[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 130 (Friday, July 6, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 40171-40219]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-16492]



[[Page 40171]]

Vol. 77

Friday,

No. 130

July 6, 2012

Part III





Department of the Interior





-----------------------------------------------------------------------





Fish and Wildlife Service





-----------------------------------------------------------------------





50 CFR Part 17





Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Two Foreign Macaw 
Species; Proposed Rule

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

[[Page 40172]]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2011-0101: 450 003 0115]
RIN 1018-AY33


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Two Foreign Macaw 
Species

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; 12-month finding.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to 
list as endangered the military macaw (Ara militaris) and the great 
green macaw (Ara ambiguus) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (ESA). We are taking this action in response to a petition to 
list these parrot species as endangered or threatened under the ESA. 
This document also serves as the completion of the status review and as 
the 12-month finding. We seek information from the public on the 
proposed listing for these species.

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

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-R9-
ES-2011-0101.
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: FWS-R9-ES-2011-0101; Division of Policy and Directives 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 
2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We will not accept comments by email or fax. We will post all 
comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we 
will post any personal information you provide us (see the Information 
Requested section below for more information).

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Executive Summary

I. Purpose of the Regulatory Action

    On January 31, 2008, the Service received a petition dated January 
29, 2008, from Friends of Animals, represented by the Environmental Law 
Clinic, University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, requesting that we 
list 14 parrot species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). As part of a court-approved 
settlement agreement, the Service agreed to submit a determination as 
to whether the petitioned action is warranted, not warranted, or 
warranted but precluded by other listing actions for the military macaw 
(Ara militaris) and the great green macaw (Ara ambiguus)) to the 
Federal Register by June 30, 2012. This action complies in part with 
this settlement agreement and is authorized by the ESA.

II. Summary of the Major Provisions of the Regulatory Action in 
Question

    We are proposing to list as endangered the military macaw (Ara 
militaris) and the great green macaw (Ara ambiguus). We are proposing 
this action primarily because of the effects of habitat loss, 
fragmentation, and degradation; small and declining population size; 
poaching; and regulatory mechanisms that are inadequate to ameliorate 
these threats on these birds throughout their ranges.

III. Costs and Benefits

    Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the ESA 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.'' Further, this action is not a ``significant'' regulatory 
action under Executive Order 12866. Therefore, we have not analyzed its 
costs or benefits.

Background

    Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires 
that, for any petition to revise the Federal List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants that contains substantial scientific or 
commercial information that listing the species may be warranted, we 
make a finding within 12 months of the date of receipt of the petition 
(``12-month finding''). In this finding, we determine whether the 
petitioned action is: (a) Not warranted, (b) warranted, or (c) 
warranted, but immediate proposal of a regulation implementing the 
petitioned action is precluded by other pending proposals to determine 
whether species are endangered or threatened, and expeditious progress 
is being made to add or remove qualified species from the Federal Lists 
of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Section 4(b)(3)(C) of 
the ESA requires that we treat a petition for which the requested 
action is found to be warranted but precluded as though 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.
    In this document, we announce that listing these two species as 
endangered is warranted, and we are issuing a proposed rule to add 
these two species as endangered to the Federal List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife. Prior to issuing a final rule on this proposed 
action, we will take into consideration all comments and any additional 
information we receive on the proposed rules. 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, represented by the Environmental Law 
Clinic, University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, requesting that we 
list 14 parrot species under the ESA. The petition clearly identified 
itself as a petition and included the requisite information required by 
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 indicating that listing may be warranted for 12 of the 14 
parrot species. In our 90-day finding on this petition, we announced 
the initiation of a status review to list as endangered or threatened 
under the ESA the following 12 parrot species:
    (1) Blue-headed macaw (Primolius couloni),
    (2) Crimson shining parrot (Prosopeia splendens),
    (3) Great green macaw (Ara ambiguus),
    (4) Grey-cheeked parakeet (Brotogeris pyrrhoptera),
    (5) Hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus),
    (6) Military macaw (Ara militaris),
    (7) Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia),

[[Page 40173]]

    (8) Red-crowned parrot (Amazona viridigenalis),
    (9) Scarlet macaw (Ara macao),
    (10) White cockatoo (Cacatua alba),
    (11) Yellow-billed parrot (Amazona collaria), and
    (12) Yellow-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea).
    We initiated the status review to determine if listing each of the 
12 species is warranted, and initiated a 60-day public comment 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 Wild Earth 
Guardians for failure to issue 12-month findings on the petition. On 
March 2, 2010, Friends of Animals and Wild Earth 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.)). Pursuant to a court-ordered settlement agreement entered in 
this case, the Service agreed to specific time frames for submitting to 
the Federal Register a determination as to whether the petitioned 
action is warranted, not warranted, or precluded by other listing 
actions. In compliance with the settlement agreement, we published 
status reviews for the crimson shining parrot (Prosopeia splendens), 
yellow-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea), white cockatoo (Cacatua 
alba), and Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia) on August 9, 
2011 (76 FR 49202); the red-crowned parrot (Amazona viridigenalis) on 
October 6, 2011 (76 FR 62016); the yellow-billed parrot (Amazona 
collaria) on October 11, 2011 (76 FR 62740); and the blue-headed macaw 
(Primolius couloni) and grey-cheeked parakeet (Brotogeris pyrrhoptera) 
on October 12, 2011 (76 FR 63480).
    For the remaining four species that are the subject of this 
settlement agreement (the military macaw, the great green macaw, the 
scarlet macaw, and the hyacinth macaw), the Service agreed to submit 
12-month findings on the petitioned action to the Federal Register by 
June 30, 2012. This Federal Register document complies with the 
settlement agreement with respect to the military macaw and great green 
macaw. We will announce the 12-month findings for the remaining two 
parrot species for which a 90-day finding was made on July 14, 2009 (74 
FR 33957) in subsequent Federal Register notices.

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 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 
(especially breeding and foraging habitats), diet, and population 
abundance and trends (especially current recruitment data) of these 
species.
    (2) Information on the effects of habitat loss and changing land 
uses on the distribution and abundance of these 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 
these species.
    (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 these species.
    (5) The potential effects of climate change on these species and 
their habitats.
    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 ESA directs that 
determinations as to whether any species is an endangered or threatened 
species must be made ``solely on the basis of the best scientific and 
commercial data available.''

Public Hearing

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

Species Information for the Military Macaw

Taxonomy

    The military macaw (Ara militaris, Linnaeus 1766) is in the 
Psittacidae family and is also known as ``guacamaya verde,'' 
``parava,'' and ``ravine parrot.'' Three subspecies of military macaw 
have been proposed and are recognized by some: Ara militaris bolivianus 
(Reichenow 1908), Ara militaris mexicanus (Ridgway 1915), and Ara 
militaris militaris (Linnaeus 1766). Avibase, a database of all birds 
of the world maintained by Bird Studies Canada, and the Integrated 
Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) both recognize these subspecies 
(http://www.itis.gov and http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/avibase.jsp, 
accessed August 30, 2011). The range of A. m. bolivianus is thought to 
be in Bolivia and Argentina. The range of A. m. mexicanus is thought to 
be restricted to Mexico. However, the taxonomic status of Ara militaris 
remains unclear.
    Because it is a strong flyer (it has been observed traveling up to 
20 kilometers (km) (12 miles [mi]) per day) and it is a semi-migratory 
species, the physical similarities suggest that seemingly isolated 
populations may be in contact (Juniper and Parr 1998, p. 423), and 
therefore their populations may be connected genetically.
    For the purpose of this rule, all populations or subspecies of this 
species essentially face similar threats or threats of similar 
magnitude, are all generally in the same region, and all have quite 
small populations, generally fewer than 100 individuals. Absent peer-
reviewed information to the contrary and based on the best available 
information, we recognize all populations of military macaws as a 
single species. For the purpose of this proposed rule, we are proposing 
to list the military macaw, including all subspecies, as endangered.

Species Description

    The military macaw is an extremely vocal species; it is described 
as being very noisy and is known to shriek (Birdlife International 
(BLI) 2011, p. 1). It is a large macaw (70 centimeters or 27.5 inches 
in length) and is quite vibrant in color. It has dark lime-green 
feathers mixed with blue flight feathers that are olive-colored 
underneath. Its forehead is red, and it has a bare white facial area 
and a black bill. Its lower back is blue; its tail is red and blue. The 
farthest south population, in Bolivia,

[[Page 40174]]

which extends into Argentina, exhibits reddish brown on their throats 
and cheeks (Juniper and Parr 1998, p. 423). This species is often 
confused with the great green macaw. The great green macaw (Ara 
ambiguus) is very similar in appearance to the military macaw, but the 
military macaw has more prominent blue tinge on its hind neck, is 
smaller, and has darker plumage. These two species are separated 
geographically.

Habitat and Life History

    Military macaws nest both in tree cavities and cliffs. Parrots that 
nest in cavities in cliff walls such as the military macaw (Bonilla-Ruz 
et al. 2007, p. 730) also nest colonially (in groups). Cliff cavities 
in ravines used by this species have been documented 25 and 30 meters 
(m) (82 to 98 feet (ft)) above ground (Arcos-Torres and Solano-Ugalde 
2008, p. 70). Tree cavities used by this species have been observed to 
be 18 m (60 ft) above ground and 75 cm (29.5 inches) deep (Baker 1958, 
p. 98). This species has also been observed to use secondary cavities, 
such as abandoned woodpecker holes, particularly in dead pine trees 
(Strewe and Navarro 2004, p. 50). They alternate nesting and foraging 
areas based on food availability (Bonilla-Ruz undated, p. 1). Nesting 
appears to be synchronous with the peak fruiting season, which occurs 
during April and May (Huatatoca pers. comm. in Arcos-Torres and Solano-
Ugalde 2008, p. 70). The military macaw is a social species that 
congregates in small flocks and is often observed in mated pairs. Its 
clutch size is usually two to three eggs. They begin to reproduce 
between 3 and 4 years of age (Mexican National Commission for Protected 
Areas [CONANP] 2006 in Bonilla-Ruz undated, p. 2). Aggregated nesting 
is believed to be due to the lack of suitable disbursed nest sites, 
which may also explain why they are concentrated in certain sites 
(Salinas-Melgoza et al. 2009, p. 306).
    This species prefers the lower montane wet forests of the Andes. It 
inhabits remaining fragmented forested area in the Neotropics. However, 
in the northernmost part of its range, in Mexico, it is associated with 
seasonally dry, semi-deciduous tropical forest, deciduous tropical 
forest, and slopes of pine-oak forest (Bonilla-Ruz 2006, p. 45; Rivera-
Ortiz et al. 2006, p. 26).
    The military macaw is a seasonal migrant, based on food and 
nutrient availability. In some areas, it has been observed using clay 
licks to obtain sodium and possibly other minerals, which is a common 
activity in some parrot species (Lee 2010, p. 58). Its diet varies 
seasonally. It has been observed feeding on several plant species. Some 
of the plant species it was observed feeding on include: Brosimum 
alicastrum (Maya nut, ram[oacute]n), Bunchosia montana (no common name 
(ncn)), Bursera aptera (ncn), Bursera schlechtendalii (ncn), Celtis 
caudate (ncn), Cedrela species (cedar fruits), Cyrtocarpa procera 
(Chupandilla), Ficus species (figs), Hura crepitans (ochoo, arbol del 
diablo, acacu, monkey's dinner-bell, habillo, ceiba de leche, sand-box 
tree, possum wood, dynamite tree, ceiba blanca, assacu, posentri), Hura 
polyandra (arbol del diablo, haba, jabillo, tetereta), Melia azedarach 
(Chinaberry tree), Neobuxbaumia tetetzo, (cardon, higos de teteche, 
tetetzo), Orbignea guacoyula (a type of palm), Plumeria rubra 
(Frangipani), Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush), Tillandsia makoyana 
(ncn), and Tillandsia grandis (ncn) (Huellega 2011, p. 9; Moschione 
2007, in Navarro et al., 2008, p. 2; Contreras-Gonz[aacute]lez et al. 
2006, p. 387; Renton 2004, p. 12; Juniper and Parr 1998, p. 422). Seeds 
were found to be 39 percent of this species' diet. They have also been 
observed feeding on bromeliad stems (species unknown) and cacti 
(species unknown). In Mexico, in the northern part of its range, 
military macaws have been observed in desert habitat, although they 
tend to have lower reproductive success in this habitat type (Rivera-
Ortiz et al. 2008, p. 261). In desert habitat, which is suboptimal, it 
has been observed consuming edible flowers (species unidentified). 
Despite the low seasonal abundance of food, deserts offer some refuge 
from poaching due to the inhospitable dry climate, which can act as a 
deterrent to poachers (Rivera-Ortiz et al. 2008, p. 261).

Range, Observations, and Population Estimates

    The military macaw is distributed in highly fragmented, small 
populations in Mexico and South America. Its range extends from 
northern Mexico southward into Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, 
Bolivia, and the southern tip of Argentina (see Figure 1 or http://www.birdlife.org/ for an approximation of its range and distribution). 
The species has been described as patchily distributed throughout the 
eastern foothills of the Andes Mountains (Snyder et al. 2000, p. 125). 
It occurs in altitudes up to 1,600 m (5,249 ft) (Strewe and Navarro 
2004, p. 50; Strewe and Navarro 2003, p. 33; Snyder et al. 2000, 
chapter 7, pp. 102, 124-125). Although it has a large distribution 
(276,000 km\2\ (106,564 mi\2\)), its populations are localized. Most 
populations are now estimated to have fewer than 100 individuals 
(Renton 2004, pp. 12-14). However, in 2004, one population in Colombia 
was estimated to be 156 individuals (Fl[oacute]rez and Sierra 2004, p. 
3). This species may have occurred in Guatemala in the past, but it is 
no longer found there (Gardner 1972 in Snyder et al. 2000, p. 125). 
Overall, its populations are fragmented and becoming more isolated 
(Rivera-Ortiz 2008, p. 256).

[[Page 40175]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP06JY12.003

    The species inhabits tropical semi-deciduous forests along the 
Pacific and Atlantic slopes through Central and South America. The best 
available information indicates there are reasonably healthy but small 
populations in El Cielo and Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserves in Mexico, 
Madidi and Ambor[oacute] National Parks, Pil[oacute]n Lajas Biosphere 
Reserve and Apolobamba National Integrated Management Area in Bolivia, 
and Manu Biosphere Reserve and Bahuaja Sonene National Park in Peru, 
and a small but stable remnant population in Tehuacan-Cuicatlan 
Biosphere Reserve, Oaxaca, Mexico (Hosner et al. 2009, p. 222; 
Arizmendi 2008, p. 3; Rivera-Ortiz 2008, p. 256; Renton 2004, p. 14).

