazil would be significantly reduced. Despite 
obstacles to overcome to reach this goal, including annual funding, 
deforestation fell by 80 percent in the past 6 years due to police 
raids and other tactics used to crack down on illegal deforesters 
(Barrionuevo 2012, unpaginated). However, the Brazilian Senate is 
currently debating reform to Brazil's Forest Code. We do not know the 
current status of the bill, but if the reform is passed, it would 
reduce the percentage of land a private landowner would be required to 
maintain as forest (See Factor D). The expectation of the bill being 
passed has already resulted in a spike in deforestation. If the bill is 
passed, it would undermine Brazil's commitment to reduce deforestation 
(Moukaddem 2011, unpaginated; WWF-UK 2011a, unpaginated).
    In Brazil, the Ministry of Environment and The Nature Conservancy 
have worked together to implement the Farmland Environmental Registry 
to curb illegal deforestation in the Amazon. Once all of the country's 
rural properties are registered in the system, Brazil will be able to 
more easily identify and track illegal deforestation through satellite 
monitoring and develop land use plans to create alternatives for 
farmers and ranchers, guaranteeing the protection of Amazon land. This 
plan helped Paragominas, a municipality in Par[aacute], be the first in 
Brazil to come off the government's blacklist of top Amazon 
deforesters. After 1 year, 92 percent of rural properties in 
Paragominas had been entered into the registry, and deforestation was 
cut by 90 percent. In response to this success, Par[aacute] launched 
its Green Municipalities Program in 2010. The purpose of this project 
is to eliminate illegal deforestation by 2014 across more than 77 
municipalities. The program aims to show how it is possible to develop 
a new model for an activity identified as a major cause of 
deforestation (Dias and Ramos 2012, unpaginated; Vale 2010, 
unpaginated). If these two programs continue to be implemented and show 
success like that experienced in Paragominas, it would contribute 
significantly to the reduction of deforestation not only in the Amazon, 
but throughout Brazil.
    Awareness of the urgency in protecting the biodiversity of the 
Cerrado biome is increasing (Klink and Machado 2005, p. 710). The 
Brazilian Ministry of the Environment's National Biodiversity Program 
and other government-financed institutes such as the Brazilian 
Environmental Institute, Center for Agriculture Research in the 
Cerrado, and the National Center for Genetic Resources and 
Biotechnology, are working together. Additionally, nongovernmental 
organizations such as Funda[ccedil]o Pr[oacute]-Natureza, Instituto 
Sociedade Popula[ccedil][atilde]o e Natureza, and World Wildlife Fund 
have provided valuable assessments and are pioneering work in 
establishing extractive reserves (Ratter et al. 1997, pp. 228-229). 
Other organizations are working to increase the area of Federal 
Conservation Units; currently they represent only 1.5 percent of the 
biome (Ratter et al. 1997, p. 229). Teams from the University of 
Brasilia, Center for Agriculture Research in the Cerrado, and the Royal 
Botanic Garden Edinburgh have combined to form the Conservation and 
Management of the Biodiversity of the Cerrado Biome initiative. The aim 
is to survey floristic patterns to determine representative and 
biodiversity hot spots (Ratter et al. 1997, p. 229).
    A network of nongovernmental organizations, Rede Cerrado, has been 
established to promote local sustainable-use practices for natural 
resources (Klink and Machado 2005, p. 710). Rede Cerrado provided the 
Brazilian Ministry of the Environment recommendations for urgent 
actions for the conservation of the Cerrado. As a result, a 
conservation program, Program Cerrado Sustentavel, was established to 
integrate actions for conservation in regions where agropastoral 
activities were especially intense and damaging (Klink and Machado 
2005, p. 710). Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, and 
World Wildlife Fund have worked to promote alternative economic 
activities, such as ecotourism, sustainable use of fauna and flora, and 
medicinal plants, to support the livelihoods of local communities 
(Klink and Machado 2005, p. 710). Although these programs demonstrate 
an urgency and effort in protecting the Cerrado, we have no details on 
the specific work or accomplishments of these programs, or how they 
would affect, or have affected, the hyacinth macaw and its habitat.
    The Brazilian Government, under its Action Plan for the Prevention 
and Control of Deforestation and Burning in the Cerrado--Conservation 
and Development (2010), committed to recuperating at least 8 million ha 
(20 million ac) of degraded pasture by the year 2010. It also plans to 
expand the areas under protection in the Cerrado to 2.1 million ha (5 
million ac) (WWF-UK 2011b, p. 4). However, we do not have details on 
the success of the action plan or the progress on expanding protected 
areas.
    In 1990, the Hyacinth Macaw Project (Projecto Arara Azul) began 
with support from the University for the Development of the State (Mato 
Grosso do Sul) and the Pantanal Region (Brouwer 2004, unpaginated; 
Guedes 2004, p. 28; Pittman 1999, p. 39). This program works with local 
landowners, communities, and tourists to monitor the hyacinth macaw, 
study the biology of this species, manage the population, and promote 
its conservation and ensure their protection in the Pantanal 
(J[uacute]nior 2008, p. 135; Harris et al. 2005, p. 719; Brouwer 2004, 
unpaginated; Guedes 2004, p. 281). Studies have addressed feeding, 
reproduction, competition, habitat survival, chick mortality, behavior, 
nests, predation, movement, and threats contributing to the reduction 
in the wild population (Guedes 2004, p. 281). Because there are not 
enough natural nesting sites in this region, the Hyacinth Macaw Project 
began installing artificial nest boxes; more than 180 have been 
installed (Guedes 2004, p. 281). Additionally, wood boards are used to 
make cavity openings too small for predators, while still allowing 
hyacinths to enter (Brouwer 2004, unpaginated).
    In nests with a history of unsuccessful breeding, the Hyacinth 
Macaw Project has also implemented chick management, with the approval 
of the Committee for Hyacinth Macaw Conservation coordinated by IBAMA. 
Hyacinth macaw eggs are replaced with chicken eggs and the hyacinth 
eggs are incubated in a field laboratory. After hatching, chicks are 
fed for a few days, and then reintroduced to the original nest or to 
another nest with a chick of the same age. This began to increase the 
number of chicks that survived and fledged each year (Brouwer 2004, 
unpaginated; Guedes 2004, p. 281). Awareness has also been raised with

[[Page 39972]]

local cattle ranchers. Attitudes have begun to shift, and ranchers are 
proud of having macaw nests on the property. Local inhabitants also 
served as project collaborators (Guedes 2004, p. 282). This shift in 
attitude has also diminished the threat of illegal trade in the 
Hyacinth Macaw Project area (See Factor B) (Brouwer 2004, unpaginated).
    The activities of the Hyacinth Macaw Project have certainly 
contributed to the increase of the hyacinth population in the Pantanal 
since the 1990's (Harris et al. 2005, p. 719). Nest boxes can have a 
marked effect on breeding numbers of many species on a local scale 
(Newton 1994, p. 274), and having local cattle ranchers appreciate the 
presence of the hyacinth macaw on their land helps diminish the effects 
of habitat destruction and illegal trade. However, the Hyacinth Macaw 
Project area does not encompass the entire Pantanal region. Although 
active management (installation of artificial nest boxes and chick 
management) has contributed to the increase in the hyacinth population, 
and farmers have begun to protect hyacinth macaws on their property, 
the Pantanal is still threatened with the expansion of cattle-ranching. 
The recruitment (entry of new trees into a population) of the manduvi 
tree is severely reduced and is expected to become increasingly rare in 
the future, due to ongoing damage caused by grazing and trampling of 
cattle as well as the burning of pastures for maintenance. If this 
continues, the hyacinth's preferred natural cavities will be severely 
limited and the species will completely rely on the installation of 
artificial nest boxes, which is currently limited to the Hyacinth Macaw 
Project area.
Summary of Factor A
    Although the hyacinth macaw is found is three different biomes of 
Brazil, they are all threatened with the expansion of agriculture, 
mainly soy and cattle ranching. Par[aacute] has long been known as the 
epicenter of illegal deforestation and has one of the highest 
deforestation rates of the Amazon. Rapid expansion of cattle ranching 
is leading to the conversion of floodplain forests, threatening the 
food and nesting resources of the hyacinth macaw. If current trends in 
agricultural expansion continue, the southeastern tributaries of the 
Amazon River (Tapaj[oacute]s and Xingu) will lose at least two-thirds 
of their forest cover by 2050. The Cerrado region is disappearing 
faster than the Amazon forest due to soy cultivation and cattle 
ranching. If current rates continue, the remaining native vegetation 
could be lost by 2030. Although the hyacinth mainly nests in rock 
crevices in this region, the palm species the hyacinth macaw utilizes 
as food sources are threatened by direct clearing of land and the 
reduced recruitment of native forests by the grazing and trampling of 
cattle and the burning of pastures for maintenance.
    The greatest threat to the habitat of the Pantanal is the expansion 
of cattle ranching. If current rates of deforestation continue, the 
original vegetation could be lost by approximately 2050. In this 
region, the palm species that the hyacinths utilize as food sources are 
usually left as cattle also feed on the palm nuts. However, the manduvi 
trees, which contain the majority of hyacinth nests, are already 
limited. Cattle affect the recruitment of native seedlings through 
grazing and trampling. Fire, for pasture maintenance or clearing, has 
been known to enter stands of manduvi trees during the dry season. Five 
percent of hyacinth macaw nests are lost each year to deforestation, 
fire, and storms, and there is evidence of severely reduced recruitment 
of manduvi trees, suggesting that not only are these nesting trees 
scarce now, but they are likely to become increasingly scarce in the 
future.
    As discussed above, the regions where the hyacinth macaw occurs 
have suffered high rates of deforestation. The growing demand for soy 
and Brazil's plan to increase their export of beef suggest that the 
current trends are likely to continue and may even increase. There are 
conservation programs that aim to curb the deforestation rate. If these 
programs are implemented and goals are reached, deforestation in Brazil 
could be significantly reduced; however, the effects of these programs 
are yet to be seen. The Hyacinth Macaw Project has contributed much to 
the knowledge of the biology of the hyacinth macaw. Management, such as 
the installation of artificial nests and chick management have 
contributed to the increased hyacinth population in the Pantanal. 
However, the Pantanal population, as well as the Par[aacute] and 
Cerrado populations, continues to be threatened by the loss of 
essential food and nesting resources. Given the specialized nature of 
the hyacinth macaw, the loss of these resources could have a 
particularly devastating effect on the viability of the population. 
Therefore, based on the best available scientific and commercial 
information, we find that the present or threatened destruction, 
modification, or curtailment of habitat or range is a threat to the 
hyacinth macaw now and in the future.