Argentina

    Argentina is the southernmost part of this species' range, and here 
the species has never thought to have been abundant (Navarro et al. 
2008, p. 1). In fact, this species was initially thought to be 
extirpated (locally extinct) in Argentina, but recent surveys have 
found small populations of this species in at least two locations in 
the northern province of Salta. There are anecdotal reports of this 
species crossing the Ita[uacute] River (Navarro et al. 2008, p. 3), 
which borders Bolivia and Argentina. Between 2005 and 2007, 
approximately 100 individuals were observed in the Salta Province 
(Coconier et al. 2007, p. 59). These areas include: Finca Itaguazuti, 
and the Acambuco Provincial Flora and Fauna Reserve (8,266 hectares 
[ha] or 20,426 acres [ac]) in the Tartagal Mountains and which borders 
Bolivia (BLI 2011b; Navarro et al. 2008, p. 1; Coconier et al. 2007, p. 
59). In 2008, flocks of between 4 and 40 individuals of this species 
were observed in three ravines in the Salta Province. These locations 
were the Agua Fresca (Cool Water) Ravine north of Campo Cauzuti, El 
Lim[oacute]n Ravine (which had the largest population), and the 
Carapar[iacute] River Ravine. These are believed to be established 
populations, rather than flocks crossing over from Bolivia (Navarro et 
al. 2008, p. 1).

Bolivia

    In Bolivia, the military macaw is regularly observed in five 
national parks (Hennessey 2010, pers. comm.). This species exists in 
the Andean foothills in Bolivia in forested areas extending from the 
northern Tambopata National Reserve to the southern Pil[oacute]n Lajas 
Reserve (Hennessey et al. 2003, p. 319). These parks are in the general 
vicinity of the border of southern Peru and northern Bolivia (Hosner et 
al. 2009, p. 222; Navarro et al. 2008, p. 2; Hennessey et al. 2003, p. 
322). They are part of the Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape (known as 
``Parque Nacional Madidi'' or GMTL). Within the GMTL, there are thought 
to be reasonably healthy populations of this species in the Apolobamba 
National Integrated Management Area, Ambor[oacute] and Madidi National 
Parks, and Pil[oacute]n Lajas Biosphere Reserve (Hennessey 2011 pers. 
comm.; Hosner et al. 2009, p. 225). The GMTL is 110,074 km\2\ (42,500 
mi\2\) in size, and encompasses one of the largest areas of intact 
montane forest in the tropical Andes (WCS 2009, p. 2). This area is a 
high conservation priority due to its large number of endemic bird 
species (Hennessey et al. 2003, p. 319). Pil[oacute]n Lajas consists of 
primary evergreen tropical lowland forest, foothill forest, and lower 
montane forest. Pil[oacute]n Lajas was recognized as a Biosphere 
Reserve and Indigenous Territory by the Bolivian Government in

[[Page 40176]]

1992; however, it did not have any actual protections in place until 
1994. This area in the past has been managed via a partnership with 
Veterinarians Without Frontiers (CEPF 2000, p. 28).
    In 2008, this species was observed at Serran[iacute]a Sadiri in 
Madidi National Park, La Paz Department, Bolivia (Hosner et al. 2009, 
p. 225). Serran[iacute]a Sadiri is found just inside Madidi National 
Park. Here, flocks of between 2 and 36 individuals have been observed 
(Hosner et al. 2009, p. 228). The Pil[oacute]n Lajas Biosphere Reserve 
is primarily in La Paz Department, but slightly overlaps into the Beni 
Department. Here, this species is described as uncommon (Hennessey 
2003, p. 329). It was observed in Parapetiguasu-Taremakua, and 
Parapetiguas-Uruwigua in Santa Cruz, Cordillera Province, and at 
Altamachi and Madidi in Cochabamba, Ayopaya Province (MacLeod 2009, pp. 
42-43). In summary, within Bolivia, there are many small populations of 
this species in areas that provide suitable habitat for this species 
(primarily large forest patches under some form of protection) (Herzog 
2011 pers. comm.).

Colombia

    In the late 1990s, there were approximately five disjunct 
populations in the central Andes mountains (Snyder et al. 2000, p. 
125). In Colombia, groups of 50 individuals have been observed, and in 
one case, a population was estimated to have 156 individuals 
(Fl[oacute]rez and Sierra 2004, pp. 2-3). In most cases, the presence 
of these groups is related to cliff formations favorable for nesting 
(where they are less accessible to poachers), and where deforestation 
is having less of an impact (Fl[oacute]rez and Sierra 2004, pp. 2-3; 
Rodriguez and Hern[aacute]ndez-Camacho 2002, p. 203). In Colombia, this 
species inhabits a wide range of altitudes and areas with various 
degrees of alteration (Fl[oacute]rez and Sierra 2004, pp. 1-3; Juniper 
and Parr 1998). In Colombia, this species has been observed between 
altitudes of 700 and 1,600 m (2,297 to 5,249 ft) (Fl[oacute]rez and 
Sierra 2004, pp. 1-3; Salaman et al. 2002, pp. 167, 187). Populations 
have been observed in Guajira peninsula, Las Orquideas, Tayrona 
National Park, Serran[iacute]a de Perij[aacute], Serran[iacute]a de San 
Lucas, San Salvador Valley, Sierra Nevada De Santa Marta, La Guajira 
Department, and Cueva de los Guacharos National Park (Strewe and 
Navarro 2003, p. 32). In 1998, this species was observed in flocks of 
up to 12 individuals at Villa Iguana and Alto Cagadero in 
Serran[iacute]a de los Churumbelos (Salaman et al. 2007, pp. 33, 38, 
47, 89). It has been observed in palm stands in the San Salvador valley 
during the breeding season (December--July) (Strewe and Navarro 2003, 
p. 33). At Cueva de los Guacharos National Park, flocks of up to 16 
have been observed (Strewe and Navarro 2003, p. 32).
    There are two small, stable populations of military macaws at 
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Sierra meaning mountain range) and 
Churumbelos, Cauca, with approximately 50 mature birds at each site 
(Fundaci[oacute]n ProAves 2011a). In 2004, Fl[oacute]rez and Sierra 
estimated that the population in the cliffs of the Cauca River was 156 
individuals and contained 54 breeding pairs and 26 nests (2004, p. 3). 
However, this population is subjected to impacts from poaching and 
deforestation (Fl[oacute]rez and Sierra, 2004, pp. 3-4), so the 
population now may be smaller. These researchers also noted that many 
chicks fall from the cliff nests and die. A new population was recently 
reported at two locations in the Catatumbo-Bar[iacute] National Park on 
the Colombian-Venezuelan border (Avenda[ntilde]o in litt). There are no 
recent records in northern Antioquia (Paramillo), Serran[iacute]a de 
San Lucas, or Perij[aacute] ranges (Fundaci[oacute]n ProAves 2011a, pp. 
28-29).
    In the Fr[iacute]o Valley of Colombia, this species is reported to 
only be present during the breeding season (Strewe and Navarro 2004, p. 
50). Several nests were found here in forest fragments. A population at 
El Congo Reserve was intensively studied in 2001. One nest was located 
12 m (39 ft) above ground in a Ceiba tree, within open primary forest 
on a steep slope at 900 m (2,953 ft). A breeding population of 12 
pairs, with groups of up to 28 was observed in December 2000. However, 
here it is still threatened in the valley by habitat loss and domestic 
trade (two cases noted in 2001) (Strewe and Navarro 2004, p. 50), and 
the population may now be decimated.

Ecuador

    In Ecuador, this species is considered to be very rare (Arcos-
Torres and Solano-Ugalde 2008, p. 72). This species has been observed 
in the areas of Sumaco and Zamora-Chinchipe in Ecuador (Snyder et al. 
2000, p. 125) and at Kichwa River Reserve (Reserva Kichwa R[iacute]o), 
within the Gran Sumaco Guacamayos Biosphere Reserve (Arcos-Torres and 
Solano-Ugalde 2008, p. 72). Most records of military macaw in Ecuador 
during the 1980s and 1990s found groups of up to 20 individuals 
(Ridgely and Greenfield 2001); however, lately most records have not 
exceeded 8 individuals (Arcos -Torres and Solano-Ugalde 2008, p. 72) 
except for a breeding colony of 16 individuals that was observed in the 
Reserva Kichwa R[iacute]o (Arcos-Torres and Solano-Ugalde 2008, pp. 70, 
72). Prior to 1980, it was observed in the upper Upano River Valley 
(Ridgely 1980 p. 244). In 2006, 200 ha (494 ac) were turned into the 
Narupa Reserve, where this species has been observed recently 
(Fundaci[oacute]n ProAves et al. 2010, p. 42). Additionally, in 2010, a 
pair of military macaws was observed in northern Ecuador in the Sumaco 
region (Olah and Barnes 2010, p. 19).

Mexico

    There are at least four populations of military macaws that are 
believed to exist in Mexico, each consisting of between 30 and 90 
individuals (Rivera-Ortiz et al. 2008, p. 256). Those populations are 
discussed below. Identification of these populations is difficult for 
two reasons. First, this species is thought to primarily breed and 
forage in remote areas that are difficult to access, and second, it is 
a semi-migratory species that follows seasonal food sources, so flocks 
move to other areas seasonally. In Mexico, there are reasonably healthy 
but small populations in the following areas:
     Tehuacan-Cuicatlan Biosphere Reserve (at the border of 
Puebla and Oaxaca States),
     Mineral de Nuestra Se[ntilde]ora Reserve (Sinaloa State),
     El Cielo Biosphere Reserve (Tamaulipas State),
     Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve (Quer[eacute]taro State), 
and
     Sierra Manantl[aacute]n Biosphere Reserve (Jalisco State).

[[Page 40177]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP06JY12.004

    In Mexico, there may also be isolated populations of military 
macaws in other States. Figure 2 shows the current and historical 
distribution of the military macaw in Mexico (Arizmendi 2008, p. 4). 
Other States where it may exist include Colima, Durango, Guerrero, 
Michoac[aacute]n, Morelos, Nayarit (in the Valley of Flags or ``Valle 
de Banderas''), Nuevo Le[oacute]n, San Luis Potos[iacute], and 
Zacatecas, although in some cases, there are no recent records of the 
species in several of the previously mentioned States (Bonilla-Ruz 2011 
pers. comm.; Nova-Mu[ntilde]oz 2006, p. 20; I[ntilde]igo-El[iacute]as 
1999, 2000 in Almaz[aacute]n-N[uacute][ntilde]ez 2006, p. 20). Areas 
where it has been recently documented are described below.

Chihuahua

    Researchers believe there is a remaining population in the Sierra 
Madre Occidental Mountains (north-central Mexico) in Otachique (Cruz-
Nieto et al. 2006, p. 14). In 2005, 25 nests were observed (Cruz-Nieto 
et al. 2006, p. 14). This canyon is approximately 700 m (0.5 miles) 
wide by 14 km (8.6 miles) in length and consists of mature pines, firs, 
and oaks. Some gallery temperate forest remains in this area.

Jalisco

    This species is found sporadically in the western foothills of 
Sierra del Cuale and Sierra Cacoma in Jalisco on the western coast of 
Mexico (Renton 2004, pp. 13-14). Here, it was observed in 2004, near a 
freshwater lake, Caj[oacute]n de Pe[ntilde]a (26 by 9 km (16 by 5.6 mi) 
in size), which was constructed in 1976. It is found in the Chamela-
Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve (132,000 ha or 32,617 ac), which is managed 
by Mexico's Instituto de Ecologia of the National Autonomous University 
of Mexico (UNAM) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Patches of 
semi-deciduous forest in this area form corridors between existing 
protected areas, such as the Chamela-Cuixmala and the Sierra 
Manatl[aacute]n Biosphere Reserves (Renton 2004, p. 14). These patches 
likely have served as critical ecological links for this species.

Oaxaca

    This species has recently been the focus of research in Sabino 
Canyon, Oaxaca. Sabino Canyon is in the Tehuacan-Cuicatlan Biosphere 
Reserve (Reserva de la Biosfera Tehuacan Cuicatlan) in central Mexico. 
In 2001, this species was observed in two canyons within this reserve. 
In both ravines, 20 pairs were observed nesting (Salazar-Torres 2001, 
p. 18). Here, this species nests in the canyon cliff walls in crevices 
that can be as high as 250 m (820 ft). Between 2002 and 2004, 
approximately 100 individual military macaws were observed (Bonilla-Ruz 
et al. 2007, p. 729). During 2007-2008, at least 67 birds were observed 
during the

[[Page 40178]]

month of August (Rivera-Ortiz et al. 2008, p. 256; Rivera-Ortiz et al. 
2007, p. 26). This area is thought to be a fairly new site for this 
species (Rivera-Ortiz et al. 2007, p. 28). The known nesting site 
locations within the reserve increased from five to nine during the 
study period (Rivera-Ortiz et al. 2007, p. 28). Currently in the Sabino 
Canyon, the population of military macaws is thought to be between 90 
and 100 individuals (Arizmendi 2008, p. 15). This is a large reserve, 
which was created in 1998. It spans 490,187 ha (1,211,278 ac) and is 
located within the Mixteca Oaxaque[ntilde]a Province between the cities 
of Puebla and Or[iacute]zaba. It is approximately 150 km (93 mi) 
southeast of Mexico City (http://www.parkswatch.org, accessed July 11, 
2011) and approximately 2 hours from Tehuacan, Oaxaca, Mexico. Large 
mountain ranges delineate the boundaries of the reserve, and six rivers 
are within the protected area's boundaries.

Sinaloa

    This species exists in Mineral de Nuestra Se[ntilde]ora de la 
Candelaria Ecological Preserve, 12 km (7.4 mi) southeast of the town of 
Cosala in Sinaloa, Mexico (Rubio et al. 2007, p. 52; Bonilla-Ruz et al. 
2006, p. 45). Its area is 1,256 ha (3,104 ac) and consists of dry 
tropical forest. In 2002, this area was designated as a protected area 
by the State of Sinaloa Decree.

Sonora

    Between 2008 and 2009, it was observed at the Northern Jaguar 
Reserve in east-central Sonora (Flesch 2009, pp. 5, 12), and was 
described as a rare summer resident here. In this area, this species 
was recently observed in small flocks in cliff areas (Flesch 2008, pp. 
35-36). In 2005, it was observed in the R[iacute]o Aros canyon and 
upper R[iacute]o Yaqui valley in an area known as the Yaqui Basin 
(O'Brien et al. 2006, pp. 4, 28). Flesch suggests that the species is 
likely to occur only in cliffs near stands of tropical vegetation (full 
citation 2008, p. 27).

Tamaulipas

    Historically, in Mexico's eastern State of Tamaulipas, flocks of 
approximately 60 individuals were noted almost daily in the area of 
G[oacute]mez Far[iacute]as, Mexico (Sutton and Pettingill 1942, p. 14). 
The G[oacute]mez Far[iacute]as region is on the eastern slope of the 
Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range, known locally as the ``Sierra de 
Guatemala.'' This area is in the general vicinity of the state-
protected El Cielo Biosphere Reserve, where this species is still known 
to occur (Arvin 2001, p. 8). The University of Texas, Brownsville 
maintains a research station, Rancho del Cielo, within the 145,687-
hectare (360,000-acre) reserve. The research station supports locally 
driven scientific research and community development (University of 
Texas, Brownsville, unpaginated). Activities conducted by the research 
station have positive impacts on this species by attracting researchers 
and the birding community, preserving and protecting habitat, and 
creating awareness in the area.