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    For centuries, parrots and macaws have been trapped for the pet 
bird trade and captured for use of their feathers in local handicrafts 
(Guedes 2004, p. 279; Snyder et al. 2000, pp. 98-99). Additionally, 
hunting of parrots is widespread and large species of macaws have been 
known to be targeted by hunters as a food source (Tobias or Brightsmith 
2007, p. 134). It is likely that hunting and habitat destruction were 
the main causes of the hyacinth macaw's decline until the 1960's and 
early 1970's. At that time, a major increase in international trade in 
live macaws may have had a greater effect on the decline of the species 
than either habitat loss or hunting (Munn et al. 1989, p. 412).
    Trade can have a particularly devastating effect on parrot species 
given their long life span, low reproductive rate, and slow recovery 
from harvesting pressures (Lee 2010, p. 3; Thiollay 2005, p. 1121; 
Wright et al. 2001, p. 711; Munn et al. 1989, p. 410). Because of the 
difficulty in keeping young birds alive, adults are often the main 
target for trade; as this practice removes reproductive individuals, 
the population is depleted more rapidly (Collar et al. 1992a, p. 6). 
Certain trapping methods can also lead to rapid extirpation of 
extremely site-faithful species, like the hyacinth macaw (Collar et al. 
1992a, p. 7). Additionally, once a species becomes rare in the wild, 
demand and price often increase, 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 USD are 
more likely to be imported illegally, and higher prices often drive 
poaching rates (Wright et al. 2001, p. 718). The hyacinth macaw is a 
larger and more expensive species; prices may reach over $12,000 USD 
(Basile 2009, p. 4). Harvesting pressure can cause smaller populations 
than habitat degradation where some level of reproduction could be 
supported (Wright et al. 2001, p. 718).
    In 1981, the hyacinth macaw was listed in Appendix II of the 
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna 
and Flora (CITES). CITES is an international agreement between 
governments to ensure that the international trade of CITES-listed 
plant and animal species does not threaten species' survival in the 
wild. There are currently 175 CITES Parties (member countries or 
signatories

[[Page 39973]]

to the Convention). Under this treaty, CITES Parties regulate the 
import, export, and reexport of specimens, parts, and products of 
CITES-listed plant and animal species. 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.
    In October 1987, the hyacinth macaw was uplisted to Appendix I of 
CITES. 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 generally 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 
that the specimen will not be used 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)).
    Based on CITES trade data obtained from United Nations Environment 
Programme--World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC) CITES Trade 
Database, from October 1987 through 2010, the time the hyacinth macaw 
was uplisted to CITES Appendix I, 2,092 specimens of this species were 
reported in international trade: 1,887 live birds, 116 feathers, 82 
scientific specimens, 2 bodies, 1 skin piece, and 4 unspecified 
specimens, plus an additional 124 milliliters, 2 grams, and 49 flasks 
of scientific specimens. In analyzing these reported data, several 
records appear to be overcounts due to slight differences in the manner 
in which the importing and exporting countries reported their trade, 
and it is likely that the actual number of specimens of hyacinth macaws 
reported in international trade to UNEP-WCMC from 1987 through 2010 was 
1,873, including 1,669 live birds, 115 feathers, 82 scientific 
specimens, 2 bodies, 1 skin piece, and 4 unspecified specimens, plus an 
additional 124 milliliters, 2 grams, and 49 flasks of scientific 
specimens. Of these specimens, 86 (4.6 percent) were exported from 
Bolivia, Brazil, or Paraguay (the range countries of the species). With 
the information given in the UNEP-WCMC database, from 1987 through 
2010, only 24 of the 1,669 live hyacinth macaws reported in trade were 
reported as wild-sourced, 1,537 were reported as captive bred or 
captive born, 35 were reported as pre-Convention, and 73 were reported 
with the source as unknown.
    Through Resolution Conf. 8.4 (Rev. CoP15), the Parties to CITES 
adopted a process, termed the National Legislation Project, to evaluate 
whether Parties have adequate domestic legislation to successfully 
implement the Treaty (CITES 2010b, pp. 1-5). In reviewing a country's 
national legislation, the CITES Secretariat evaluates factors such as 
whether a Party's domestic laws designate the responsible Scientific 
and Management Authorities, prohibit trade contrary to the requirements 
of the Convention, have penalty provisions in place for illegal trade, 
and provide for seizure of specimens that are illegally traded or 
possessed. The Brazilian Government was determined to be in Category 1, 
which means they meet all the requirements to implement CITES. Bolivia 
and Paraguay were determined to be in Category 2, meaning legislation 
meets some but not all the requirements to implement CITES; however, 
both countries have submitted a CITES Legislation Plan, and Bolivia has 
also submitted draft legislation to the Secretariat for comments 
(www.cites.org, SC59 Document 11, Annex p. 1). Generally this means 
that Bolivia and Paraguay have not completed all the requirements to 
effectively implement CITES. However, since the hyacinth macaw is 
listed as an Appendix-I species under CITES, legal commercial 
international trade is very limited. Because very few of the 1,669 live 
hyacinth macaws reported in trade are wild-sourced (less than 2 
percent), we believe that international trade controlled via valid 
CITES permits is not a threat to the species. In addition, Bolivia and 
Paraguay's Category 2 status under the National Legislation Project 
does not appear to be impacting the hyacinth macaw.
    The capture of hyacinth macaws is illegal in Brazil, Bolivia, and 
Paraguay (Munn et al. 1989, p. 415) (See Factor D); however, despite 
this and CITES protection, bird catchers are known to have illegally 
harvested entire populations of hyacinths for both national and 
international trade (Munn et al. 1989, pp. 412-413), devastating many 
large populations and proving to be the cause of substantial declines 
in hyacinth macaws in parts of Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay (Munn et 
al. 1989, p. 410). In the 1970's and 1980's, substantial trade in 
hyacinth macaws was reported, but actual trade was likely significantly 
greater given the amount of smuggling, routing of birds through 
countries not parties to CITES, and internal consumption in South 
America (Collar et al. 1992a, p. 6; Munn et al. 1989, pp. 412-413). One 
report stated that 2,500 hyacinths were flown out of Bah[iacute]a 
Negra, Paraguay from 1983 through 1984, (BLI 2011 unpaginated). From 
1987 through 1988, 700 hyacinths were reportedly trapped and traded 
(Munn et al. 1989, p. 416). In the late 1980's and early 1990's, 
reports of hyacinth trapping included one trapper that worked an area 
for 3 years removing 200-300 wild hyacinths a month during certain 
seasons and another trapper who caught 1,000 hyacinths in 1 year and 
knew of other teams operating at similar levels (Silva (1989a) and 
Smith (1991c) in Collar et al. 1992a, p. 6). Smith (1991c, in Collar et 
al. 1992a, p. 6) estimated a minimum of 10,000 hyacinths were taken 
from the wild in the 1980's.
    Trade in parrots was particularly high in the 1980's due to a huge 
demand from developed countries, including the United States, which was 
the main consumer of parrot species at that time (Rosales et al. 2007, 
pp. 85, 94; Best et al. 1995, p. 234). In the years following the 
enactment of the Wild Bird Conservation Act in 1992 (WBCA; see Factor 
D), 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). Although 
illegal trapping for the pet trade occurred at high levels during the 
1980's, there is no information to suggest that illegal trapping for 
the pet trade is currently occurring at levels that are affecting the 
populations of the hyacinth macaw in its 3 regions.
    In Par[aacute], Indians aggressively defend their land and macaws 
from outsiders, preventing traders from operating successfully 
(Zimmerman et al. 2001, p. 18; Munn et al. 1989, p. 415). Munn et al. 
(1989, p. 414) noted that a well-organized professional bird-trading 
ring was a threat to the species in the Gerais region; however, the 
attitudes of the ranchers in this region were beginning to shift in 
favor of the macaw and against trappers on their property (Collar et 
al. 1992a, p. 8; Munn et al. 1989, p. 415). Thousands of hyacinths were 
trapped in the Pantanal for the pet trade during the 1980's, stripping 
many areas of this species (Antas et al. 2006, pp. 128-129; Munn et al. 
1989, p. 414). However, ranch owners in the Pantanal were unhappy with 
the decline of hyacinth macaws on their land and began to deny bird 
catchers access to their land (Collar et al. 1992a, p. 8;

[[Page 39974]]

Munn et al. 1989, p. 415). The population of hyacinths in this region 
has continued to increase since the 1990's (BLI 2011, unpaginated; 
Antas et al. 2006, p. 128; Pinho and Nogueira 2003, p. 30).
    We found little information on illegal trade of this species in 
international markets. One study found that illegal pet trade in 
Bolivia continues to involve CITES-listed species; the authors 
speculated that similar problems exist in Peru and Brazil (Herrera and 
Hennessey 2007, p. 298). In that same study, 11 hyacinths were found 
for sale in a Santa Cruz market from 2004 to 2007 (10 in 2004 and 1 in 
2006) (Herrera and Hennessey 2009, pp. 233-234). Larger species, like 
the hyacinth, were frequently sold for transport outside of the 
country, mostly to Peru, Chile, and Brazil (Herrera and Hennessey 2009, 
pp. 233-234). We found no other data on the presence of hyacinths in 
illegal trade. During a study conducted from 2007 to 2008, no hyacinth 
macaws were recorded in 20 surveyed Peruvian wildlife markets, 
(Gasta[ntilde]aga et al. 2010, pp. 2, 9-10).
    It is possible, given the high price of hyacinth macaws that 
illegal domestic trade is occurring; however, we found no information 
to support this. Certainly, trapping for trade has decreased 
significantly from levels reported in the 1980's. Additionally, we 
found no information identifying trade as a current threat to the 
hyacinth macaw. In the absence of data indicating otherwise, we find 
that illegal domestic and international trade is not a threat to the 
hyacinth macaw.
    Hunting of hyacinths is illegal in Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay 
(Munn et al. 1989, p. 415) (See Factor D); however, hyacinths in 
Par[aacute] are most threatened by subsistence hunters and the feather 
trade by some Indian groups (Brouwer 2004, unpaginated; Munn et al. 
1989, p. 414). Because the hyacinth is the largest species of macaw, it 
may be targeted by subsistence hunters, especially by settlers along 
roadways (Collar et al. 1992a, p. 7). Additionally, increased 
commercial sale of feather art by Kayapo Indians of Gorotire may be of 
concern given that 10 hyacinths are required to make a single headdress 
(Collar et al. 1992a, p. 7). The Gerais region is poor and animal 
protein, such as cattle, is not as abundant as in other regions; 
therefore, meat of any kind, including macaws, is sought as a protein 
source (Collar et al. 1992a, p. 7; Munn et al. 1989, p. 414).
    Because the populations of hyacinth macaws that occur in 
Par[aacute] and the Gerais region are small, the removal of any 
individuals from the population would have a negative effect on 
reproduction and the ability of the species to recover. Hunting, for 
either meat or the sale of feather art, combined with habitat 
conversion, will continue to contribute to the decline of the hyacinth 
macaw in these regions. Hyacinths in the Pantanal are not hunted for 
meat or feathers (Munn et al. 1989, p. 413); therefore, these 
activities do not pose a threat to hyacinths in this region.
Summary of Factor B
    Although trapping for the pet bird trade may have occurred in large 
numbers, especially in the 1980's, and was the cause of a drastic 
decline in hyacinth macaws, we have no information that trade is a 
current threat to the hyacinth macaw. Based on the WCMC Trade Database, 
less than 2 percent of the live hyacinth macaws reported in trade from 
1987 to 2010 were wild-sourced. Therefore, we believe that 
international trade controlled via valid CITES permits is not a threat 
to this species. We found no information suggesting that illegal 
trapping and trade are current threats to the hyacinth macaw. In each 
of the regions of its range, the hyacinths are defended by the owners 
of the land (e.g., Indians in Par[aacute] and cattle ranchers in Gerais 
and Pantanal). Recent studies of wildlife markets in Bolivia and Peru 
found a very limited number of hyacinths for sale; the largest 
occurrence was in 2004 and consisted of only 10 hyacinth macaws. 
Furthermore, the population in the Pantanal has been increasing since 
the 1990's, suggesting that trapping is either no longer occurring or 
is not occurring such that it is impacting the hyacinth macaw at the 
population level in the wild.
    Population and threats data is lacking for the hyacinth in the 
Par[aacute] and Gerais regions. We did not find any information 
indicating that trapping for the pet trade was a threat in these 
regions, but we found some information indicating that the hunting of 
hyacinths as a source of protein and for feathers to be used in local 
handicrafts may remain as threats. Although we do not have information 
on the numbers of macaws taken for these purposes, given the small 
populations in these two regions, any loss of potentially reproducing 
individuals could have a devastating effect on the ability of the 
populations to increase. Therefore, we find that hunting is a threat to 
the hyacinth macaw in the Par[aacute] and Gerais regions. In addition, 
we are not aware of any information currently available that indicates 
the use of this species for any scientific or educational purpose. 
Based on the best available scientific and commercial information, we 
find that overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes is a threat to the hyacinth macaw in the 
Par[aacute] and Gerais regions now and in the future.

C. Disease or Predation

    Infectious diseases can pose many direct threats to individual 
birds, as well as entire flocks (Abramson et al. 1995, p. 287). Most of 
the available research on diseases in psittacines, however, addresses 
captive-held birds, while information on the health of psittacines, 
including the hyacinth macaw, in the wild is scarce (Allgayer et al. 
2009, pp. 972-973; Raso et al. 2006, p. 236). Captive-held birds may 
have a higher incidence of disease than wild birds due to their 
exposure to sick birds, unsanitary conditions, and improper husbandry 
methods; therefore, it is not always clear how prevalent diseases may 
be in the wild and how they affect wild populations of birds. Some of 
the common diseases known in macaws are discussed below.
Pacheco's Parrot Disease
    Pacheco's parrot disease is a systemic disease caused by a 
psittacid herpesvirus (PsHV-1) (Tomaszewski et al. 2006, p. 536; 
Abramson et al. 1995, p. 293; Panigrahy and Grumbles 1984, pp. 808, 
811). It is an acute, rapidly fatal disease of parrots, and sudden 
death is sometimes the only sign of the disease; however, in some cases 
birds may show symptoms and may recover to become carriers (Tomaszewski 
et al. 2006, p. 536; Abramson et al. 1995, p. 293; Panigrahy and 
Grumbles 1984, p. 811). The outcome of the infection depends upon which 
of the four genotypes of PsHV-1 the individual is infected with, the 
species infected, and other unknown factors. For example, only genotype 
4 is known to cause mortality in macaws (Tomaszewski et al. 2006, p. 
536).
    If clinical signs of Pacheco's disease are exhibited, they may 
include anorexia, depression, regurgitation, diarrhea, nasal discharge, 
central nervous system signs, and conjunctivitis (Abramson et al. 1995, 
p. 293; Panigrahy and Grumbles 1984, pp. 809-810). Death may occur 8 
hours to 6 days after the onset of signs (Panigrahy and Grumbles 1984, 
p. 810). Potential sources may be an unapparent carrier or a recovered 
bird that is shedding the virus in its droppings (Tomaszewski et al. 
2006, p. 536; Panigrahy and Grumbles 1984, p. 811).
    Outbreaks of Pacheco's disease have resulted in massive die offs of 
captive parrots and is known to have caused

[[Page 39975]]