Peru

    There are populations in Manu Biosphere Reserve, Tambopata National 
Reserve, and Bahuaja Sonene National Park in Peru. The two latter parks 
border one another in the southern Peruvian Amazon region (ParksWatch 
2002, p. 1). This species has been observed around the Pongo de 
Mainique of the Urubamba River and on the upper Tambopata River (Snyder 
et al. 2000, p. 125). Recently, it was observed in the Madre de Dios 
department in the southeastern Peruvian Amazon (Lee 2010, p. 14). 
Flocks of 40 to 50 individuals have been observed in Atalya at Madre de 
Dios (Snyder et al. 2000, p. 125). The species has been observed 
seasonally in small numbers in the area of the Hu[aacute]llaga River 
Canyon (JGP Consultants 2011 pp. 1, 5, 8).

Venezuela

    Within Venezuela, it has been documented primarily within protected 
areas. In this country, little information about the species exists 
(Rodriguez et al. 2004, pp. 375-376). Here it persists in the Andes in 
the Central Coastal Cordillera and Sierra de Perij[aacute] (Rodriguez 
et al. 2004, pp. 375, 378, 379). It has been found on the north slopes 
of El [Aacute]vila, Guatopo, Henri Pittier National Park, the State of 
Cojedes, Cerro La Misi[oacute]n, and Sierra de Perij[aacute] National 
Park (Desenne and Strahl 1994 and Fernandez-Badillo et al. 1994 in 
Snyder et al. 2000, p. 125). A new population of this species was 
recorded at two localities at the Catatumbo-Bar[iacute] National Park 
at the Colombian-Venezuelan border (Avenda[ntilde]o in litt). Moist 
forests exist as four distinct enclaves within the Catatumbo Valley, in 
both northwestern Venezuela and northeastern Colombia. This extends the 
species' previously known range from the east slope of the 
Serran[iacute]a de Perij[aacute] southwards (Avenda[ntilde]o in litt).

Summary of Range

    According to several recent surveys, the military macaw exists in 
small populations ranging from a few pairs to approximately 100 
individuals. It is found primarily in protected areas in Mexico, 
Colombia, Bolivia, and to a lesser extent, in Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, 
and Argentina (see Figure 1), where large areas of suitable habitat 
remain. The population in the Pil[oacute]n Lajas Biosphere Reserve, 
Bolivia, may serve as a link to other populations of this species to 
the northwest and to the south (Hennessey et al. 2003, pp. 330-331). 
Recent records of this species usually, but not always, find this 
species in protected areas (Flesch 2009; MacLeod 2009; Flesch 2008; 
Fl[oacute]rez and Sierra 2004; Rodriguez 2004; Renton 2004; Hennessey 
et al. 2003). These records find this species in areas such as 
protected parks where there are large remaining areas of suitable 
habitat for nesting, feeding, and breeding (see Figure 1).
    Most current, available records of this species pertain to 
populations in Bolivia and Mexico, and to a smaller extent in Peru and 
Colombia. We do not know how this species is distributed outside of 
parks and protected areas other than what has been described in this 
status review, but it is likely that the species is primarily 
restricted to protected areas for the following reasons:
    (1) It is a large species that requires habitat containing large 
trees or cliffs for nesting, both of which are limited, and large areas 
of suitable habitat for nesting, feeding, and breeding.
    (2) This species requires a variety of specific plant species 
throughout the year for feeding, which likely only remain in enough 
abundance in protected areas.
    (3) The species persists in areas where they are less accessible to 
poaching because they are located farther from roads.
    (4) In some cases there are conservation awareness programs in 
place in these protected areas.
    (5) Protected areas often offer some measure of protection from 
threats to the species.

Summary of Population Estimate

    There are various but imprecise population estimates for this 
species. One report estimates the population to be fewer than 10,000 
individuals (Arizmendi 2008, p. 3). BLI reports that the population is 
estimated to be between 10,000 and 19,999 mature individuals with a 
decreasing trend (BLI 2011, p. 1). We believe that the population is 
significantly fewer than 10,000 based on recent documented observations 
of this species, most of which are described in this status review. 
Researchers in Colombia agree

[[Page 40179]]

with our supposition (Botero-Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 13). 
Published literature (referenced in this document) has documented small 
flocks ranging from approximately 16 to 156 individuals distributed in 
disjunct locations in Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, 
Colombia, and Bolivia. In situations where species are rare or have 
small populations, the number of observations made per survey may be 
very small and the number of sites limited, and, therefore, estimates 
and projections may not be accurate (Pollack 2006, p. 891; Marsden 
1999, pp. 377-390).
    The current total population number is unclear; however, based on 
these recent records, we believe that the population is substantially 
fewer than 10,000 individuals for the following reasons:
     It is unlikely to exist in large numbers other than in the 
areas documented, or it exists in small flocks of similar numbers in 
undocumented areas.
     It is unlikely to persist in viable populations in areas 
outside of protected parks, which contain large forested areas that 
contain suitable habitat.
     There is little evidence or documentation of substantial 
flocks. Because this is a loud, charismatic species, it is logical to 
assume that where this species exists, at least in substantial flocks, 
there is documentation or evidence of the species publicly available.
     The areas where this species exists are likely known 
because the species tends to return to the same area to nest. It has 
been recorded to use one area for approximately 30 years (Fl[oacute]rez 
and Sierra 2004, p. 3).
     This species may exist in other areas where it has not 
been documented, but if so, it is likely to exist in very small flocks, 
based on the best available scientific and commercial information.
    We estimate that the population is closer to between 1,000 and a 
few thousand remaining individuals. However, with this status review, 
we are requesting information from range countries, species experts, 
local NGOs, and the public about this species regarding where it exists 
and current population estimates.

Conservation Status

    There are various protections in place for this species at the 
international, national, and local levels. At the international level, 
this species is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for 
Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (2011). However, this status under IUCN 
conveys no actual protections to the species.

CITES

    The military macaw is protected by the Convention on International 
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which is 
one of the most important means of controlling international trade in 
animal and plant species affected by trade. CITES is an international 
agreement through which member countries, called Parties, work together 
to ensure that international trade in CITES-listed animals and plants 
is not detrimental to the survival of wild populations by regulating 
their import, export, and reexport. All of the range countries for this 
species are Parties to CITES (CITES 2009, p. 1). Almost all psittacines 
(parrots), including the military macaw, were included in CITES 
Appendix II in 1981 (CITES 2008a, p. 1). This species was transferred 
to Appendix I of CITES in 1987, because populations were declining 
rapidly due to uncontrolled trapping for the international pet bird 
trade (CITES 1989a, pp. 1-7). An Appendix-I listing includes species 
threatened with extinction whose trade is permitted only under 
exceptional circumstances, which generally precludes commercial trade.

WBCA

    The import of the military macaw 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, in an effort to ensure 
that exotic bird species are not harmed by U.S. trade. The purpose of 
the WBCA is to promote the conservation of CITES-listed exotic birds by 
ensuring that all imports into the United States are (1) sustainable 
and (2) not detrimental to the species. Permits may be issued to allow 
imports of listed birds for scientific research, zoological breeding or 
display, or as a personal pet when certain criteria are met. 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 the Service approves a management 
plan for their sustainable use. At this time, the military macaw is not 
part of a Service-approved cooperative breeding program and does not 
have an approved management plan for wild-caught birds.

Argentina

    There is only a small population remaining in Argentina, in the 
northern province of Salta. This species is considered to be a 
critically endangered species by the Government of Argentina (Navarro 
et al. 2008, p. 1). It is protected through national legislation (Law 
22.421 and Decree 691/81), administered by the Direcci[oacute]n 
Nacional de Fauna y Flora Silvestres. Law 22.421 addresses the 
Conservation of Fauna, enacted in 1981. Decree 691/81 addresses the 
protection and conservation of wild fauna and is implemented through 
law 22.421.

Bolivia

    In Bolivia, this species is listed as vulnerable. The 1975 Law on 
Wildlife, National Parks, Hunting and Fishing (Decree Law No. 12,301 
1975, pp. 1-34) has the fundamental objective of protecting the 
country's natural resources. This law governs the protection, 
management, utilization, transportation, and selling of wildlife and 
their products. It also governs the protection of endangered species; 
habitat conservation of fauna and flora; and the declaration of 
national parks, biological reserves, refuges, and wildlife sanctuaries.

Colombia

    In Colombia, various protections are in place. Colombia categorizes 
this species as ``vulnerable'' (Salaman et al. 2009, p. 21). A 
vulnerable species is considered to be one that is not in imminent 
danger of extinction in the near future, but it could be if natural 
population trends continue downward and deterioration of its range 
continues (EcoLex 2002, p. 10).
    A conservation project focusing on the coffee zone of the middle 
R[iacute]o Fr[iacute]o is ongoing and its goal is to create a 
conservation corridor connecting natural habitats and shade-grown 
coffee plantations (Strewe and Navarro 2004, p. 51). The establishment 
of the private nature reserve, Buena Vista, was the first step to 
conserve the foothill forest ecosystems. This was done in close 
cooperation with a local organization, Grupo Ecologico Defensores de la 
Naturaleza--Campesinos de Palomino, (Strewe and Navarro 2003, pp. 34-
35). The Pro-Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Foundation (FPSNSM) maintains 
a permanent monitoring station at Buena Vista nature reserve. FPSNSM is 
working toward sustainable development projects in cooperation with 
local communities, national park units, and coffee-grower committees in 
the region. This includes educational campaigns to limit hunting. 
Habitat management takes place on private lands in the lowlands and 
foothills of the San Salvador valley to reduce the pressure on the 
remaining natural forest

[[Page 40180]]

habitats, including a reforestation program using native tree species. 
Additionally, forest reserves have been established as part of a 
network of private nature reserves in the valley (Strewe and Navarro 
2003, p. 35-36).

Ecuador

    In Ecuador, this species is considered endangered, ``en peligro de 
extinci[oacute]n'' (Arcos-Torres and Solano-Ugalde 2008, p. 69). Here, 
this species is considered to be very rare (Arcos-Torres and Solano-
Ugalde 2008, p. 72).

Mexico

    In Mexico, the military macaw is protected as endangered under 
Mexico's Wildlife Protection Act, and this species has been highlighted 
as a priority species for conservation in the Mexican Parrot 
Conservation Plan (Rivera-Ortiz et al. 2008, p. 256; Renton 2004, p. 
12). Its official list of endangered and threatened bird species is 
termed the Norma Oficial Mexicana 059 (NOM-059-ECOL).

Peru

    In Peru, this species is listed as vulnerable and its protections 
fall under the jurisdiction of the National Institute of Natural 
Resources (Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales, INRENA). Peru's 
Supreme Decree No. 034-2004-AG (2004, p. 276,855) prohibits hunting, 
take, transport, and trade of protected species, except as permitted by 
regulation.

Venezuela

    In Venezuela, this species is listed as endangered (Rodriguez et 
al. 2004, p. 376).

NGO Involvement

    In the 1980s, conservationists realized the value of identifying 
areas or habitat in terms of numbers of endemic bird species. BirdLife 
International, in partnership with countries, other nongovernmental 
organizations (NGOs), and various other partners, developed the 
Important Bird Area (IBA) program, which is a worldwide initiative to 
identify and protect critical areas for bird conservation. IBAs are 
areas that regularly contain significant numbers of one or more 
globally threatened species or other species of global conservation 
concern. One of the criteria in identifying important regions for bird 
conservation is the distribution of restricted-range and globally 
threatened species such as the military macaw. As of 2007, more than 
8,500 IBAs had been identified worldwide (Garc[iacute]a-Moreno et al. 
2007, p. 1). The military macaw has triggered the IBA criteria for 37 
IBAs (BLI 2011, pers. comm.) Note that this does not mean this species 
always occupies these areas; rather, the species has been identified in 
these areas.
    A number of locally based and international conservation 
organizations have developed programs in connection with protected 
areas within this species' range such as ecotourism associated with 
clay licks (Lee 2010, pp. 167-168). The Wildlife Conservation Society 
(WCS) is implementing a range of projects aimed at strengthening the 
management of Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape in Bolivia. Its 
program is based on three main categories: (1) Park management, (2) 
natural resources management, and (3) scientific research (Parks Watch 
2005a, p. 35). In the Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape, where the WCS 
is monitoring populations of the military macaw (WCS 2009, p. 8), the 
area encompasses one of the largest swaths of intact montane forest in 
the Tropical Andes in northern Bolivia and southern Peru. It is 110,074 
km\2\ (42,500 mi\2\) and includes five protected areas.
    A Colombian-based NGO, Fundaci[oacute]n ProAves, is also working to 
protect this species and its habitats. Fundaci[oacute]n ProAves 
developed a conservation plan for 2010 to 2020 for several parrot 
species, including the military macaw (Botero-Delgadillo and 
P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 7). However, it is unclear if or when it will be 
adopted by the Government of Colombia.
    In Mexico, several NGOs are participating in the conservation and 
management of this species. In 1989, a strong citizen movement began to 
conserve the 383,567-ha (947,815-ac) Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve by 
establishing the local group, Grupo Ecol[oacute]gico Sierra Gorda. In 
collaboration with the local community, this group has taken action to 
effectively protect bird communities as well as other groups of 
wildlife in this area. Strategies include environmental education, the 
establishment of private reserves, and payment for environmental 
services in a 25,000-ha (61,776-ac) area of this reserve (Pedraza-Ruiz, 
2008 p. 1). The Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve is managed by 
Mexico's Instituto de Ecologia of the National Autonomous University of 
Mexico (UNAM) and local NGOs. Other NGOs are working with communities 
to obtain macaw feathers from aviaries so that indigenous people will 
not hunt the macaws for their feathers (Renton 2004, p. 14). In the 
Sinaloa area, the Universidad Aut[oacute]noma de Sinaloa has been 
active in conservation of this species since 1998 (Rubio et al. 2007, 
p. 52). This university conducts research, and conducts outreach 
activities to foster knowledge and conservation of this species at the 
Mineral de Nuestra Se[ntilde]ora de la Candelaria Ecological Preserve.