high mortality in endangered species of parrots in the United States 
(Tomaszewski et al. 2006, p. 536; Panigrahy and Grumbles 1984, p. 808). 
This disease and the presence of PsHV-1 have been known in captive and 
wild-caught hyacinth macaws (Tomaszewski et al. 2006, pp. 538, 540, 
543; Panigrahy and Grumbles 1984, p. 809); however, we found no 
information indicating that this disease is impacting the hyacinth 
macaw at the population level in the wild.
Psittacosis
    Psittacosis (Chlamydiosis), also known as parrot fever, is an 
infectious disease caused by the bacteria Chlamydophila psittaci. An 
estimated 1 percent of all birds in the wild are infected and act as 
carriers (Jones 2007, unpaginated). C. psittaci is transmitted through 
carriers who often show no signs of the disease. It is often spread 
through the inhaling of the organism from dried feces (Michigan 
Department of Agriculture 2002, p. 1), but may also pass orally from 
adults to nestlings when feeding via regurgitation or from the adult 
male to the adult female when feeding during incubation (Raso et al. 
2006, p. 239). Clinical signs of psittacosis may include ruffled 
feathers, depression, anorexia, respiratory problems, dehydration, 
diarrhea, weight loss, conjunctivitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, and even 
death (Raso et al. 2006, pp. 235-236; Michigan Department of 
Agriculture 2002, p. 1). This disease can be treated with a 
tetracycline antibiotic (Michigan Department of Agriculture 2002, p. 
1).
    Wild birds living in a stable environment appear to have few 
complications from this disease and may not show clinical signs. This 
may be explained by a naturally occurring balanced host-parasite 
relationship (Jones 2007, unpaginated; Raso et al. 2006, pp. 236, 239-
240). However, stress, including removal from its natural habitat or 
disturbance to its natural habitat or population, may disturb the host-
parasite balance and the latency of C. psittaci may be changed, 
invoking the disease (Jones 2007, unpaginated; Raso et al. 2006, pp. 
236, 239-240). There are few reports of mortality from C. psittaci in 
natural habitats, but recently captured wild birds may experience high 
mortality rates due to stress stemming from inadequate hygiene 
conditions, feeding, and overpopulation. In captivity, birds are more 
susceptible to infection, and latent infections become more apparent 
(Raso et al. 2006, pp. 239-240).
    Hyacinth macaw nestlings stay in the nest longer than other parrot 
species and are, therefore, more susceptible to the disease due to 
transmission of the disease during feeding and through dried feces 
(Raso et al. 2006, p. 239). In a study conducted on wild hyacinth 
nestlings in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, C. psittaci 
was detected in some nestlings; however, no evidence of clinical 
disease or death due to psittacosis was found. We found no information 
indicating this disease is impacting the hyacinth macaw at the 
population level in the wild.
Papillomatosis
    Papillomas are pink to white fleshy or granular growths, or 
lesions, commonly encountered in macaw species (Abramson et al. 1995, 
pp. 297-298). The cause of this disease is thought to be an infectious 
agent; however, this theory has not been confirmed. The onset of this 
disease may occur following major stressors, such as transporting, 
Pacheco's disease, or psittacosis (Abramson et al. 1995, p. 297).
    Most of the birds with papillomas exhibit no clinical signs, 
however, cloacal lesions may cause straining, malodorous droppings, 
reduced fertility, secondary bacterial infections, bloody droppings, or 
anemia. Oral lesions may cause wheezing, secondary bacterial 
infections, sinusitis, excessive salivation, and difficulty swallowing. 
Lesions in the esophagus, crop, or proventriculus (the gizzard) may 
experience vomiting and weight loss (Abramson et al. 1995, pp. 297-
298). Although this disease is common in macaw species, it has not been 
documented in the hyacinth macaw (Abramson et al. 1995, p. 297).
Proventricular Dilatation Disease
    Proventricular dilatation disease (PDD), also known as avian 
bornavirus (ABV) or macaw wasting disease, is a serious disease 
reported to infect psittacines. Macaws are among those commonly 
affected by PPD (Abramson et al. 1995, p. 288), although it is a fatal 
disease that poses a serious threat to all domesticated and wild 
parrots worldwide, particularly those with very small populations 
(Kistler et al. 2008, p. 1; Abramson et al. 1995, p. 288). This 
contagious disease causes damage to the nerves of the upper digestive 
tract, so that food digestion and absorption are negatively affected. 
The disease has a 100-percent mortality rate in affected birds, 
although the exact manner of transmission between birds is unclear. In 
2008, researchers discovered a genetically diverse set of novel ABVs 
that are thought to be the cause (Kistler et al. 2008, p. 1). The 
researchers developed diagnostic tests, methods of treating or 
preventing bornavirus infection, and methods for screening for the 
anti-bornaviral compounds (Kistler et al. 2008, pp. 1-15). We found no 
information on this disease in hyacinth macaws.
Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease
    Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) is a common viral 
disease that has been documented in more than 60 psittacine species, 
but all psittacines should be regarded as potentially susceptible 
(Rahaus et al. 2008, p. 53; Abramson et al. 1995, p. 296). The 
causative agent is a virus belonging to the genus Circovirus (Rahaus et 
al. 2008, p. 53). This viral disease, which originated in Australia, 
affects both wild and captive birds, causing chronic infections 
resulting in either feather loss or deformities of the beak and 
feathers (Rahaus et al. 2008, p. 53; Cameron 2007, p. 82). PBFD causes 
immunodeficiency and affects organs such as the liver and brain, and 
the immune system. Suppression of the immune system can result in 
secondary infections due to other viruses, bacteria, or fungi. The 
disease can occur without obvious signs (de Kloet and de Kloet 2004, p. 
2,394). Birds usually become infected in the nest by ingesting or 
inhaling viral particles. Infected birds develop immunity, die within a 
couple of weeks, or become chronically infected. No vaccine exists to 
immunize populations (Cameron 2007, p. 82). We found no information on 
this disease in hyacinth macaws.
    Although there are many diseases that could negatively affect 
macaws, including the hyacinth macaw, in captivity and in the wild, we 
are unaware of any information indicating that any of those diseases 
are impacting the hyacinth macaw at a level that may affect the status 
of the species as a whole and to the extent that it is considered a 
threat to the species.
Predation
    In a study conducted in the Brazilian Pantanal from 2002 through 
2005, researchers identified several predators of hyacinth macaw eggs. 
These predators included toco toucans (Ramphastos toco), purplish jays 
(Cyanocorax cyanomelas), white-eared opossums (Didelphis albiventris), 
and coatis (Nasua nasua). Of 582 eggs monitored over 3 years, 23.7 
percent (approximately 138) were lost to predators. The toco toucan was 
the main predator, responsible for 12.4 percent of the eggs lost and 
53.5 percent of the eggs lost annually (Pizo et al. 2008, p. 795). 
Although most predators leave some

[[Page 39976]]

sort of evidence behind, toco toucans are able to swallow hyacinth 
macaw eggs whole, leaving no evidence behind. This may lead to an 
underestimate of nest predation by toucans (Pizo et al. 2008, p. 793). 
Toco toucans may also take over nest holes occupied by hyacinth macaws, 
killing nestlings.
    The loss of eggs, nestlings, and adults can have a direct impact on 
the recruitment of hyacinth macaws and the ability of a population to 
increase. Despite the information on lost eggs in the Pantanal due to 
predation, most notably by the toco toucan, this population has been 
increasing, suggesting that predation is not occurring at a level that 
is affecting the status of the population. We found no information on 
potential predators or information indicating that predation may be a 
threat in the other parts of the hyacinth macaw's range. Therefore, we 
find that predation is not impacting the hyacinth macaw at a level that 
may affect the status of the species as a whole and to the extent that 
it is considered a threat to the species.
Summary of Factor C
    Although there are many diseases that could affect the hyacinth 
macaw, we found no evidence of adverse impacts to the species such that 
it rises to the level of a threat. Predation is a normal occurrence in 
wild populations, and there is information indicating that hyacinth 
eggs are lost due to predation by toco toucans as well as other 
predators; however, we found no information indicating that this is 
occurring such that it rises to the level of a threat to the hyacinth 
macaw. As a result, we find that disease and predation are not threats 
to the hyacinth macaw in any portion of its range now or in the future.

D. Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

National Laws
    The hyacinth macaw is protected under Brazilian law (Snyder et al. 
2000, p. 119; Stattersfield and Capper 1992, p. 257). Article 225 of 
the Brazilian Constitution (Title VIII, Chapter VI, 1988) states the 
right to an ecologically balanced environment for all people, including 
future generations, and gives the federal, state, and municipality 
governments the responsibility of protecting the environment and the 
fauna and flora of Brazil (Michigan State University, College of Law 
2012, unpaginated). Wildlife species and their nests, shelters, and 
breeding grounds are protected according to Law No. 5197/1967. This law 
prohibits the hunting and trade of animal species without 
authorization. Hunting and trade are punishable by imprisonment of 2-5 
years. Article 35 of this law also requires that textbooks include text 
on the protection of wildlife, primary and middle school educational 
programs include 2 hours per year on the matter, and radio and 
television programs include 5 minutes per week on wildlife protection. 
The hyacinth macaw is also listed under the Official List of Brazilian 
Endangered Animal Species (Order No. 1.522/1989). As described under 
Factor B, hunting and trade of hyacinth macaws has decreased 
significantly since the 1980's. Brazil's campaigns to protect wildlife 
and other outreach programs, which have contributed to the shift in 
attitudes, have contributed to this decline. The hyacinth is still 
threatened with some hunting in parts of its range, but given the 
drastic declines in both trade and hunting since the 1980's, these laws 
may be contributing to the protection of the hyacinth macaw. However, 
as discussed under Factor A, the food and nesting resources of the 
hyacinth macaw are threatened by deforestation for agriculture and 
cattle ranching. Deforestation and programs that encourage the 
expansion of economic activities, and the subsequent conversion of 
land, conflicts with the stated priority for protection (Seidl et al. 
2001, p. 414); therefore, these laws do not appear to provide adequate 
protection to the habitat of the hyacinth macaw.
    In 1998, Brazil passed the Environmental Crimes Law (Law No. 9605/
98). Section I of this law details crimes against wild fauna, which 
include: The killing, harassment, hunting, capturing, or use of any 
fauna species without authorization (Clayton 2011, p. 4; UNEP, n.d., 
unpaginated). Additionally, except for the State of Rio Grande do Sul, 
commercial, sport, and recreational hunting are prohibited in Brazil. 
Penalties include a jail sentence of 6 months to 1 year, and/or a fine; 
the penalty is increased by half if the crime is committed under 
certain circumstances, including against rare species or those 
considered endangered, or within a protected area. However, it is not 
considered a crime to kill an animal when it is to satisfy hunger; to 
protect agriculture, orchards, and herds if authorized; or if the 
animal has been characterized as dangerous. This law also protects 
against other crimes involving the fauna species of Brazil. With 
respect to bird species, this law prohibits inhibiting reproduction 
without authorization; modifying or destroying nests or shelters; 
selling, offering, exporting, purchasing, keeping, utilizing, or 
transporting eggs, as well as products derived from fauna species 
without authorization; and introducing species into the country without 
license. Although this law provides protection to the fauna species of 
Brazil, it is more permissive than the prior law, the Fauna Protection 
Act (Law No. 5.197/1967), which provided more severe punishments 
(Clayton 2011, p. 4). We found that the loss of nesting trees in 
Par[aacute] and the Pantanal and hunting in the Par[aacute] and Cerrado 
regions were threats to the hyacinth macaw (Factors A and B); 
therefore, it appears that this regulation does not adequately protect 
this species or its nests.
    Section II of the Environmental Crimes Law details the crimes 
against flora, which include the destruction and damaging of forest 
reserves; cutting trees in forest reserves, causing fire in forests; 
extracting minerals from public forests or reserves without 
authorization; receipt of wood or vegetable products for commercial or 
industrial purposes without requesting a copy of the supplier's 
license; polluting the environment at levels that may cause damage to 
the health of human beings, or death of animals or significant 
destruction of plants; and research or extraction of mineral resources 
without authorization. Penalties vary according to the crime and may be 
increased under certain circumstances; for example, the penalty may be 
increased by one sixth to one third if the crime results in a decrease 
of natural waters, soil erosion, or modification of climatic regime 
(Clayton 2011, p. 5; UNEP, n.d., unpaginated). As described under 
Factor A, we found forest destruction and the use of fire to clear land 
and maintain pastures were threats to the habitat of the hyacinth 
macaw; therefore, it appears that this regulation does not adequately 
protect native habitat.
    Brazil's Forest Code, passed in 1965, is a central piece in the 
nation's environmental legislation (Barrionuevo 2012, unpaginated). It 
requires landowners in the Amazon to maintain 80 percent of their land 
in a natural state as a legal reserve; in the rest of Brazil, including 
the Cerrado and Pantanal, only 20 percent is required to be maintained 
in a natural state (Pearce 2011, unpaginated; Klink and Machado 2005, 
p. 708; Ratter et al. 1997, p. 228). This law was widely ignored by 
landowners and not enforced by the government, as evidenced by the high 
deforestation rates (Financial Times 2011, unpaginated; Pearce 2011, 
unpaginated; Ratter et al. 1997, p. 228).

[[Page 39977]]

However, in the last 6 years, Brazil began cracking down on illegal 
deforesters, and deforestation rates began to fall (Barrionuevo 2012, 
unpaginated).
    Changes to the Forest Code are now being debated. In May 2011, 
Brazil's House of Representatives voted in favor of relaxing this 
Forest Code. Some of the proposed changes include: (1) Exemption of 
owners with plots under 405 ha (1,000 ac) from having to restore 
illegally deforested land; (2) amnesty for those who illegally 
deforested land prior to July 2008, meaning they would not have to 
restore lands or pay fines; and (3) cancellation of outstanding fines 
for environmental crimes if the violator joins a government-run 
program, however, strict timeframes for complying with the program were 
not included. In December 2011, Brazil's Senate approved a revised 
version (Barrionuevo 2012, unpaginated). This version would require 24 
million ha (59 million ac) to be reforested, although 55 million ha 
(136 million ac) would have been required under the original code. 
Additionally, those who illegally deforested before July 2008 would be 
required to replant areas that should have vegetation in order to avoid 
fines. The House is expected to debate this version in March 2012, 
after which it goes to the President who has veto power (Barrionuevo 
2012, unpaginated; Financial Times 2011, unpaginated; WWF-UK 2011a, 
unpaginated).
    If this latest version is passed, it would be the greatest 
reforestation program in the world (Financial Times 2011, unpaginated). 
However, it will only be effective if it is properly enforced and 
adequately financed, which is questionable (Barrionuevo 2012, 
unpaginated). The original code was largely ignored by landowners and 
not enforced, leading to Brazil's high rates of deforestation. Although 
rates began to decrease, deforestation has spiked again in anticipation 
of the new reform (WWF-UK 2011a, unpaginated; WWF 2010, unpaginated). 
Given the ongoing and increasing deforestation rates in the Amazon, 
Cerrado, and Pantanal (See Factor A), it appears that this regulation 
does not adequately protect the forest resources of Brazil.
State Laws
    The Mato Grosso do Sul State Senate passed State Act 3.348 in 2006, 
which forbids deforestation in the Pantanal's floodplains. However, it 
only prohibited deforestation for 1 year (2007), and licenses 
previously granted for cutting trees were allowed to be executed 
(J[uacute]nior 2008, p. 136). This law also set a limit for what 
constituted the flooding area; however, since the Pantanal is a plain 
that is subject to annual variation, much of the area remained outside 
of the realm of the law (J[uacute]nior 2008, p. 136). Therefore, this 
legislation did not contribute to hyacinth macaw conservation 
(J[uacute]nior 2008, p. 136).
    To protect the main breeding habitat of the hyacinth macaw, Mato 
Grosso State Senate passed State Act 8.317 in 2005, which prohibits the 
cutting of manduvi trees, but not others. Although this protects 
nesting trees, other trees around it are cut, exposing the manduvi tree 
to winds and storms that otherwise provide shelter. Manduvi trees end 
up falling or breaking, rendering them useless for the hyacinths to 
nest in (J[uacute]nior 2008, p. 135; J[uacute]nior et al. 2006, p. 
186). Five percent of hyacinth macaw nests in manduvi trees are lost 
each year to deforestation, fire, and storms in the Pantanal. Given the 
continuing deforestation in the Pantanal and the evidence of reduced 
recruitment of manduvi trees, it appears this legislation does not 
provide adequate protection to the nesting trees of the hyacinth macaw 
in the Pantanal.
Protected Areas
    The main biodiversity protection strategy in Brazil is the creation 
of Protected Areas (National Protected Areas System (Federal Act 9.985/
00) (J[uacute]nior 2008, p. 134). There are various regulatory 
mechanisms (Law No. 11.516, Act No. 7.735, Decree No. 78, Order No. 1, 
and Act No. 6.938) in Brazil that direct Federal and State agencies to 
promote the protection of lands and that govern the formal 
establishment and management of protected areas to promote conservation 
of the country's natural resources (ECOLEX 2007, pp. 5-7). These 
mechanisms generally aim to protect endangered wildlife and plant 
species, genetic resources, overall biodiversity, and native ecosystems 
on Federal, State, and privately owned lands (e.g., Law No. 9.985, Law 
No. 11.132, Resolution No. 4, and Decree No. 1.922). Brazil's formally 
established protection areas were developed in 2000, after a series of 
priority-setting workshops, and are categorized based on their overall 
management objectives. These include strictly protected areas (national 
parks, biological reserves, ecological stations, natural monuments, and 
wildlife refuges) for educational and recreational purposes and 
scientific research. There are also protected areas of sustainable use 
(national forests, environmental protection areas, areas of relevant 
ecological interest, extractive reserves, fauna reserves, sustainable 
development reserves, and private natural heritage reserves) that allow 
for different types and levels of human use with conservation of 
biodiversity as a secondary objective. As of 2005, there were 478 
Federal and State strictly protected areas totaling 37,019,697 ha 
(14,981,340 ac) in Brazil (Rylands and Brandon 2005, pp. 615-616). 
There are other types of areas that contribute to the Brazilian 
Protected Areas System, including indigenous reserves and areas managed 
and owned by municipal governments, nongovernmental organizations, 
academic institutions, and private sectors (Rylands and Brandon 2005, 
p. 616).
    Within the states where the hyacinth macaw occurs, there are a 
total of 53 protected areas; however, it only occurs in two (Collar et 
al. 1992a, p. 7). In the Amazon, there is a balance of strictly 
prohibited protected areas (49 percent of protected areas) and 
sustainable use areas (51 percent) (Rylands and Brandon 2005, p. 616). 
We found no information on the occurrence of the hyacinth macaw in any 
protected areas in Par[aacute]. The Cerrado biome is one of the most 
threatened biomes and is underrepresented among Brazilian protected 
areas. Only 2.25 percent of the original extent of the Cerrado is 
protected, (Marini et al. 2009, p. 1559; Klink and Machado 2005, p. 
709; Siqueira and Peterson 2003, p. 11). Within the Cerrado, the 
hyacinth macaw is found only within the Araguaia National Park in 
Goi[aacute]s (Collar et al 1992a, p. 7). In 2000, the Pantanal was 
designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO (J[uacute]nior 2008, p. 
134). According to the State Department of Environment of Mato Grosso 
do Sul and IBAMA, only 4.5 percent of the Pantanal is categorized as 
protected areas (Harris et al. 2006, pp. 166-167), including strictly 
protected areas and indigenous areas (Klink and Machado 2005, p. 709). 
This includes the Taiam[atilde] Ecological Station and the Pantanal 
National Park (Mittermeier et al. 1990, p. 104), but the hyacinth macaw 
occurs only within the Pantanal National Park (Collar et al 1992a, p. 
7). The distribution of Federal and State protected areas are uneven 
across biomes, yet all biomes need substantially more area to be 
protected to meet the recommendations established in the priority-
setting workshops (Rylands and Brandon 2005, pp. 615-616).
    There are many challenges and limitations to the effectiveness of 
the protected areas system. Brazil is faced with competing priorities 
of encouraging development for economic growth and resource protection. 
In the past, the Brazilian government, through various regulations, 
policies, incentives,