Evaluation of Threat Factors

Introduction

    Throughout the range of this species, the factors impacting this 
species are generally very similar. The current primary factors 
affecting the military macaw are habitat loss and degradation, and 
poaching (Gasta[ntilde]aga et al. 2011, entire; Strewe and Navarro 
2004, p. 50). Habitat loss is primarily due to conversion of the 
species' habitat (generally forests) to agriculture and other forms 
that are not optimal for the military macaw (Donald et al. 2010, p. 26; 
Fl[oacute]rez and Sierra 2004, p. 3). Conversion of habitat to soy 
plantations is now considered to be one of the principal causes of 
Amazon deforestation (Bonilha 2008, p. 17). Because this species has a 
small and fragmented population, poaching, while apparently uncommon, 
remains a concern (Botero-Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 13).
    This status review focuses primarily on where this species has been 
documented, in parks and other areas with protected status and the 
peripheral zones. In some cases, we will evaluate the factor by 
country. In other cases, we may evaluate the factor by a broader 
region, if we do not have adequate information specific to a particular 
country about this species. This is because often threats are the same 
or very similar throughout the species' range. For particular areas in 
which we lack information about the species, we request additional 
information from the public during this proposed rule's comment period 
(see DATES, above).
A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment 
of its Habitat or Range
    The military macaw has a large but fragmented distribution (276,000 
km\2\ (106,564 mi\2\)), and not all locations where the military macaw 
exists are known. Habitat destruction and modification is one of the 
main threats to the military macaw; significant amounts of this 
species' habitat have been converted such that its habitat is no longer 
suitable and no longer provides adequate shelter (nesting sites) and 
food sources, and these causes of habitat loss are likely to continue. 
Between 2000 and 2005, of all the continents, South America had the 
largest net loss of forested area, experiencing a loss of 4.3 million 
ha

[[Page 40181]]

(10.6 million ac) per year (FAO 2006 in Mosandl et al. 2008, p. 38). In 
some countries, extractive activities for nontimber forest products 
occur, such as the removal of palm trees (Arecaceae family) to obtain 
hearts of palm (ParksWatch 2011; http://www.tropicalforestresearch.org). Currently, the military macaw exists 
in many parks and other areas that have protected status (Coconier et 
al. 2009, p. 63; Arizmendi 2008, p. 4; Rodriguez et al. 2004, p. 78; 
Renton 2004, p. 12). Studies have found that compared with the 
surrounding areas, conditions inside the parks were significantly 
better than their surrounding areas (Bruner et al. 2001, p. 125). One 
study found that in 40 percent of tropical parks, land that had 
formerly been under cultivation and that was incorporated into park 
boundaries had recovered. This subsequently led to an actual increase 
in vegetative cover. The study found that 83 percent of parks were 
successful at mitigating encroachment (Bruner et al. 2001, p. 125). 
This was confirmed in a more recent study that found that forests in 
conservation units were four times better at protecting against 
deforestation than unprotected areas (Oliveira et al. 2007, p. 1,235). 
However, this species still faces habitat loss, even in protected 
areas.
    We are limiting our analysis to areas where there is readily 
available information about this species. For instance, there is very 
little information available about this species in Argentina and 
Venezuela (Coconier et al. 2009; Navarro et al. 2008, p. 1; Coconier et 
al. 2007; Rodriguez et al. 2004). However, in both of these countries, 
the species faces similar threats (such as the lack of suitable 
habitat) as in other countries (Rodriguez et al. 2004, p. 373). The 
largest populations of this species, discussed in detail in the Range, 
Observations, and Population Estimates section, appear to be in Mexico 
and Bolivia. Even in these countries, its populations are small and its 
distribution is fragmented. In other countries within its range such as 
Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador, it exists in smaller populations, and 
Argentina and Venezuela have even smaller and possibly negligible 
populations. Additionally, the military macaw may have occurred in 
Guatemala in the past, but it is no longer found there (Gardner 1972 in 
Snyder et al. 2000, p. 125). We invite experts and the public to 
provide any additional information they may have about the species in 
these countries, which we will consider and incorporate into the 
decision making process for our final determination on this proposed 
action.

Argentina

    In Argentina, habitat destruction, particularly deforestation for 
agricultural expansion for soy plantation, and timber extraction have 
significantly increased in recent years (Devenish 2009, p. 60; Chebez 
et al. in litt. in Navarro et al. 2008, pp. 7, 9; DiPaola et al. 2008, 
pp. 1, 8; FAO 2007, p. 42). The species was thought to no longer exist 
in Argentina, which is the southernmost part of its range, but recent 
surveys found small populations of this species in at least two 
locations in the Salta Province (Navarro et al. 2008, p. 1). The 
primary threat to forested areas in Argentina is the expansion of 
agriculture, particularly soy, into remaining habitat such as the Chaco 
plains in the Andes mountain range (Centro de Acci[oacute]n Popular 
Olga M[aacute]rqu[eacute]z de Aredez (CAPOMA) 2009, p. 6). The practice 
of drying swamps through channeling is common in northern Argentina, 
particularly for producing soybeans, which have an increasing demand in 
the global market. The current rate of deforestation stands at 25,000 
ha (61,776 ac) per year resulting from land converted to agricultural 
use (Devenish 2009, p. 60). The area converted to soy production 
increased from as little as 3 percent in the 1970s to 40 percent of the 
total crop area in 2003, covering 14 million ha (34.6 million ac) 
(Devenish 2009, p. 60). Conversion of lands to soy production is 
favored by the current political and economic climate, both at the 
global and national levels (Devenish 2009, p. 60). With regard to other 
types of land use, the area used for cattle ranching has decreased, but 
exotic tree plantations have doubled (Devenish 2009, p. 60).
    In addition, pipeline routes and associated roads are being 
established in this area in connection with oil, gas, and mineral 
exploration (Navarro et al. 2008, pp. 7, 9). Road building operations 
greatly facilitate access to large, previously inaccessible forested 
areas (Fimbel et al. 2001, pp. 511-512). The area occupied by permanent 
facilities including pipelines and refineries is relatively small, but 
oil development areas cover large tracts of land. Oil development can 
have significant negative impacts on nearby habitat through 
construction of roads and other buildings, discharge of contaminants, 
and oil spills and leaks (Rhee et al. 2004, chap. 6, p. 31).
    Although some of this species' habitat is protected, its habitat 
continues to shrink in Argentina. In the area of Acambuco, where the 
military macaw has been observed, the designation of Acambuco Reserve 
as a provincial reserve provides some protective measures. The purposes 
of this reserve, in part, are to preserve its genetic resources, to 
preserve the environment surrounding catch basins of its rivers, and to 
guarantee the maintenance of the biodiversity living in the reserve. 
However, in the Salta Province, this species is primarily found in 
areas that are unprotected, with the exception of the Acambuco Reserve. 
In summary, significant amounts of this species' habitat have been 
converted such that its habitat is no longer suitable, and these causes 
of habitat loss are likely to continue.

Bolivia

    Madidi National Park experiences threats representative of threats 
to this species' habitat in Bolivia, and this is one of the key areas 
where this species likely has a viable population in Bolivia. Thus, we 
focused our analysis on this park. The National Service of Protected 
Areas (SERNAP) has authority over Bolivia's parks and protected lands. 
Approximately 53 percent (57.2 million ha; 141.3 million ac) of 
Bolivia's total area is forested (FAO 2011, p. 118). Of this area, 38.9 
million ha (96.1 million ac) are within the Bolivian Amazon and 
constitute 5 percent of the total Amazon forest (Locklin and Haack 
2003, p. 774). As of 2005, Bolivia had 12 national parks, including 6 
with integrated management natural areas, 1 with indigenous territory 
(or communal lands), and 4 national reserves; 2 biosphere reserves; and 
3 integrated management natural areas, totaling 16,834,380 ha 
(41,598,659 ac) (ParksWatch 2005, p. 2). A discussion of typical 
threats in Bolivia's parks follows. The region suffers from chronic and 
intense poverty levels, which affect more than 90 percent of the 
population (Instituto Nacional de Estad[iacute]stica de Bolivia (INE) 
2005). The result is intense conflict between development and 
conservation. In Madidi National Park, the three greatest threats to 
the nature preserve are the construction of a highway within the park, 
drilling for oil, and a planned hydroelectric dam. Other activities 
that are impacting or are likely to impact this park are illegal 
logging, gold mining, and uncontrolled tourism (ParksWatch 2011b, pp. 
1-15; Chavez 2010, pp. 1-2).

Deforestation and Logging

    The forests of Bolivia have mainly been subjected to selective 
logging (Salo and Toivonen 2009, p. 610; Fredericksen 2003, p. 10), 
which has been done at very low levels and with

[[Page 40182]]

low human pressures (Pacheco 2006, p. 206), allowing them so far to 
remain largely intact. In the five national parks where the military 
macaw is regularly observed, there are some protections in place for 
the species' habitat (Hennessey 2010, pers. comm.). However, logging 
still occurs within the range of this species (ParksWatch 2011b, p. 1). 
Large tracts of primary forest remain in Bolivia, but it is likely that 
some of these will be subjected to logging (Fredericksen 2003, p. 13) 
due to slash-and-burn activities by indigenous communities, and because 
forest products are one of Bolivia's primary exports (Byers and Israel 
2008, p. vi). The use of slash-and-burn practices on steep and erodible 
slopes has considerably affected the area's hydrological regime, 
particularly near the city of Santa Cruz. In many areas of human 
settlement, soil erosion is compounded by logging, nutrient depletion, 
and weed invasion.
    As of 2006, 89 timber companies held the rights to 5.8 million ha 
(14.3 million ac) of logging concessions (Pacheco 2006, p. 208). The 
Bolivian Forestry Law of 1996 (Forestry Law 1700) requires the 
preparation and approval of management plans and adherence to best 
management practices ((BMPs) (Nter et al. 2011, p. 292; Fredericksen 
2003, p. 10). For instance, harvesters must pre-map harvestable trees 
(which have minimum diameter limits), protect seed trees, and set aside 
areas that are designated as protected or not harvestable (Nter et al. 
2011, p. 292). Management issues still need to be addressed, including 
sufficient regeneration time for commercial species (Fredericksen 2003, 
p. 10). However, Bolivia continues to attempt to balance the use of its 
natural resources with competing priorities. For example, the 
Pil[oacute]n Lajas Management Plan divided the reserve into specific 
zones to combine indigenous community rights with conservation 
initiatives (Hennessey et al. 2003, p. 320). Despite national laws and 
regulations, activities such as illegal timber extraction continue to 
spread unabated (World Bank 2006, p. 8; U.S. Forest Service 2007, p. 2; 
Pacheco 2006, p. 208; TRAFFIC 2006, p. v).

Roads

    There are increasing demands for road infrastructure within Bolivia 
for many reasons. It is one of the poorest countries in South America 
(MacLeod 2009, p. 6; INE 2005), and the government would like to 
improve its economy (ParksWatch 2011b, p. 13). The construction of the 
Apolo-Ixiamas Road is one way of facilitating access to its natural 
resources. A road has been proposed that would bisect the Madidi 
National Park and Natural Integrated Management Area, opening vast, 
currently inaccessible tropical forest areas to colonization and 
resource extraction (ParksWatch 2011b, pp. 1-2; Fleck et al. 2006, p. 
13). This can promote illegal logging, and facilitate access to 
previously inaccessible forested areas (Fimbel et al. 2001, pp. 511-
512). The construction of roads through this park has been a source of 
controversy for several years (http://conservation-strategy.org/en/project/economics-road-through-madidi-national-park, accessed October 
6, 2011). The current status of the road and whether it will be 
constructed around the park or through the park remains unclear. 
However, regional development plans are often implemented without 
consideration of impacts on natural resources (WCS 2009, p. 4). Plans 
to connect Bolivia and Peru to Brazil's expanding markets and expand 
the energy industry (oil and gas) will affect fragile areas of high 
biodiversity (WCS 2009, p. 4). Roads constructed in the past have also 
been problematic. In the late 1990s, roads through Serran[iacute]a 
Sadiri spurred an increase in unsustainable logging of the area's 
mahogany trees, which were the most valuable tree at the time (World 
Land Trust 2010, p. 1).

Hydroelectric Power

    Possibly one of the greatest threats in the Madidi National Park is 
the proposed Bala Hydroelectric Dam Project at the Beni River in the 
Bala Gorge, where the Beni River goes through the Bala Mountain Range 
(WCS 2011, p. 2). El Bala Hydroelectric Dam, as proposed, could flood 
much of Madidi National Park and the adjacent biosphere reserve and 
indigenous territory Pil[oacute]n Lajas, which is an area of about 
2,000 km\2\ (4,942 mi\2\) (Chavez 2010, pp. 1-2; Bolivia Supreme Decree 
24191). Construction of dams can have severe impacts on ecosystems 
(McCartney et al. 2001, p. v). For example, a dam blocks the flow of 
sediment downstream. During construction of dams, disturbance to soils 
at the construction site is one of the largest concerns. This leads to 
downstream erosion and increased sediment buildup in a reservoir. 
Although the current status of this dam is unclear, it is clear that 
the Government of Bolivia is intent on becoming more self-reliant, in 
part through creating its own sources of energy through hydroelectric 
dams.

Oil Exploration

    In October 2010, the Bolivian Government approved Supreme Decree 
0676, which directly affects the Madidi National Park and the Biosphere 
Reserve and Indigenous land called Pil[oacute]n Lajas (http://www.oecoamazonia.com/en/news/bolivia/171-bolivia-transforma-parque-na-amazon; accessed September 13, 2011) by extending gas and oil 
exploration and development. Oil exploration in the region would not 
only affect the pristine nature of the Madidi National Park and 
Pil[oacute]n Lajas, but also the subsistence of the indigenous people 
living in the area (http://www.amazonfund.eu/art-oil-madidi.html, 
accessed September 13, 2011). The exact effects of oil exploration to 
this species are still unclear.

Other Pressures

    In Madidi National Park, there is limited legal hunting, but in the 
areas surveyed, this species was described as common and not exploited 
(Hosner et al. 2009, p. 226). Nine villages or communities are within 
the national park, and 22 are in the integrated management natural 
area. Of the 31 communities, three are located in the Andean plateau 
zone. In the lowlands, two of the communities occupy the zone of 
valleys around the municipality of Apolo. Madidi's buffer zone has an 
additional 11,000 indigenous inhabitants (Fleck et al. 2006, p. 29). 
Timber extraction still occurs here (WorldLand Trust 2010, p. 1). In 
2010, an additional 25,090 ha (62,000 ac) of pristine tropical 
rainforest in Bolivia were protected, following a decision by an 
indigenous community to create a tourism refuge in the Sadiri 
rainforest (WorldLand Trust 2010, p. 1). Landless Andean farmers make a 
living in the lowlands, and they at times expand the agricultural 
frontier, increasing the risk of disease transmission between domestic 
animals and wildlife, bringing crops and domestic animals closer to 
wildlife predators, and increasing hunting pressure in surrounding 
forests (WCS 2009, p. 4). Harvest of nontimber forest products such as 
palm hearts (in the Arecaceae or Palmaceae family), jatata (Geonoma 
species), pachiuva (Socratea exorrhiza), and jipijapa (Carludovica 
palmata) for subsistence (Fredericksen 2003, p. 13) also occurs.
    In summary, threats to the species' habitat in Bolivia include 
unsustainable land use practices, illegal logging, road building, and 
exploration activities for oil extraction, which are contributing to 
the erosion of Bolivia's ecosystems

[[Page 40183]]

(MacLeod 2009, p. 6; ParksWatch 2005, p. 1). Large tracts of primary 
forest remain in Bolivia, but it is likely that many of these will be 
subjected to logging and other pressures, such as extraction of 
nontimber forest products, particularly because forest products 
contribute to Bolivia's national exports (Byers and Israel 2008, p. 
vi). The Government of Bolivia is attempting to balance improving its 
economy with conservation initiatives, and some of its development 
initiatives may negatively impact this species' habitat. Despite 
protections in place, this species' habitat in Bolivia continues to 
experience these threats, and we expect these pressures to continue 
into the future.