[[Page 39978]]

and subsidies, has actively encouraged settlement of previously 
undeveloped lands, which helped facilitate the large-scale habitat 
conversions for agriculture and cattle-ranching that have occurred 
throughout the Amazon, Cerrado, and Pantanal biomes (WWF-UK 2011b, p. 
2; WWF 2001, unpaginated; Arima and Uhl, 1997, p. 446; Ratter et al. 
1997, pp. 227-228). Although conservation strategies in the Amazon 
basin have focused on protected areas, they are insufficient for 
conservation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, pp. 520, 522).
    The Ministry of Environment is working to increase the amount of 
protected areas in the Pantanal and Cerrado regions, however, the 
Ministry of Agriculture is looking at using an additional 1 million 
km\2\ (386,102 mi\2\) for agricultural expansion, which will speed up 
deforestation (Harris et al. 2006, p. 175). These competing priorities 
make it difficult to enforce regulations that protect the habitat of 
this species. Additionally, there is often a delay in implementation or 
a lack of local management commitment after the creation of protected 
areas, staff limitations make it difficult to monitor actions, and the 
lack of acceptance by society or the lack of funding make 
administration and management of the area difficult (J[uacute]nior 
2008, p. 135; Harris et al. 2006, p. 175). The designation of the 
Pantanal as a Biosphere Reserve is almost worthless because of few 
strong actions for its conservation from public officials 
(J[uacute]nior 2008, p. 134), and neither of the national parks in 
which the hyacinth macaw is found is entirely secure (Collar et al. 
1992a, p. 7).
    Despite the designation of numerous protected areas throughout 
Brazil, these designations are not adequate enough to meet the 
recommendations established in the priority-setting workshops. 
Additionally, of 53 designated protected areas within the states the 
hyacinth macaw occurs, it is only found in the Araguaia and Pantanal 
National Parks; neither of which is secure. Additionally, the hyacinth 
macaw continues to be threatened in Par[aacute] and the Gerais region 
by hunting and habitat loss due to agricultural expansion and cattle 
ranching in all three regions. Therefore, it appears that Brazil's 
protected areas system does not adequately protect the hyacinth macaw 
or its habitat.
International Laws
    The hyacinth macaw is listed in Appendix I of CITES. CITES is an 
international treaty among 175 nations, including Brazil, Bolivia, 
Paraguay, and the United States, that entered into force in 1975. In 
the United States, CITES is implemented through the U.S. Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended. The Act designates the Secretary of 
the Interior as lead responsibility to implement CITES on behalf of the 
United States, with the functions of the Management and Scientific 
Authorities to be carried out by the Service. Under this treaty, member 
countries work together to ensure that international trade in animal 
and plant species is not detrimental to the survival of wild 
populations by regulating the import, export, and reexport of CITES-
listed animal and plant species.
    Through Resolution Conf. 8.4 (Rev. CoP15), the Parties to CITES 
adopted a process, termed the National Legislation Project, to evaluate 
whether Parties have adequate domestic legislation to successfully 
implement the Treaty (CITES 2010b, pp. 1-5). In reviewing a country's 
national legislation, the CITES Secretariat evaluates factors such as 
whether a Party's domestic laws designate the responsible Scientific 
and Management Authorities, prohibit trade contrary to the requirements 
of the Convention, have penalty provisions in place for illegal trade, 
and provide for seizure of specimens that are illegally traded or 
possessed. As discussed under Factor B, it has been determined that the 
Brazilian Government has met all the requirements to implement CITES 
(www.cites.org, SC59 Document 11, Annex p. 1). Bolivia and Paraguay 
have not completed all the requirements to effectively implement CITES, 
although both countries have submitted a CITES Legislation Plan and 
Bolivia has also submitted draft legislation to the Secretariat for 
comments (www.cites.org, SC59 Document 11, Annex p. 1).
    As discussed under Factor B, we do not consider international trade 
to be a threat impacting this species. Therefore, protection under this 
treaty against unsustainable international trade is adequate to address 
unlawful commercialization of the species.
    The import of hyacinth macaws into the United States is also 
regulated by the Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA) (16 U.S.C. 4901 et 
seq.), which was enacted on October 23, 1992. The purpose of the WBCA 
is to promote the conservation of exotic birds by ensuring that all 
imports to the United States of exotic birds are biologically 
sustainable and not detrimental to the species in the wild. The WBCA 
generally restricts the importation of most CITES-listed live or dead 
exotic birds except for certain limited purposes such as zoological 
display or cooperative breeding programs. Import of dead specimens is 
allowed for scientific specimens and museum specimens. The Service may 
approve cooperative breeding programs and subsequently issue import 
permits under such programs. Wild-caught birds may be imported into the 
United States if certain standards are met and they are subject to a 
management plans that provides for sustainable use. At this time, the 
hyacinth macaw is not part of a Service-approved cooperative breeding 
program and has not been approved for importation of wild-caught birds.
    International trade of parrots was significantly reduced during the 
1990s as a result of tighter enforcement of CITES regulations, stricter 
measures under EU legislation, and adoption of the WBCA, along with 
adoption of national legislation in various countries (Snyder et al. 
2000, p. 99). As discussed under Factor B, we found that international 
trade is not a threat to this species; therefore, we believe that 
regulations are adequately protecting the species from international 
trade.
Summary of Factor D
    Although there are laws intended to protect the forests of Brazil 
and the hyacinth macaw, deforestation for agricultural expansion and 
cattle ranching and hunting continue to be threats to this species. 
Conflicting priorities of encouraging development for economic growth 
and resource protection make enforcement of environmental laws intended 
to protect the environment and Brazil's natural resources difficult. 
Deforestation has long been a problem in Brazil leading to some of the 
highest deforestation rates in the world. In recent years, 
deforestation rates began to decline with greater enforcement of laws; 
however, deforestation rates have increased again, a result of an 
anticipated reform in the Forest Code. Despite laws to protect the 
environment and plans to significantly reduce deforestation, expansion 
of agriculture and cattle ranching continue and are threats to the 
recruitment of the food and nesting resources in which the hyacinth 
macaw is specialized. Without greater enforcement of laws, 
deforestation will continue to be a problem in Brazil. Trade of this 
species has decreased significantly since the 1980's, but hunting 
remains a threat to the small populations remaining in Par[aacute] and 
the Gerais region. Therefore, we find that inadequate regulatory 
mechanisms are a threat to the hyacinth macaw now and in the future.

[[Page 39979]]

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Species' Continued 
Existence