Colombia

    In the past, human colonization, development, and exploration 
within the range of the species in Colombia were limited due to the 
exceptionally steep and high terrain of the Andes (Salaman et al. 2002, 
p. 160). However, researchers reported in 2004 that the Cauca River 
Canyon in northeastern Colombia, an area containing military macaws, 
was extensively deforested (Flor[eacute]z and Sierra 2004, p. 3). The 
main threats in the lowlands are the expansion of agriculture, 
particularly by small farmers in the middle altitude areas, and 
extractive activities such as hunting (including the removal of birds 
to sell as pets) and wood harvesting (Salaman et al. 2007, p. 89). As 
resources become scarcer in the lowlands, these pressures move upland. 
Associated with these farming practices is the use of livestock and the 
erosion caused by livestock grazing on steep slopes, as well as erosion 
due to cultivation.
    Until recently, forest cover was largely continuous in Colombia, 
but deforestation has increased dramatically (FAO 2010, pp. 22, 106; 
FAO 2002). Deforestation rates in lowland moist forest on the foothills 
of the eastern Andes of Colombia are rapidly accelerating. 
Deforestation has increased from 1.4 percent (1961-1979) to 4.4 percent 
(1979-1988), and is correlated with increasing human population density 
(Salaman et al. 2007, p. 89; Vi[ntilde]a and Cavelier 1999, p. 31). 
Primary forest habitats throughout Colombia have undergone extensive 
deforestation. Vi[ntilde]a et al. (2004, pp. 123-124) used satellite 
imagery to analyze deforestation rates and patterns along the 
Colombian-Ecuadorian border (in the Departments of Putumayo and 
Sucumbios, respectively), finding that between 1973 and 1996, a total 
of 829 km\2\ (320 mi\2\) of tropical forests within the study area were 
converted to other uses. This corresponds to a nearly one-third total 
loss of primary forest habitat, or a nearly 2 percent mean annual rate 
of deforestation within the study area.
    Since the 1970s, the Colombian Government has encouraged road 
construction and colonization projects. The goal is to create links to 
the vast and undeveloped Amazonian region, and to open up the Llanos 
and Amazonian lowlands for utilization of their natural resources 
(Salaman et al. 2007, pp. 10, 89; Salaman et al. 2002, p. 160). In 
recent years, this species' habitat has come under increased pressure 
with the completion of the Mocoa-Bogot[aacute] highway, the proposed 
Puerto As[iacute]s-Florencia road, and the discovery and exploitation 
of petroleum and precious metals. All of these factors contribute to an 
escalation in human encroachment and associated impacts that degrade 
this species' habitat (Salaman et al. 2007, p. 10). The few remaining 
forest connections between the upper and lower slopes are under 
pressure, even where they are minimally protected.
    Five main routes link the lowlands from Colombia's high Andean 
interior. Infrastructure development on the eastern slope of the Andes 
in Colombia, as well as adjacent Ecuador, has also caused significant 
human population pressures and has led to much habitat degradation. 
Increased and improved access roads have led to the conversion of 
mature tropical forests for pasture lands, petroleum products 
exploitation, and coca plantations (Salaman et al. 2007, p. 89). These 
road projects to link Colombia with Venezuela and Ecuador along the 
entire eastern base of the Andes have contributed to additional 
deforestation.

Serran[iacute]a de los Churumbelos National Park

    Currently, the Serran[iacute]a de los Churumbelos forest is almost 
entirely intact, and land is owned by the government and uncolonized 
(Salaman et al. 2007, pp. 10, 91-92). This mountain range has largely 
avoided the degree of human impact that other regions have suffered. 
However, this is changing rapidly due to mineral exploration (petroleum 
and precious metals) and natural resources (timber and rich organic 
soils for agriculture) demands. The Serran[iacute]a de los Churumbelos 
could become the focus of large-scale deforestation and colonization in 
the near future (Salaman et al. 2007, p. 89). Parque Natural Nacional 
Cueva de los Gu[aacute]charos provides some protection to the forests 
in this region although it is a small park (approximately 5,000 ha or 
12,355 ac) and even here, illegal encroachment occurs (Salaman et al. 
2007, p. 89).

Catatumbo-Bar[iacute] National Park

    The primary threat in the Catatumbo-Bar[iacute] National Park (at 
the Colombian-Venezuelan border) is deforestation and impacts 
associated with coca plantations surrounding the Park (Fundaci[oacute]n 
ProAves 2011, Avenda[ntilde]o in litt). Coca cultivation has fluctuated 
for the past several years. Over a 4-year study period, it contained 
about 100 ha (247 ac) of coca (United Nations Office on Drugs and 
Crime, undated report, p. 33). A new population of this species was 
recently recorded at two locations in this park (Avenda[ntilde]o in 
litt). One population in the Cauca valley (fewer than 50 mature birds) 
could be affected by the construction of a dam (155 m (508.5 ft) in 
height) that could affect its sole breeding cliff. However, this dam is 
still in the planning stages (Fundaci[oacute]n ProAves 2011 pers. 
comm., September 4, 2011).

Ecuador

    Ecuador is experiencing the highest deforestation rate in South 
America (Mosandl et al. 2008, p. 37). Forested habitat within many 
parts of Ecuador has diminished rapidly due to logging, clearing for 
agriculture, and road development (Youth 2009, pp. 1-3; Mosandl et al. 
2008, p. 37; Sierra 1999, p. 136; Dodson and Gentry 1991, pp. 283-293). 
Between the years 1990 and 2005, Ecuador lost a total of 2.96 million 
ha (7.31 million ac) of primary forest, which represents a 16.7 percent 
deforestation rate, and a total loss of 21.5 percent of forested 
habitat since 1990 (Butler 2006b, pp. 1-3; FAO 2003b, p. 1). Much of 
the primary moist forest habitat has been replaced with pastures and 
scattered trees (Collar et al. 1992, p. 533), and forest habitat loss 
continues in Ecuador. Very little suitable habitat now remains for the 
species here, and remaining suitable habitat is highly fragmented (Bass 
et al. 2010, p. 2; Snyder et al. 2000, p. 122). In the area where this 
species exists, near the Gran Sumaco Biosphere Reserve, there are 
several oil reserves (Celi-Sangurima 2005, p. 22). However, specific 
impacts to this species as a result of oil exploration or extraction 
activities are unknown.
    The colony in Kichwa River Reserve is currently in an area 
designated as protected, although it is unclear what these protections 
entail. In this area, the local community group Macaw Rio is interested 
in conducting ecotourism. Although this colony has persisted for about 
150 years (Huatatoca, in litt.), it

[[Page 40184]]

likely will be affected by logging and the resulting deforestation on 
nearby land. Researchers suggest that the apparent lack of this species 
in Ecuador is possibly related to lack of suitable sites for the 
formation of breeding colonies, or lack of knowledge about sites that 
may be located in inaccessible areas (Arcos-Torres and Solano-Ugalde 
2008, p. 72). We know of no specific threats to the species in the 
Kichwa River Reserve, other than those associated with small population 
sizes, which is discussed under Factor E, below.

Mexico

    Mexico has suffered extensive deforestation (conversion of forest 
to other land uses) and forest degradation (reduction in forest biomass 
through selective cutting, etc.) over the past several decades 
(Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) 2010, pp. 45, 75). In 
recent decades, Mexico's deforestation has been rapid (Blaser et al. 
2011, pp. 343-344). Between 1990 and 2000, Mexico lost forest 
(factoring in natural regeneration of degraded forest and planting of 
forest in areas that previously did not have forest) at a net rate of 
344,000 ha (850,043 ac) per year (FAO 2010, p. 21). During 1990-2010, 
Mexico lost approximately 6 million ha (15 million ac) of forest, and 
had one of the largest decreases in primary forests worldwide (FAO 
2010, pp. 56, 233). Although Mexico's rate of forest loss has slowed in 
the past decade, it still continues. The current rate of net forest 
loss in Mexico is 155,000 ha (383,013 ac) per year, with an estimated 
250,000-300,000 ha (617,763-741,316 ac) per year degraded (Government 
of Mexico (GOM) 2010b, in Blaser et al. 2011, p. 344; FAO 2010, p. 
233).
    Currently, Mexico has 64.8 million ha (160.1 million ac) of forest 
(Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 2010, p. 228), and 50 percent 
of these forests are considered degraded. Projections of lost forested 
area by the year 2030 in Mexico are between 10 percent to nearly 60 
percent of mature forests lost, and approximately 0 to 54 percent of 
regrowth forests lost (CEC 2010, pp. 45, 75). Deforestation via forest 
conversion to agricultural uses remains a major driver of land 
transformation in Mexico (CEC 2008, p. 24). Agricultural production is 
projected to double within the country by 2030 (CEC 2010, pp. 34, 70). 
Although some of this increase in production is expected to be due to 
an increase in productivity on previously converted land, total 
agricultural land area in Mexico is projected to increase by 6,300 to 
41,400 ha (15,568 to 102,302 ac) by 2030 (CEC 2010, p. 75).
    In the range of the military macaw, such as the tropical forest 
along the Pacific coast of Mexico, high rates of deforestation have 
occurred; slash-and-burn agriculture still occurs along with grazing. 
In 2002, it was estimated that the species had suffered a 23 percent 
habitat loss within its range in Mexico using a Genetic Algorithm for 
Rule-set Prediction (GARP) analysis tool (R[iacute]os-Mu[ntilde]oz 
2002, pp. 24, 32). GARP analysis essentially uses ecological 
characteristics of known species locations in order to determine its 
likely distribution.
    A 3-year study documented loss of habitat, particularly trees used 
by macaws, in the Tehuacan-Cuicatlan Biosphere Reserve, Sabino Canyon. 
In their study, researchers found a total of 170 individual plants of 
species consumed by military macaws in the pine forests in an area of 
1,500 m\2\ (16,146 ft\2\) in 2005 (Arizmendi 2008, p. 43). By January 
2008, eleven (6.5 percent) of these trees had been logged. In the 
transitional forest between dry and pine (in an area of 1,000 m\2\ or 
10,764 ft\2\), 134 plants were documented in 2005, and by January 2008, 
fifteen (11.90 percent) of them had been logged. Arizmendi suggested 
that these activities are carried out by local communities, and 
suggested that a local environmental education campaign be implemented. 
A reduced number of trees limits the availability of adequate food 
resources across the landscape. With fewer trees remaining, the area 
cannot support the same number of individuals of the species and 
therefore causes a further reduction in the population. Macaws were not 
found in deforested areas, even where an important food source, Hura 
polyandra, was left as shade for cattle (Rivera-Ort[iacute]z et al. 
2008, p. 256). As further support, in Jalisco, most of the sites where 
macaws were present had little or no habitat loss (note that none of 
the sites in Jalisco where military macaws were located were in 
protected areas). No macaws were located in sites with more than 30 
percent habitat loss, even though these sites may have had abundant 
trees.

Mining

    At the Mineral de Nuestra Se[ntilde]ora reserve in C[oacute]sala, 
where this species occurs, mining activities are occurring (Rubio et 
al. 2007, p. 52; Bonilla-Ruz et al. 2006, p. 45). This reserve is 12 km 
(7.5 mi) southeast of C[oacute]sala in Sinaloa, Mexico. This reserve 
was created after a joint effort in 1999 between the state, municipal 
government, and the Autonomous University of Sinaloa. The Autonomous 
University of Sinaloa conducted technical studies to propose the area 
as a nature reserve. The university also conducted conservation 
projects here which focused on the ``Ecology and Conservation of the 
Military Macaw'' and ``Environmental Education and Ecotourism.'' In 
2002, the Mineral de Nuestra Se[ntilde]ora reserve was formally 
designated. Since then, parrot populations and their habitat here both 
within and outside the preserve have been affected by mining activities 
taking place in the area (Rubio et al. 2007, p. 52). In early 2005, 
mining efforts began on underground development and drilling (Scorpio 
Mining 2011, p. 2). The current effect of mining on the species is 
unclear.

Peru

    There is little to no current published information with respect to 
specific threats to this species in Peru (Gasta[ntilde]aga et al. 2011, 
entire; BLI 2011, p. 2; JGP 2011, entire; Lee 2010, entire; Cowen 2009, 
entire; Terborgh 2004, entire; Brightsmith 2004, entire). It exists in 
several parks which convey some measures of protection (Oliveira et al. 
2007, p. 1235; Terborgh 2004, p. 35). Peru's protected areas are 
managed by the General Department of Natural Protected Areas, INRENA, 
under the authority of Law No. 26834, Law of Natural Protected Areas, 
promulgated in 1997. The Peruvian national protected area system 
includes several categories of habitat protection. Habitat may be 
designated as any of the following:
    (1) Parque Nacional (National Park, an area managed mainly for 
ecosystem conservation and recreation);
    (2) Santuario (Sanctuary, for the preservation of sites of notable 
natural or historical importance);
    (3) Reserva Nacional (National Reserve, for sustainable extraction 
of certain biological resources);
    (4) Bosque de Protecci[oacute]n (Protection Forest, to safeguard 
soils and forests, especially for watershed conservation);
    (5) Zona Reservada (Reserved Zone, for temporary protection while 
further study is under way to determine their importance);
    (6) Bosque Nacional (National Forest, to be managed for 
utilization);
    (7) Reserva Comunal (Communal Reserve, for local area use and 
management, with national oversight); and
    (8) Cotos de Caza (Hunting Reserve, for local use and management, 
with national oversight) (BLI 2008, p. 1; Rodr[iacute]guez and Young 
2000, p. 330).
    Because the designations of national parks, sanctuaries, and 
protection forests are established by supreme decree that supersedes 
all other legal

[[Page 40185]]

claim to the land, these areas tend to provide more habitat protection 
than other designations. All other protected areas are established by 
supreme resolution, which is viewed as a less powerful form of 
protection (Rodr[iacute]guez and Young 2000, p. 330).
    This species has been documented in the Tambopata National Reserve, 
which is a 275,000-ha (679,540-ac) conservation area created by the 
Peruvian Government in 1990. The main purpose was to protect the 
watersheds of the Tambopata and Candamo rivers. This area protects some 
of the last pristine lowland and premontane tropical humid forests in 
the Amazon. Within the Tambopata National Reserve, there have been 
isolated human settlements along stretches of the Malinowski River and 
where it flows into the Tambopata River. Fewer than 5,000 people 
inhabit the Tambopata National Reserve's border area to the north. They 
make a living of slash-and-burn agriculture, small-scale gold mining, 
timber extraction, and hunting and fishing. One area of Tambopata, 
including a buffer zone, was recently described as a ``crisis zone'' 
(Lee 2010, p. 169). It has been described as being at high risk to 
illegal settlement, timber extraction, and mining (Lee 2010, p. 169).
    Populations of this species are thought to be in the Manu Biosphere 
Reserve and the Bahuaja Sonene National Park in Peru (WCS 2007, p. 1; 
Herzog in litt. 2007; Terborgh 2004, pp. 40-41). Problems here are 
primarily due to human population growth (Terborgh 2004, pp. 40-41). 
Five indigenous groups reside in the Manu Biosphere Reserve--they are 
both legal and illegal settlers (Terborgh 2004, pp. 40-41). An 
ecological research station has been in place since 1973 in Man[uacute] 
National Park (Terborgh 2004, entire), which also adds some protection 
to the species. Research has shown that often simply by having a long-
term research presence there, this serves to reduce poaching (Campbell 
et al. 2011, p. 2). Unlike parks in the United States, in countries 
such as Peru, parks and protected areas were formed around the 
indigenous tribes that live there (Terborgh 2004, p. 51), and the 
management and purpose of the parks often include protection of the 
rights of indigenous human communities. This philosophy of park 
protection and mandates of parks is different from in the United 
States, where humans are viewed as visitors to the parks, rather than 
permanent residents (Terborgh 2004, p. 51). In Manu Biosphere Reserve, 
another potential threat is oil exploration. Both Shell and Mobil Oil 
have conducted oil exploration activities in this area (Terborgh 2004, 
p. 55; ParksWatch 2002, pp. 5, 7). Within Bahuaja, as of 2002, there 
were no human establishments within its boundaries (ParksWatch 2002a, 
p. 1). However, activities that could affect the military macaw in this 
area include gold mining, illegal logging, extraction of forest 
resources, and an increase in farming (ParksWatch 2002b, p. 1).

Venezuela

    There is little published information about the species in 
Venezuela (BLI 2011, p. 2; Rodriguez 2004, entire). Here it exists in 
the Andes in the Central Coastal Cordillera, and Sierra de 
Perij[aacute] (Rodriguez et al. 2004, pp. 375, 378, 379). It has been 
found on the north slopes of El [Aacute]vila, Guatopo, Henri Pittier 
National Park, Ceroo La Mision, Sierra de Perij[aacute] National Park 
(Desenne and Strahl 1994 in Snyder et al. 2000, p. 125; Fernandez-
Badillo et al. 1994 in Snyder et al. 2000 p. 125). Most of its range in 
Venezuela is within protected areas, but threats still exist in the 
protected areas here (Snyder et al. 2000, p. 125). In 2000, Snyder et 
al. noted that Sierra de Perij[aacute] was being deforested for 
narcotics, land speculation, and cattle (p. 125). A population of this 
species was recently recorded for the first time at two localities at 
the Catatumbo-Bar[iacute] National Park in the Colombian-Venezuelan 
border, extending the previous species' range from the east slope of 
the Serran[iacute]a de Perij[aacute] southwards (Avenda[ntilde]o in 
litt).

Summary of Factor A

    Habitat loss, human encroachment, and conversion to agriculture are 
the main threats acting on the species throughout its range. These 
threats are exacerbated by an inability by range country governments to 
adequately manage and monitor the species (see discussion under Factor 
D, below). South America had the largest net loss of forest area of all 
continents between 2000 and 2005 (Mosandl et al. 2008, p. 38), with a 
net loss of 4.3 million ha per year. Although specific, detailed 
information about this species' remaining occupied habitat status is 
not available for each country, we know that much of this species' 
habitat has been lost through conversion of land to farming, forestry, 
or other activities (Bonilha 2008, p. 17; Etter et al. 2006, p. 369; 
Renton 2004, p. 13). Conversion of habitat to soy plantations is now 
considered to be one of the principal causes of Amazon deforestation. 
Deforestation may already have destroyed as much as 1.2 million ha (3 
million ac) in the Amazon. This, combined with pressures of capture for 
the pet trade, has severely impacted the wild population of military 
macaws. Studies have shown that over time, resident bird diversity 
generally declines as forest fragments become smaller (Turner 1996, pp. 
202, 206).
    As with most parrots, the military macaw requires large areas of 
suitable habitat, including large trees or other nesting cavities for 
nesting, feeding, and roosting as well as food sources. Logging is a 
common form of habitat loss that affects this species (Bonilla-Ruz 
2006, p. 45). Deforestation via conversion of land to agricultural use 
is a threat to military macaws because it directly eliminates forest 
habitat, removing the trees that support the species' nesting, 
roosting, and dietary requirements. It also results in fragmented 
habitat that isolates military macaw populations, potentially 
compromising the genetics of these populations through inbreeding 
depression and genetic drift (Lande 1995, pp. 787-789; Gilpin and 
Soul[eacute] 1986, p. 27). We do not know the exact extent of 
deforestation in the range of the military macaw. However, the best 
available information indicates that deforestation continues to occur 
and affect the species throughout its range, despite protections that 
are in place.
    Currently the population of military macaws is extremely small 
(likely a few thousand individuals), those populations are severely 
fragmented, and its suitable habitat is becoming increasingly more 
scarce. 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 military macaw now and in the future.
B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes
    The trade in wild parrots is common in some areas of South America 
(Gasta[ntilde]aga et al. 2011, entire; Cant[uacute]-Guzm[aacute]n et 
al. 2008, entire). In its Red List assessment, the IUCN indicates that 
the two major threats to the military macaw are habitat loss and 
capture for the domestic pet trade (IUCN 2011, p. 1). Many reports 
indicate that poaching for the pet trade is still a problem for parrot 
species, particularly in poorer countries (Herrera and Hennessey 2007, 
entire; Dickson 2005, p. 548). For perspective, in the United States, 
captive-bred specimens of this species were recently found offered for 
sale for $699 (Basile 2010, p. 2). In 2006, four military macaws were 
advertised for sale with an average sale price of

[[Page 40186]]

$850 (Cant[uacute]-Guzm[aacute]n et al. 2008, p. 72). Although the 
scope of the illegal trade in the military macaw is unknown, poaching 
can be a lucrative and relatively risk-free source of income (Dickson 
2005, p. 548).
    A high percentage of birds die during the process of capturing from 
the wild, transporting, and selling them. Younger birds die at a higher 
rate than adult birds, and the younger birds are more desirable. 
Because most of these activities are illegal, it is difficult to 
accurately determine the actual mortality rate, but estimates vary 
between 31 and 90 percent (Weston and Memon 2009, p. 79; Cant[uacute]-
Guzm[aacute]n et al. 2007, pp. 7, 20, 22, 55, 60). Wild harvest can 
destroy pair bonds, remove potentially reproductive adults from the 
breeding pool, and have a significant effect on small populations 
(Kramer and Drake 2010, p. 11). Military macaws mate for life, are 
long-lived, and have low reproductive rates. These traits make them 
particularly sensitive to the impacts of their removal from the wild 
(Lee 2010, p. 3; Thiollay 2005, p. 1,121; Wright et al. 2001, p. 711). 
These activities adversely affect a species' population numbers (Pain 
et al. 2006, p. 322).
    Although poaching continues to occur for the pet trade, it has been 
found to be significantly lower at protected sites (Pain et al. 2006, 
pp. 322-328; Wright et al. 2002, p. 719). Other reports have found that 
national or local protection, particularly when local communities are 
actively involved in conservation efforts, can successfully reduce nest 
take (Pain et al. 2006, p. 328; Chassot et al. 2006, pp. 86-87). 
Gonzalez (2003, pp. 437-446) found evidence of poaching, particularly 
during nesting seasons, in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, a 
protected area in the Loreto Department, Peru, during his 1996-1999 
study. However, he also found that poaching decreased during the 1998 
harvest season (Gonzalez 2003, p. 444), which he attributed to 
increased numbers of birds confiscated by regional authorities, which 
may have subsequently discouraged poaching (also see Factor D, below).
    A related factor is the destruction of trees in this species' 
habitat due to poaching. This species primarily depends on tree-cavity 
nests as its habitat. Not only does nest poaching negatively affect 
this species by reducing the population size and the number of birds 
available to reproduce, it also in some cases destroys this species' 
habitat. Several studies have found that poachers will cut down trees 
to remove nests. A study conducted in the late 1990s found that in some 
cases in Peru, poachers cut down the nesting tree in order to access 
the nestlings (Gonzalez 2003, p. 443). They also were observed 
``hacking'' open the nest cavities to remove chicks (Bergman 2009, pp. 
6-8; Low 2003, pp. 10-11). An average of 21 nests was destroyed per 
poaching trip (Gonzalez 2003, p. 443). Nest destruction was also 
reported by Bergman in Ecuador in 2009 (pp. 6-8).
    The military macaw was listed in CITES Appendix II, effective June 
6, 1981, and was transferred to CITES Appendix I, effective October 21, 
1987. Most of the international trade in military macaw specimens 
consists of live birds. Data obtained from the United Nations 
Environment Programme--World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC) 
CITES Trade Database show that during the nearly 6 [frac12] years that 
the military macaw was listed in Appendix II, a total of 1,034 military 
macaw specimens were reported to UNEP-WCMC as (gross) exports. Of those 
1,034 specimens, 1,019 were live birds and 15 were feathers. In 
analyzing these data, it appears that several records may be over-
counts due to slight differences in the manner in which the importing 
and exporting countries reported their trade. It is likely that the 
actual number of military macaw specimens in international trade during 
this period was 973, including 958 live birds and 15 feathers. Fourteen 
of the live birds were captive-bred, and the others were reported with 
the source unknown. Exports from range countries included: 364 live 
birds from Bolivia; 320 from Mexico; 11 from Ecuador; 4 from Venezuela; 
and 1 from Argentina.
    During the more than 22 years following the transfer to Appendix I 
(October 21, 1987 through December 31, 2009, the last year for which 
complete data are available), the UNEP-WCMC database shows a total of 
1,523 military macaw specimens as (gross) exports, including 1,226 live 
birds, 190 scientific specimens, 105 feathers, 1 body, and 1 trophy 
(UNEP-WCMC trade database, accessed July 12, 2011). As noted above, it 
appears that some records may be over-counts due to differences in the 
manner in which the importing and exporting countries reported their 
trade. It is likely that the actual number of live military macaws in 
international trade during the 22-year period was 1,119. Of those 1,119 
birds, 840 were captive-bred or captive-born, and 119 were reported as 
wild. The source of the remaining live birds is unknown. Exports from 
range countries included: 54 live birds from Mexico; 10 from Argentina; 
4 from Venezuela; 2 from Colombia; and 1 from Peru. Annual quantities 
exported ranged from a low of 14 live birds during 2006, to 122 live 
birds (including 80 exported from South Africa) in 2009. Since 2004, 
none of the exports from range countries has been reported as wild 
origin.

Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Mexico

    In Argentina, Ecuador, and Venezuela, there is little to no 
information available about overutilization. International trade has 
diminished, but local trade continues to occur. In Bolivia, a report 
published in 2009 indicated that of 17,609 birds (including military 
macaws) documented in the market studied in Department of Santa Cruz 
(not far from the range of this species), 64 percent of the birds were 
found to be adults captured in the wild. Ninety percent (24,707) of the 
birds were found to be from the Department of Santa Cruz. A total of 
2,604 individuals were from the Department of Tarija, 176 from the 
Department of Beni, 20 from Peru, and 12 from Brazil (Herrera and 
Hennessey 2009, p. 233). The report indicated that most parrots (some 
of which were military macaws) were locally sold, and found that 23,306 
were in the city of Santa Cruz, and 4,156 were sent to Cochabamba.
    In Mexico, the military macaw is reportedly one of the most sought-
after species in the illegal pet bird trade (Cant[uacute]-Guzm[aacute]n 
et al. 2007, p. 38), and poaching remains a concern. In 1995-2005, it 
was the fifth most seized Mexican psittacine species by Mexico's 
Environmental Enforcement Agency, becoming the fourth most seized 
psittacine species in 2007-2010 (p. 52). As an example, at a sinkhole 
in El Cielo Biosphere Reserve; a population of approximately 50 birds 
was decimated by poaching in the 1980s (Arag[oacute]n-Tapia in litt. 
1989 in Snyder et al. 2000, p. 125). In many areas, it nests in 
relatively inaccessible cavities on cliff walls, which provides some 
protection against the pressures of nest poaching. However, nest 
poaching is a severe threat in Jalisco and Nayarit, where the species 
nests in tree cavities (Contreras-Gonz[aacute]lez et al. 2009, p. 43; 
Renton in litt. 2007 and Bonilla in litt. 2007 in BLI 2011, pp. 1-2). 
Between 2005 and 2006 in Mexico, five military macaws were found for 
sale, and the average price was $373 (Cant[uacute]-Guzm[aacute]n et al. 
2007, p. 76).
    Local residents in Argentina indicated that young chicks are 
removed ``for foreigners'' but also noted that it is extremely 
difficult due to the difficulty in accessing the species' preferred 
nesting sites and the aggressiveness of the macaws (Navarro et al. 
2008, pp. 7,

[[Page 40187]]

9). Additionally, in Mexico and Ecuador, indigenous communities have 
used military macaw feathers for ceremonial and medicinal practices. 
However, NGOs are working with these communities to obtain macaw 
feathers from aviaries so that the indigenous people will not hunt the 
macaws (Renton 2004, p. 14).

Colombia

    This species and other Ara macaws are occasionally hunted by 
indigenous people in Colombia. In one study, in the Catatumbo-
Bar[iacute] National Park, hunting was found to be concentrated around 
the 15 indigenous communities within the 160,000-ha (395,369-ac) park 
(Avenda[ntilde]o 2011). In 2004, in a cliff-nesting location along the 
Cauca River, Colombia, threats to this species included poaching and 
loss of foraging trees (Fl[oacute]rez & Sierra 2004, pp. 2-3). They 
found that at the Cauca River site, it was common for some people to 
remove hatchlings from the nests and sell between 20 to 30 chicks per 
year on the black market (p. 3). To counteract these activities, a 
local awareness campaign was initiated (Fl[oacute]rez & Sierra 2004, 
pp. 2-3). As a result of this project, 3,000 Hura crepitans trees (a 
species used by the military macaw) were planted by the local 
communities, and the awareness campaign appeared to be effective. 
Researchers do not believe that hunting pressure is a serious short-
term threat. However, local education and awareness programs generally 
need to be ongoing and long-term for them to be effective, and the 
local communities need to be aware of the benefits of conserving 
species in the wild, as well as have alternative sources of income 
(i.e., income other than that derived from poaching).

Peru

    A recent study in Peru examined nest poaching and illegal trade of 
parrots, including the reasons for poaching, and the methods, seasons, 
and locations where the sale and actual poaching of parrots occurred. 
This study found that this species is still being poached in the wild 
(Gasta[ntilde]aga et al. 2011, pp. 79-80), even in protected areas and 
despite national protections in place. During the 2007-2008 study, 
eight military macaws were found for sale in two out of eight markets 
surveyed in Peru (p. 79). Seven of these birds were found in the 
Amazonian lowland city, Pucallpa (p. 80). The study also found that 
where protections and enforcement have been implemented such as in 
Cusco, there were no parrots for sale in markets. This indicates that 
although it still continues, poaching is becoming less frequent due to 
involvement by NGOs, minimal international demand for the species, and 
enforcement by authorities.