Specialization
    One of the main threats to the hyacinth macaw, in combination with 
human-related factors, is a low reproductive rate and the highly 
specialized nature of the Anodorhynchus genus (Faria et al. 2008, p. 
777). Parrots, in general, have traits that predisposed them to 
extinction and make them particularly sensitive to changes in resources 
and increased mortality. These traits include a large body size, low 
rates of reproduction, low survival of chicks and fledglings, a late 
age at first reproduction, large proportion of nonbreeding adults, and 
restrictive nesting requirements (Lee 2010, p. 3; Thiollay 2005, p. 
1121; Guedes 2004, p. 280; Wright et al. 2001, p. 711; Munn et al. 
1998, p. 409). The low reproductive rate of the hyacinth macaw is due, 
in part, to asynchronous hatching, which usually results in only one 
chick surviving (Faria et al. 2008, p. 766; Kuniy et al. 2006, p. 381; 
Munn et al. 1989, p. 409). Additionally, observers in Brazil have 
reported that not all hyacinth nests fledge young and, due to the long 
period of chick dependence, hyacinths only breed every 2 years (Faria 
et al. 2008, p. 766; Schneider et al. 2006, pp. 71-72; Guedes and 
Harper 1995, pp. 407-411; Munn et al. 1989, p. 409). In a study of the 
Pantanal, the largest population of hyacinth macaws, it was suggested 
that only 15-30 percent of adults attempt to breed; it may be that a 
small or even smaller percentage in Par[aacute] and Gerais attempt to 
breed (Munn et al. 1998, p. 409).
    The hyacinth macaw is highly specialized in both diet and nest 
sites, which makes it particularly vulnerable to extinction (Faria et 
al. 2008, p. 766; Pizo 2008, p. 795; Munn et al. 1998, pp. 404, 409; 
Johnson et al. 1997, p. 186). As discussed under Species Description, 
the hyacinth utilizes only a few species for food and nesting in the 
different regions of occurrence. Anodorhynchus macaws are highly 
selective in choice of palm nut; they have to be the right size and 
shape, as well as have an extractable kernel with the right lignin 
pattern (Pittman 1993, unpaginated). Hyacinth macaws require large, 
mature trees with preexisting holes to provide nesting cavities large 
enough to accommodate them (Pizo et al. 2008, p. 792; Abramson et al. 
1995, p. 2). For example, in the Pantanal, hyacinths nest almost 
exclusively in the manduvi tree which must be at least 60 years old to 
provide adequate cavities (Pizo et al. 2008, p. 792; J[uacute]nior et 
al. 2006, p. 185).
    The reproductive biology of the hyacinth macaw can result in low 
recruitment of juveniles and may decrease the ability to recover from 
reductions in population size caused by anthropogenic disturbances 
(Wright et al. 2001, p. 711). Hyacinths may not have a high enough 
reproduction rate and may not survive in areas where nest sites are 
destroyed (Munn et al. 1998, p. 409). Additionally, habitat and feeding 
specializations are good predictors of a bird species' risk of 
extinction, and the hyacinth macaw scores high in both food and nest 
site specialization (Pizo et al. 2008, p. 795). In Par[aacute] and 
Gerais, food resources are threatened by land conversion. This is cause 
for concern as another Anodorhynchus species, the Lear's macaw, is 
nearly extinct in part due to a shortage in its specialized food source 
(Guedes 2004, p. 781). In Gerais, a shortage of nesting trees has 
likely led the hyacinth macaw to utilize cliff cavities. The large, 
mature trees with preexisting holes that hyacinths require are often in 
shortage; given the land use trends in Par[aacute] and the Pantanal and 
evidence of significantly reduced recruitment of nesting trees in the 
Pantanal, the continued existence of nesting trees in these regions is 
a great concern. The effects of the low reproductive output of the 
hyacinth macaw and its high specialization are exacerbated by the 
pressure on the hyacinth macaw and its food and nesting resources due 
to hunting, and land conversion, making this species particularly 
vulnerable to extinction.
Competition
    In the Pantanal, competition for nesting sites is intense. The 
hyacinth nests almost exclusively in manduvi trees; however, there are 
17 other birds species, small mammals, and honey bees that also utilize 
manduvi cavities (Pizo et al 2008, p. 792; Pinho and Nogueira 2003, p. 
36). Bees (Apis melifera) are even known to occupy artificial nests 
(Pinho and Nogueira 2003, p. 33; Snyder et al. 2000, p. 120). Manduvi 
is a key species for the hyacinth and, as discussed under Factor A, 
these cavities are already limited and there is evidence of decreased 
recruitment of this species of tree (J[uacute]nior et al. 2006, p. 
181). Competition among breeding hyacinth macaws is exacerbated because 
only trees older than 60 years produce cavities large enough to be used 
by the large hyacinth macaw (Pizo et al. 2008, p. 792). With a limited 
number of manduvi trees, and a further limited number of adequate size 
trees capable of accommodating the hyacinth macaw, and numerous species 
looking to use this tree, competition will certainly be increased and 
further limit the cavities available to the hyacinth macaw for nesting.
    The lack of suitable sites far enough from existing pairs may also 
limit breeding pairs of birds (Newton 1994, pp. 267, 273). Removal of 
manduvi seeds from the vicinity of the parent plant is necessary for 
the recruitment of the manduvi tree as seeds deposited beneath adult 
trees are preyed upon by peccaries (Tayassuidae) and agoutis 
(Dasyprocta spp.). Spreading also avoids the clumping of adults; this 
is beneficial to hyacinths as they do not nest close to one another 
(Pizo et al. 2008, pp. 794-795). A study found that the best manduvi 
seed disperser is the toco toucan. The toco toucan, however, is also 
known to prey on hyacinth eggs, take over hyacinth cavities, and kill 
nestlings (Pizo et al. 2008, p. 795; Hatfield and Leland 2003, p. 14).
Climate Change
    Consideration of climate change is a component of our analyses 
under the Endangered Species Act. The term ``climate change'' refers to 
a change in the state of the climate that can be identified by changes 
in the mean or variability of its properties (e.g., temperature, 
precipitation) and that persists for an extended period, typically 
decades or longer, whether the change occurs due to natural variability 
or as a result of human activity (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate 
Change (IPCC) 2007a, p. 30).
    Scientific measurements taken over several decades demonstrate that 
changes in climate are occurring. Examples include warming of the 
global climate system over recent decades, and substantial increases in 
precipitation in some regions of the world and decreases in other 
regions (for these and other examples see IPCC 2007a, p. 30; Solomon et 
al. 2007, pp. 35-54, 82-85).
    Scientific analyses show that most of the observed increase in 
global average temperature since the mid-20th century cannot be 
explained by natural variability in climate, and is ``very likely'' 
(defined by the IPCC as 90 percent or higher probability) due to the 
observed increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the 
atmosphere as a result of human activities, particularly carbon dioxide 
emissions from fossil fuel use (IPCC 2007a, p. 5 and Figure SPM.3; 
Solomon et al. 2007, pp. 21-35). Therefore, scientists use a variety of 
climate models (which include consideration of natural processes and 
variability) in conjunction with various scenarios of

[[Page 39980]]

potential levels and timing of GHG emissions in order to project future 
changes in temperature and other climate conditions (e.g., Meehl et al. 
2007, entire; Ganguly et al. 2009, pp. 11555, 15558; Prinn et al. 2011, 
pp. 527, 529).
    The projected magnitude of average global warming for this century 
(as well as the range of projected values, which reflects uncertainty) 
is very similar under all combinations of models and emissions 
scenarios until about 2030. Thereafter, despite the projections showing 
greater divergence in projected magnitude, the overall trajectory is 
one of increased warming under all scenarios, including those which 
assume a reduction of GHG emissions (Meehl et al. 2007, pp. 760-764; 
Ganguly et al. 2009, pp. 15555-15558; Prinn et al. 2011, pp. 527, 529). 
(See IPCC 2007b, p. 8, for other global climate projections.)
    Various types of changes in climate may have direct or indirect 
effects, and these may be positive or negative depending on the species 
and other relevant considerations, such as interactions of climate with 
nonclimate variables (e.g., habitat fragmentation). Identifying likely 
effects often involves climate change vulnerability analysis. 
Vulnerability refers to the degree to which a species (or system) is 
susceptible to, and unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate 
change, including variability and extremes; it is a function of the 
type, magnitude, and rate of climate change and variation to which a 
species is exposed, its sensitivity, and its adaptive capacity (IPCC 
2007a, p. 89; see also Glick et al. 2011, pp. 19-22). Because exposure, 
sensitivity, and adaptive capacity can vary by species and situation, 
there is no single method for conducting such analyses (Glick et al. 
2011, p. 3). We use our expert judgment and appropriate analytical 
approaches to weigh relevant information, including uncertainty, in our 
consideration of various aspects of climate change that are relevant to 
the hyacinth macaw.
    As is the case with all influences that we assess, if we conclude 
that a species is currently affected or is likely to be affected in a 
negative way by one or more climate-related impacts, this does not 
necessarily mean the species meets the definition of a ``threatened 
species'' or an ``endangered species'' under the Act. If a species is 
listed as threatened or endangered, knowledge regarding the 
vulnerability of the species to, and known or anticipated impacts from, 
climate-associated changes in environmental conditions can be used to 
help devise appropriate strategies for its recovery.
    Factors that threaten the hyacinth macaw, such as habitat loss, may 
be exacerbated by changes in Brazil's climate and associated changes to 
the landscape. Climate change scenarios project significant temperature 
changes for most of South America (Marini et al. 2009, p. 1559). Across 
Brazil, temperatures are projected to increase and precipitation to 
decrease (Siqueira and Peterson 2003, p. 2). At a national level, 
simulation results suggest that climate change may induce significant 
reductions in forestland in all Brazilian regions (F[eacute]res et al. 
2009, pp. 12, 15).
    Temperature increases in Brazil are expected to be greatest over 
the Amazon rainforest with models indicating a strong warming and 
drying of this region during the 21st Century, particularly after 2040 
(Marengo et al. 2011, pp. 8, 15, 27, 39, 48; F[eacute]res et al. 2009, 
p. 2). IPCC's best estimate of temperature changes by the end of the 
21st Century (2090-2099) is 2.2 [deg]C (4[emsp14][deg]F) under a low 
greenhouse gas emission scenario and 4.5 [deg]C (8[emsp14][deg]F) under 
a high emission scenario (Marengo et al. 2011, p. 27).
    Some leading global circulation models suggest extreme weather 
events, such as droughts, will increase in frequency or severity due to 
global warming. As a result, droughts in Amazonian forests could become 
more severe in the future (Marengo et al. 2011, p. 48; Laurance et al. 
2001, p. 782). For example, the 2005 drought in Amazonia was a 1-in-20-
year event; however, those conditions may become a 1-in-2-year event by 
2025 and a 9-in-10-year event by 2060 (Marengo et al. 2011, p. 28). 
Impacts of deforestation are greater under drought conditions as fires 
set for forest clearances burn larger areas (Marengo et al. 2011, p. 
16). Additionally, the seasonal forests of the Amazon, such as those 
found in eastern Amazonia, are more strongly affected by drought due to 
high rates of deforestation, which increases the vulnerability of 
forests to wildfires during droughts (Laurance et al. 2001, p. 782).
    Direct deforestation is an immediate threat to the Amazon and could 
alter climate conditions in this region. When 40 percent of the 
original extent of the Amazon is lost, rainfall is expected to 
significantly decrease across Amazonia and the rainforests may not 
generate enough rainfall to sustain itself (Marengo et al. 2011, pp. 
45, 48). This can be explained by an increase in carbon dioxide 
concentrations, increased temperatures, and decreased rainfall such 
that the dry season becomes longer. Previous work has suggested that, 
under these conditions, the rainforest of the Amazon could die back and 
be replaced with different vegetation. Although there are uncertainties 
in the modeling, some models have predicted a change from forests to 
savanna-type vegetation over parts, or perhaps the entire, Amazon in 
the next several decades (Marengo et al. 2011, pp. 11, 18, 29, 43). In 
the regions where the hyacinth macaw occurs, the climate features a dry 
season, which prevents the growth of an extensive closed-canopy 
tropical forest. Therefore, the transition of the Amazon rainforests 
could provide additional suitable habitat for the hyacinth macaw. 
However, there are uncertainties in this modeling, and projections are 
not definitive outcomes. In fact, some models indicate that conditions 
are likely to get wetter in Amazonia in the future (Marengo et al. 
2011, pp. 28-29). Furthermore, we do not know if the specific food and 
nesting resources the hyacinth macaw utilizes would spread with an 
increase in the dry season.
    Temperatures in the Cerrado are also predicted to increase; the 
maximum temperature in the hottest month may increase by 4 [deg]C 
(7.2[emsp14][deg]F) and by 2100 may increase to approximately 40 [deg]C 
(104[emsp14][deg]F) (Marini et al. 2009, p. 1563). Along with changes 
in temperature, other models have predicted a decrease in tree 
diversity and range sizes for birds in the Cerrado.
    Projections based on a 30-year average (2040-2069) indicate serious 
effects of Cerrado tree diversity in coming decades (Marini et al. 
2009, p. 1559; Siqueira and Peterson 2003, p. 4). In a study of 162 
broad-range tree species, the potential distributional area of most 
trees was projected to decline by more than 50 percent. Using two 
climate change scenarios, 18-56 species were predicted to go extinct in 
the Cerrado, while 91-23 species were predicted to decline by more than 
90 percent in potential distributional area (Siqueira and Peterson 
2003, p. 4).
    Extreme temperatures seemed to be the most important factor 
limiting bird distribution, revealing their physiological tolerances 
(Marini et al. 2009, p. 1563). In a study on changes in range sizes for 
26 broad-range birds in the Cerrado, range sizes are expected to 
decrease over time, and significantly so as soon as 2030 (Marini et al. 
2009, p. 1564). Changes ranged from a 5 percent increase to an 80 
percent decrease under two dispersal scenarios for 2011-2030, 2046-
2065, and 2080-2099 (Marini et al. 2009, p. 1561). The largest 
potential loss in range size is predicted to occur among grassland and 
forest-dependent