Summary of Factor B

    Among birds, parrots are the group most subject to commercial trade 
(Hutton et al. 2000, p. 14). Parrots have suffered a disproportionate 
number of extinctions, in part due to their desirability as pets. 
Conservation efforts by the various entities working to ensure long-
term conservation of the military macaw may result in its population 
slowly increasing; however, it is likely that the population is still 
declining. Even though the military macaw is listed as an Appendix-I 
species under CITES and laws have been established within the range 
countries to protect this species, we are still concerned about the 
illegal capture of this species in the wild. Despite regulatory 
mechanisms in place and restricted international trade, poaching is 
lucrative and continues to occur. Additionally, because each population 
of military macaws is small, with usually fewer than 100 individuals, 
poaching is likely to have a significant effect on the species. 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 military macaw throughout its 
range.
C. Disease or Predation

Disease

    Studies of macaws indicate that this species is susceptible to many 
bacterial, parasitic, and viral diseases, particularly in captive 
environments (Kistler et al. 2009, p. 2,176; Portaels et al. 1996, p. 
319; Bennett et al. 1991). Viral diseases seem to be more prevalent and 
subsequently more studied in parrots than bacteria and parasites. 
Psittacines are prone to many viral infections such as retrovirus, pox 
virus, and paramyxo virus, and captive-held birds seem particularly 
susceptible (Gaskin 1989, pp. 249, 251, 252). A highly fatal disease, 
Pacheco's parrot disease, is also caused by a virus (Simpson et al. 
1976, p. 218). After infection from this virus, death occurs suddenly 
without apparent sign of sickness other than some mild nasal discharge 
and lethargy (Simpson et al. 1976, p. 211). However, as transmission of 
this disease is mainly through nasal discharge and feces, it is less 
likely to happen in open habitat in the wild than in a confined aviary, 
particularly because in the wild this species has been observed to 
alternate nest sites based on food availability (Chosset et al. 2004, 
pp. 35-39). Another disease, proventricular dilatation disease (PDD), 
may be one of the worst diseases known to affect parrots (Kistler et 
al. 2008, p. 2). PDD has been documented in several continents in more 
than 50 different parrot species and in free-ranging species in at 
least five other orders of birds (Kistler et al. 2008, p. 2). It is not 
clear if some diseases observed in birds in captivity also occur in the 
wild with the same frequency. However, because the populations of 
military macaws are small and widely distributed, disease is less of a 
concern because diseases tend to be more easily transmitted between 
individuals within close range, and wild birds disperse and are not 
constantly in close proximity. Also, captive conditions in aviaries 
make birds more susceptible to disease where the stress of confinement 
combined with inadequate diet can reduce the ability of birds to fight 
disease.
    We have no evidence of significant adverse impacts to wild 
populations of military macaws due to disease. Disease is a normal 
occurrence within wild populations. There is no indication that disease 
occurs to an extent that it is a threat. Based on the best available 
scientific and commercial information, we find that disease is not a 
threat to the military macaw in any portion of its range now or in the 
future.

Predation

    Eggs and chicks are more susceptible to predation than adult macaws 
(Arizmendi 2008, p. 44). Chicks and eggs are particularly susceptible 
to predation by snakes (Arizmendi 2008, p. 44), but military macaws 
select their nests where they are likely to have a high level of 
reproductive success. Because military macaws generally construct their 
nests in high locations such as canyon cliffs, snake predation is less 
of a concern because snakes need tree canopy or vines to climb in order 
to gain access to eggs and chicks.
    Other predators known to consume this species' eggs include 
iguanas, red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), turkey vultures 
(Carthates aura), and some mammals (Arizmendi 2008, p. 44). In the 
Sabino canyon, iguanas were observed near the nesting sites. 
Researchers suggested that a predator control program here would 
benefit the macaws (Arizmendi 2008, p. 45). Macaws frequently exhibit 
alarmed behavior when red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures approach 
their nests (Arizmendi 2008, p. 44). In Argentina, a flock of parrots 
was attacked by a pair of peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus),

[[Page 40188]]

which also nest in ravines (Navarro et al. 2008, p. 6). However, 
although parrots and falcons can be combative, the peregrine falcon, 
which normally consumes small mammals and birds, is not thought to be a 
natural predator of the military macaw (Bradley et al. 1991, p. 193). 
Due to its large size and careful nest site selection, the military 
macaw is less susceptible to predation by both land and aerial 
predators (Flor[eacute]z and Sierra 2004, pp 2-3). However, even 
limited predation is still a concern in part because removal of 
potentially reproductive adults from the breeding pool can have a 
significant effect on small populations by destroying macaw mating pair 
bonds (Kramer and Drake 2010, p. 11). Additionally, studies on similar 
species in similar Andean habitats indicate that vulnerability to 
predation by generalist predators increases with increased habitat 
fragmentation and smaller patch sizes (Arango-V[eacute]lez and Kattan 
1997, p. 140). Because each population of military macaws is small, 
with usually fewer than 100 individuals, and because this species mates 
for life, even low levels of predation are likely to have a significant 
effect on the species.

Summary of Factor C

    Diseases associated with military macaws in the wild are not well 
documented. Although there is evidence that diseases occur in parrots 
in the wild, we found no information that diseases affect this species 
to the degree that they are negatively impacting this species in the 
wild. Because the populations are distributed across such a large area, 
these populations have a built-in resiliency against impacts from 
disease if one population is affected by a disease outbreak. 
Conversely, although disease in the wild is not a concern, predation 
does remain a concern; there is evidence that predation on this species 
occurs often enough that it can have a significant impact. Because of 
the species' small and declining population size, tendency to mate for 
life, low reproductive capacity, and existence in isolated habitat 
fragments, even minimal predation renders the species more vulnerable 
to local extirpations. Therefore, we find that predation, compounded by 
ongoing habitat loss and poaching, is a threat to the military macaw.
D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms
    Regulatory mechanisms to protect a species could potentially fall 
under categories such as regulation of trade, wildlife management, 
parks management, or forestry management. We are primarily evaluating 
these regulatory mechanisms in terms of parks because this is where 
this species generally occurs. Regulatory mechanisms could be at the 
local, national, or international levels.

International Wildlife Trade (CITES)

    A specimen of a CITES-listed species may be imported into or 
exported (or reexported) from a country only if the appropriate permit 
or certificate has been obtained prior to the international trade and 
it is presented for clearance at the port of entry or exit. The 
Conference of the Parties (CoP), which is the decision making body of 
the Convention and comprises all its member countries, has agreed on a 
set of biological and trade criteria to help determine whether a 
species should be included in Appendix I or II. The military macaw is 
listed in Appendix I. For Appendix-I species, both an export permit or 
reexport certificate must be issued by the country of export and an 
import permit from the country of import must be obtained prior to 
international trade. An export permit for species listed in either 
Appendix I or II may only be issued if the country of export determines 
that:
     The export will not be detrimental to the survival of the 
species in the wild (CITES Article III(2) and Article IV);
     The specimen was legally obtained according to the animal 
and plant protection laws in the country of export;
     For live animals or plants, that they are prepared and 
shipped for export to minimize any risk of injury, damage to health, or 
cruel treatment; and
     For Appendix I species, an import permit has been granted 
by the importing country.
    Except in specific scenarios for approved captive-breeding 
programs, the import of an Appendix-I species requires the issuance of 
both an import and export permit. Import permits are issued only after 
the importing country determines that it will not be used for primarily 
commercial purposes (CITES Article III(3)) and that the proposed 
recipient of live animals or plants is suitably equipped to house and 
care for them. Thus, with few exceptions, Appendix-I species cannot be 
traded for commercial purposes.
    The CITES Treaty requires Parties (member countries) to have 
adequate legislation in place for its implementation. Under CITES 
Resolution Conference 8.4 (Revised at CoP15) and related decisions of 
the CoP, the National Legislation Project evaluates whether Parties 
have adequate domestic legislation to successfully implement the Treaty 
(CITES 2011a). In reviewing a country's national legislation, the CITES 
Secretariat evaluates factors such as:
     Whether a Party's domestic laws prohibit trade contrary to 
the requirements of the Convention,
     Whether a Party has penalty provisions in place for 
illegal trade, and if they have designated the responsible Scientific 
and Management Authorities, and
     Whether a Party's legislation provides for seizure of 
specimens that are illegally traded or possessed.
    The CITES Secretariat has determined that the legislation of 
Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru is in Category 1, meaning they 
meet all the requirements to implement CITES. Bolivia, Ecuador, and 
Venezuela were determined to be in Category 2, with a draft plan, but 
not enacted (http://www.cites.org, SC59 Document 11, Annex p. 1). This 
means the Secretariat determined that the legislation of Bolivia, 
Ecuador, and Venezuela meet some, but not all, of the requirements for 
implementing CITES. Based on the decrease in reported international 
trade, CITES and the range countries for this species have effectively 
controlled legal international trade of this species. Therefore, we 
find CITES is an effective mechanism for preventing overexploitation 
for international trade in this species.

Parks and Habitat Management

    We are focusing our evaluation of the potential threats to this 
species primarily to parks for the following reasons. Most suitable 
habitat, primary forest, only remains in these protected areas. The 
best available information suggests that this species is now mostly 
found in protected areas such as parks, in part because this is where 
suitable habitat remains for the species. Additionally, the majority of 
the information available regarding the potential threats to the 
species pertains to the parks, where the species is usually found. Our 
rationale is supported by Cowen, who noted that encounter rates for 
large macaw species were generally higher in primary forests (2008, p. 
15), which tend to be located in areas with protected status. 
Throughout this species' range, we found that many of the threats that 
occur to this species are the same or similar. Threats generally 
consist of various forms of habitat loss or degradation. Each range 
country for this species has protections in place, but for reasons such 
as limited budgets and limited enforcement capabilities, the laws and 
protections are generally not able to adequately protect the species.

[[Page 40189]]

Our analysis of regulatory mechanisms is discussed essentially on a 
country-by-country basis, beginning with Bolivia, and is summarized at 
the end.
    Research has found that tropical parks have been surprisingly 
effective at protecting ecosystems and species within boundaries 
designated as parks or other protected status despite underfunding and 
pressures for resources (Oliveira et al. 2007, p. 1,235; Bruner et al. 
2001, p. 126; Terborgh 1999, entire). Bruner's study found that 
protected areas are especially effective in preventing land clearing. 
It found that in 40 percent of parks, land that had formerly been under 
cultivation and that was incorporated into park boundaries had actually 
recovered. This subsequently led to an increase in vegetative cover. 
The study also found that 83 percent of parks were successful at 
mitigating encroachment (Bruner et al. 2001, p. 125). It concluded that 
the conditions inside the parks were significantly better than in their 
surrounding areas (Bruner et al. 2001, p. 125). Oliveira et al. found 
that forests in conservation units were four times better at protecting 
against deforestation than unprotected areas (2007, p. 1,235). However, 
despite these protections, this species has experienced threats such 
that their populations are now so small (generally fewer than 100 in 
each population) that any pressure now has a more significant effect. 
Parks, without management, are often insufficient to adequately protect 
the species. Conditions in specific parks are discussed below.

Argentina

    In 2007, Argentina enacted a law mandating minimum standards for 
the environmental protection of native forests (Ley de Bosques). 
However, the federal government has not fully enforced the law, and 
provincial governments are not in full compliance with it (DiPaola et 
al. 2008, p. 2). Argentina lacks adequate protections of its natural 
environments; there is a lack of environmental awareness and commitment 
from the government to adequately protect its resources (FAO 2007, pp. 
43-44, 59-60). Provinces usually allow landowners to decide whether to 
maintain forest cover or deforest the land. The absence of a serious 
land use planning strategy, particularly during the past 20 years, has 
led to significant habitat degradation (FAO 2007, p. 60). The threat to 
native forests has remained particularly high in the Salta Province. As 
a result, a coalition of indigenous communities and nongovernmental 
organizations filed for injunctive relief in Argentina's highest court 
to attempt to combat deforestation (DiPaola et al. 2008, p. 2). In this 
case, the court mandated deforestation activities to be halted pending 
the completion of a cumulative environmental impact study. The decision 
forced the Salta Province to comply with the deforestation moratorium 
imposed by the Forestry Law, and pressured the Province to comply with 
the other key provision of the law by completing an environmental land 
use plan (DiPaola et al. 2008, p. 2). Although the Forestry Law is in 
place and the court case has set a precedent for compliance with this 
law, the area where this species occurs in Argentina to the best of our 
knowledge remains largely unprotected (Navarro et al. 2008, pp. 7, 9). 
However, we do not know how this area is affected by these activities, 
nor what regulatory mechanisms are in place here with respect to this 
species and its habitat.