[[Page 39981]]

species in all time frames (Marini et al. 2009, p. 1564). These species 
will likely have the worst future conservation scenarios because these 
habitat types are the least common (Marini et al. 2009, p. 1559). 
Although this study focused on broad-range bird species, geographically 
restricted birds are predicted to become rarer (Marini et al. 2009, p. 
1564).
    It is difficult to predict whether species will or will not adapt 
to new conditions; synergistic effects of climate change and habitat 
fragmentation, or other factors, such as biotic interactions, may 
hasten the need for conservation even more (Marini et al. 2009, p. 
1565). Although there are uncertainties in the climate change modeling 
discussed above, the overall trajectory is one of increased warming 
under all scenarios. We do not know how the habitat of the hyacinth 
macaw may change under these conditions, but we can assume there will 
be some change. The hyacinth macaw, as discussed under Factor A, is 
threatened with habitat loss due to widespread expansion of agriculture 
and cattle ranching. Climate change has the potential to further 
decrease the specialized habitat needed by the hyacinth macaw. 
Furthermore, the ability of the hyacinth macaw to cope with landscape 
changes due to climate change is questionable given the specialized 
needs of the species.
Summary of Factor E
    Traits common to parrot species, and the particularly specialized 
nature of the hyacinth macaw, make it a species vulnerable to 
extinction. This is further exacerbated by the pressure on the hyacinth 
macaw and its food and nesting resources due to hunting and land 
conversion. Competition for nesting sites in the Pantanal is intense 
given the number of other species that also use the manduvi tree and 
the reduced recruitment of this tree due to cattle grazing. As the 
number of suitable trees is further limited, competition for adequate 
cavities to accommodate the hyacinth macaw will certainly increase. 
There are many uncertainties when modeling future climate change; 
however, overall, the trajectory is one of increased warming. We do not 
know how the habitat of the hyacinth macaw will change, but we can 
assume there will be a change to which the hyacinth macaw may be 
particularly vulnerable, given its specialized nature. Any loss of its 
food and/or nesting resources, via either competition or climate 
change, could have devastating effects on the recruitment of the 
species. Therefore, based on the best available scientific and 
commercial information, we find that other natural or manmade factors 
are a threat to the hyacinth macaw now and in the future.

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 
hyacinth 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 hyacinth macaw. We reviewed the petition, 
information available in our files, and other available published and 
unpublished information.
    The hyacinth macaw is found in three populations in the 
Par[aacute], Gerais, and Pantanal regions. The Par[aacute] and Gerais 
populations combined, according the most recent estimate in 2003, 
number 1,500 individuals. These small populations are threatened by 
high deforestation rates due to expanding agriculture and cattle 
ranching. In Par[aacute], deforestation threatens both the food and 
nesting resources. In the Gerais region, deforestation threatens food 
resources as hyacinths in this population have utilized cliff crevices 
for nesting due to the loss of nesting trees. Additionally, we found 
some information indicating that the hunting of hyacinths as a source 
of protein and for feathers to be used in local handicrafts may remain 
as threats in these regions. The Pantanal population is the stronghold 
for this species and numbers 5,000 according to the most recent 
estimate. This population is threatened by limited and decreasing 
nesting sites due to expanding cattle ranching. Competition for nesting 
sites in the Pantanal has been documented. The occurrence of the 
hyacinth's nesting tree is limited by deforestation and cattle 
ranching. Data indicates significantly reduced recruitment, suggesting 
this species of tree, of adequate size to accommodate the hyacinth 
macaw, will become increasingly rare in the future. As this resource is 
limited, competition with the other 17 species known to utilize this 
nesting tree will increase.
    Brazil has various laws to protect its natural resources. However, 
conflicting priorities of encouraging development for economic growth 
and resource protection make enforcement difficult. Despite these laws 
and plans to significantly reduce deforestation, expanding agriculture 
and cattle ranching continue to contribute to high deforestation rates. 
Although the deforestation rate began to decrease over the last 6 
years, recent anticipated changes to reforestation requirements under 
Brazil's Forest Code have sparked increases in deforestation once 
again. Without effective implementation and enforcement of 
environmental laws, deforestation will continue. Parrots in general 
have traits that predispose them to extinction, but the hyacinth macaw 
is highly specialized in diet and nesting requirements and the loss of 
these resources makes it particularly vulnerable to extinction. Lastly, 
climate change models have predicted increasing temperatures and 
decreasing rainfall throughout most of Brazil, potentially causing 
landscape changes and affecting the distribution of the hyacinth 
macaw's food and nesting resources.
    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.'' The magnitude of the threats the hyacinth macaw is facing is 
high. Existing laws and regulations in Brazil are not being adequately 
enforced to significantly reduce deforestation rates. If current rates 
continue, two-thirds of the forest cover along the Tapaj[oacute]s and 
Xingu rivers will be lost by 2050; the remaining native habitat of the 
Cerrado region will be lost by 2030; and the original vegetation of the 
Pantanal will be destroyed by approximately 2050. Predicted changes in 
Brazil's climate may exacerbate the effects of habitat loss. Under 
drought conditions, as predicted by some climate change models, the 
forests of eastern Amazonia will be more vulnerable to deforestation as 
fires set to clear land burn a larger area. Additionally, climate 
change is predicted to significantly decrease tree distribution and 
ranges of bird species in the Cerrado region.
    The hyacinth macaw has a low reproductive rate and, in a study of 
the Pantanal, where the largest population of hyacinth macaws is found, 
it was suggested that only 15-30 percent of adults attempt to breed, 
and a small or even smaller percentage in Par[aacute] and Gerais may 
attempt to breed. Reproduction of hyacinth macaws may be further 
reduced due to the loss of the already-limited nesting sites in the 
Pantanal and an increase in the competition for this resource. Although 
we do not have data on the number of hyacinths lost to hunting, because 
these populations are so small, the removal of any individuals from the 
population would have a negative effect on

[[Page 39982]]

reproduction and the ability of the species to recover. Long-term 
survival of this species is a concern. Lastly, because the hyacinth 
macaw is specialized in its food and nesting resources, the loss of 
these resources makes it particularly vulnerable to extinction. Impacts 
from habitat loss, hunting, competition, and climate change exacerbate 
the effects of specialization. Any loss of vital food and nesting 
resources or the loss of individuals from the population from current 
or future threats further reduces the already-limited habitat and is 
likely to affect the reproductive success of this species. We do not 
find that the factors affecting the species are likely to be 
sufficiently ameliorated in the foreseeable future. Therefore, on the 
basis of the best scientific and commercial information, we find that 
the hyacinth macaw meets the definition of an ``endangered species'' 
under the Act, and we are proposing to list the hyacinth macaw as 
endangered throughout its range.

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 the proposal to list as endangered the 
hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) 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 Endangered Species 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-2012-0013, or upon 
request from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species 
Program, Branch of Foreign Species (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
section).

Author

    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:

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 a new entry for ``Macaw, 
hyacinth'' in alphabetical order under Birds to the List of Endangered 
and Threatened Wildlife, as follows:


Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

[[Page 39983]]



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Species                                                     Vertebrate
--------------------------------------------------------                         population where                                 Critical     Special
                                                            Historic range         endangered or        Status     When listed    habitat       rules
           Common name                Scientific name                               threatened
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Birds
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Macaw, hyacinth..................  Anodorhynchus         Bolivia, Brazil,      Entire..............  E             ...........           NA           NA
                                    hyacinthinus.         Paraguay.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Dated: June 26, 2012.
Gregory E. Siekaniec,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-16461 Filed 7-5-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P