Bolivia

    This species primarily inhabits the parks and protected areas in 
Bolivia's Andean region (Herzog 2011, pers. comm.). National parks are 
intended to be strictly protected; however, some areas where the 
species occurs are also designated as areas of integrated management, 
which are managed for both biological conservation and the sustainable 
development of the local communities. Bolivia attempts to balance 
natural resource uses; however, it is one of the poorest countries in 
South America (MacLeod 2009, p. 6; CIA World Factbook, accessed 
December 6, 2011), and subsequently has competing priorities. As of 
2005, Bolivia had 5 national parks, 6 national park and integrated 
management natural areas, 1 national park and indigenous territory (or 
communal lands), 4 national reserves, 2 biosphere reserves, and 3 
integrated management natural areas (ParksWatch 2005, p. 1). These make 
up Bolivia's National System of Protected Areas ((SNAP) Servicio 
Nacional de Areas Protegidas). Below are the designations and their 
relevant categorizations of protections (eLAW 2003, p. 3).
    (1) Park, for strict and permanent protection of representative 
ecosystems and provincial habitats, as well as plant and animal 
resources, along with the geographical, scenic and natural landscapes 
that contain them;
    (2) Sanctuary, for the strict and permanent protection of sites 
that house endemic plants and animals that are threatened or in danger 
of extinction;
    (3) Natural Monument, to preserve areas such as those with 
distinctive natural landscapes or geologic formations, and to conserve 
the biological diversity contained therein;
    (4) Wildlife Reserve, for protection, management, sustainable use, 
and monitoring of wildlife;
    (5) Natural Area of Integrated Management, where conservation of 
biological diversity is balanced with sustainable development of the 
local population; and
    (6) ``Immobilized'' Natural Reserve, a temporary (5-year) 
designation for an area that requires further research before any 
official designations can be made and during which time no natural 
resource concessions can be made within the area (Supreme Decree No. 
24,781 1997, p. 3).
    The foundation of Bolivia's laws is largely based on Bolivia's 1975 
Law on Wildlife, National Parks, Hunting, and Fishing (Decree Law No. 
12,301 1975, pp. 1-34), which has the fundamental objective of 
protecting the country's natural resources. This law governs the 
protection, management, utilization, transportation, and selling of 
wildlife and their products; the protection of endangered species; 
habitat conservation of fauna and flora; and the declaration of 
national parks, biological reserves, refuges, and wildlife sanctuaries, 
regarding the preservation, promotion, and rational use of these 
resources (Decree Law No. 12,301 1975, pp. 1-34; eLAW 2003, p. 2). 
Later, Bolivia passed an overarching environmental law in 1992 (Law No. 
1,333 1992), with the intent of protecting and conserving the 
environment and natural resources. Studies have shown that protected 
areas have been successful in providing protection from poaching, 
logging, and other forest damage, especially when compared to 
unprotected areas (Lee 2010, p. 3; Killeen et al. 2007, p. 603; 
Oliveira et al. 2007, p. 1,234; Asner 2005, p. 480; Ribeiro et al. 
2005, p. 2; Gilardi and Munn 1998, p. 641). However, pressures on the 
parks' resources are increasing; these are described below.
    Within the Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape, activities that 
could negatively affect this species occur, and there are competing 
priorities within these protected areas. Madidi is divided into three 
contiguous areas, with two different management categories: A strictly 
protected National Park in two sections which total 1,271,000 ha 
(3,140,709 ac), and a natural integrated management area with 624,250 
ha (1,542,555 ac), where conservation and sustainable development of 
the local communities is the main purpose (Conservation Strategy Fund 
(CSF)

[[Page 40190]]

2006, p. 29). The most significant activities that are having a 
negative impact or could in the future in this area are the 
construction of a highway within Madidi, mining for natural resources 
such as gold, drilling for oil, and a planned hydroelectric dam 
(ParksWatch 2011b, p. 8; http://www.amazonfund.eu/art-oil-madidi.html, 
accessed September 13, 2011; Chavez 2010, pp. 1-2). There is limited 
legal hunting of this species occurring here, but in the areas 
surveyed, this species was described as common and not exploited 
(Hosner et al. 2009, p. 226). Timber extraction still occurs in some 
areas (World Land Trust 2010, p. 1). In the rainforest and foothill 
forest of Serran[iacute]a Sadiri within Madidi, roads in the late 1990s 
spurred a rise in the unsustainable logging of the area's mahogany 
trees, which were the most valuable tree at the time (World Land Trust 
2010, pp. 1-2). Within the Apolobamba protected area, uncontrolled 
clearing, extensive agriculture, grazing, and ``irresponsible'' tourism 
are ongoing (Auza and Hennessey 2005, p. 81). Habitat degradation and 
destruction from grazing, forest fires, and timber extraction are 
ongoing in other protected areas, such as Tunari National Park 
(Department of Cochabamba), where suitable habitat exists for this 
species (De la Vie 2004, p. 7).
    Bolivia's national policy is to decentralize decision making, and 
responsibility for land planning and natural resource management is 
increasingly shifting to local and regional governments (Wildlife 
Conservation Society (WCS) 2009, pp. 2-5). However, the 
decentralization process is occurring without sufficient personnel, 
staff training, and operational funds. There is little information as 
to the actual protections that Bolivia's laws and protected areas 
confer to military macaws, despite the laws in place at the national 
level for its wildlife. Threats to the species and its habitat include 
unsustainable land use practices, illegal logging, mining, road 
building, oil extraction, illegal animal trade, and hunting, which are 
all still occurring within this species' habitat (MacLeod 2009, p. 6; 
WCS 2009, pp. 2-5). The mechanisms in place are inadequate at reducing 
the threat of habitat destruction and human disturbance within these 
protected areas.

Colombia

    The Colombian Government has enacted and ratified numerous domestic 
and international laws, decrees, and resolutions for managing and 
conserving wildlife and flora. Colombia currently has 54 areas that 
have protected status (El Sistema Nacional de Areas Protegidas (SINAP); 
National Natural Parks of Colombia 2011). Of those, 33 have been 
declared Important Bird Areas (IBAs). The protected area designations 
are as follows: National parks (parques nacionales), flora and fauna 
sanctuaries (santuarios de fauna y flora), flora sanctuaries 
(santuarios de flora), nature reserves (reserva natural), and unique 
natural areas ([aacute]rea natural [uacute]nica) (Law 165 of 1994). 
Small populations of this species occur in several reserves and 
protected areas in Colombia (Strewe and Navarro 2003, p. 32). These 
protected areas in Colombia offer various degrees of protection to the 
species.
    In 2003, conservation priorities were identified for its bird 
species, a conservation corridor was designed, and a habitat 
conservation strategy within the San Salvador valley was developed 
(Strewe and Navarro 2003, p. 29). The private Buena Vista Nature 
Reserve was established and protects approximately 400 ha (988 ac) of 
tropical wet lowland forest and wet premontane forest on the northern 
slope of the Sierra Nevada. It encompasses extensive primary forests 
along an altitudinal gradient of 600 to 2,300 m (1,968 to 7,545 ft) and 
forest patches and secondary forest at elevations between 450 to 600 m 
(1,476 to 1,968 ft). The reserve is adjacent to the Sierra Nevada de 
Santa Marta National Park and the Kogi-Malayo Indian reserve (Strewe 
and Navarro 2003, p. 29).
    Resource management in Colombia is highly decentralized. Colombian 
environmental management has been divided between the national and 
regional levels since the 1950s. Governmental institutions responsible 
for oversight appear to be under resourced (ITTO 2006, p. 222) and 
unable to adequately manage species such as the military macaw. 
Resources are managed within local municipalities by one of 33 
``Autonomous Regional Corporations'' known as CARs (Corporaciones 
Aut[oacute]nomas Regionales) (Blackman et al. 2006, p. 32). CARs are 
described as corporate bodies of a public nature, endowed with 
administrative and financial autonomy to manage the environment and 
renewable natural resources, implemented through Law 99 of 1993 (p. 
32). Each department (analogous to U.S. state designations) within 
Colombia is managed by a separate local entity. These corporations 
grant concessions, permits, and authorizations for forest harvesting 
(ITTO 2006, p. 219).
    As of 2005, 40 percent of Colombia's public resources were managed 
by local municipalities, making Colombia one of the most decentralized 
countries in terms of forestry management in Latin America (Blackman et 
al. 2006, p. 36). Monitoring of resource use and forest development 
authorized by these corporations is conducted mostly by local 
nongovernmental organizations. The International Tropical Timber 
Organization (ITTO) considers the Colombian forestry sector to be 
lacking in law enforcement and on-the-ground control of forest 
resources, with no specific standards for large-scale forestry 
production, no forestry concession policies, and a lack of transparency 
in the application of the various laws regulating wildlife and their 
habitats (ITTO 2006, p. 222). Consequently, there is currently no 
effective vehicle for overall coordination of species management for 
multijurisdictional species such as the military macaw. 
Fundaci[oacute]n ProAves developed a conservation plan for 2010 to 2020 
for several parrot species, including the military macaw (Botero-
Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 7). However, it is unclear if or 
when it will be adopted by the Government of Colombia.
    Additionally, despite protections, forest loss continues almost 
unabated in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, demonstrating that 
formal protections and regulatory mechanisms are inadequate. In this 
area, El Congo Reserve currently may be the only secure nesting site 
for the military macaw, but it is too small (40 ha; 99 ac) to conserve 
viable populations.
    Efforts are occurring in Colombia to protect and monitor its 
species, although they do not appear to be adequate to combat the 
threats to this species. One management tool that Colombia has recently 
developed is a bird-watching strategy in these protected areas to 
monitor and report on bird species such as the military macaw, in 
conjunction with ecotourism (National Natural Parks of Colombia 2011). 
Despite the efforts in place, there is a lack of information available 
about the status of this species and its habitat in Colombia. There is 
no clear information about the status of the species in Colombia; 
particularly its population trend. We are unable to determine that this 
conservation strategy will sufficiently mitigate threats to the 
military macaw, nor are we able to find that the regulatory mechanisms 
in place in Colombia are adequate. The species population is small in 
Colombia, and threats to its habitat still exist.

[[Page 40191]]

Ecuador

    In Ecuador, the military macaw is considered to be very rare 
(Arcos-Torres and Solano-Ugalde 2008, p. 72). It has been observed in 
the areas of Sumaco and Zamora-Chinchipe (Youth 2009, p. 1; Snyder et 
al. 2000, p. 125) and recently at Kichwa River Reserve (Reserva Kichwa 
R[iacute]o), within the Gran Sumaco Biosphere Reserve Guacamayos 
(Arcos-Torres and Solano-Ugalde 2008, p. 72). This species is 
categorized as endangered ``en peligro de extinci[oacute]n'' (Arcos-
Torres and Solano-Ugalde 2008, p. 69) in Ecuador. It is protected by 
Decree No. 3,516 of 2003 (Unified Text of the Secondary Legislation of 
the Ministry of Environment) (EcoLex 2003b, pp. 1-2 and 36). This 
decree summarizes the laws governing environmental policy in Ecuador 
and provides that the country's biodiversity be protected and used 
primarily in a sustainable manner.
    Habitat destruction is ongoing and extensive in Ecuador (Mosandl et 
al. 2008, p. 37; Butler 2006b, pp. 1-3; FAO 2003b, p. 1). Unsustainable 
forest harvest practices likely continue to impact the military macaw's 
habitat. In 2004, Ecuador Law No. 17 (Faolex 2004, pp. 1-29) amended 
the Forest Act of 1981 (Law No. 74) to include five criteria for 
sustainable forest management: (i) Sustainable timber production; (ii) 
the maintenance of forest cover; (iii) the conservation of 
biodiversity; (iv) co-responsibility in management; and (v) the 
reduction of negative social and environmental impacts (ITTO 2006, p. 
225; Aguilar and Vlosky 2005, pp. 9-10). In 2001, the Ecuadorian 
government worked with the private sector to develop a system of 
monitoring and control of forest harvest practices. However, in 2003, 
the Supreme Court of Ecuador declared the control system 
unconstitutional, and new control systems were being developed (ITTO 
2006, p. 225). Approximately 70 percent of the forest products 
harvested are harvested illegally, or are used as fuel wood, or are 
discarded as waste (ITTO 2006, p. 226; Aguilar and Vlosky 2005, p. 4). 
Because the extractive harvesting industry is not monitored, the extent 
of the impact is unknown; however, the best available information 
indicates that habitat degradation negatively affects this species in 
Ecuador.
    The Ecuadorian government recognizes 31 different legal categories 
of protected lands (e.g., national parks, biological reserves, geo-
botanical reserves, bird reserves, wildlife reserves, etc.). The colony 
in Kichwa River Reserve Macaw receives some legal protections by being 
in a Reserve. However, a study published in 2002 concluded that 
although 14 percent of Ecuador is categorized as national reserve 
network (Sierra et al. 2002, p. 107), the system does not provide 
adequate protection for its ecosystems. As of 2006, the amount of 
protected land (both forested and nonforested) in Ecuador totals 
approximately 4.67 million ha (11.5 million ac) (ITTO 2006, p. 228). 
However, only 38 percent of these lands have appropriate conservation 
measures in place to be considered protected areas according to 
international standards (i.e., areas that are managed for scientific 
study or wilderness protection, for ecosystem protection and 
recreation, for conservation of specific natural features, or for 
conservation through management intervention) (IUCN 1994, pp. 17-20). 
The ITTO, as of 2006, considered ecosystem management and conservation 
in Ecuador, including effective implementation of mechanisms that would 
protect the military macaw and its habitat, to be lacking (ITTO 2006, 
p. 229).
    Although this colony has persisted for about 150 years (Huatatoca, 
pers. comm. in Arcos-Torres and Solano-Ugalde 2008, p. 72), it may be 
affected by logging and the resulting deforestation on nearby land 
(Arcos-Torres and Solano-Ugalde 2008, p. 72). The best available 
information indicates that on-the-ground enforcement of Ecuador's laws, 
oversight of the local jurisdictions, and implementing and regulating 
activities are ineffective in conserving the military macaw and its 
habitat in Ecuador. Researchers suggest that the apparent lack of this 
species in Ecuador is related to lack of existing suitable sites (large 
areas containing appropriate feeding, nesting, and breeding habitat) 
for the formation of breeding colonies. The governmental institutions 
responsible for natural resource oversight in Ecuador appear to be 
under-resourced, and to our knowledge, there is a lack of law 
enforcement on the ground. Despite the creation of a national forest 
plan, the best available information indicates there is a lack of 
capacity to implement this plan due to inconsistencies in application 
of regulations, and discrepancies between actual harvesting practices 
and forestry regulations. These inadequacies have facilitated logging, 
clearing for agriculture, subsistence farming, and road development. 
Habitat conversion and alteration are ongoing within Ecuador, including 
within protected areas.

Mexico

    Threatened and endangered species are regulated under the general 
terms of the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental 
Protection (Ley General del Equilibrio Ecol[oacute]gico y 
Protecci[oacute]n al Ambiente (LGEEPA)), the General Wildlife Law (Ley 
General de Vida Silvestre (LGVS)), and also under CITES (CEC 2003, 
unpaginated). NOM-059-ECOL-2001 establishes a list of wildlife species 
classified as either in danger of extinction (endangered), threatened, 
under special protection, or probably extinct in the wild (Government 
of Mexico 2002, p. 6). All use of endangered and threatened species 
requires a special permit from the Secretariat of the Environment and 
Natural Resources (Secretar[iacute]a del Medio Ambiente y Recursos 
Naturales (SEMARNAT). SEMARNAT's main goal is to protect, restore, and 
conserve its ecosystems and natural resources. Under Mexico's General 
Wildlife Law, the use of these protected species, including the 
military macaw, may be authorized only when priority is given to the 
collection and capture for restoration, repopulation, and 
reintroduction activities (Comisi[oacute]n Nacional Para El 
Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad 2009, unpaginated; CEC 2003, 
unpaginated).
    International trade of Mexico's wildlife is also managed by 
SEMARNAT. In 2008, Mexico passed Article 60--2 to amend its General 
Wildlife Law. The article bans the capture, export, import, and 
reexport of any species of the Psittacidae (parrot) family whose 
natural distribution is within Mexico (Cant[uacute] and S[aacute]nchez 
2011, p. 1). It allows for authorizations for removal of individuals 
from the wild to be issued only for conservation purposes, or to 
accredited academic institutions for scientific research. However, it 
does not appear to be adequate based on recent investigations of trade 
of Mexico's native parrot species.
    The military macaw falls under the jurisdiction of several other 
laws in Mexico. The 2003 General Law on Sustainable Forest Management 
(Ley General de Desarrollo Forestal Sustenable (LGDFS)) governs forest 
ecosystems in Mexico, including military macaw habitat. This law 
formalizes the incorporation of the forest sector in a broader 
environmental framework. Under this law, harvesting of forests requires 
authorization from SEMARNAT. It also requires that harvesting forests 
is based on a technical study and a forest management plan (GOM 2010, 
p. 24). A

[[Page 40192]]

number of additional laws complement the 2003 law in regulating forest 
use. The LGEEPA regulates activities for protecting biodiversity and 
reducing the impact on forests and tropical areas of certain forest 
activities; the LGVS governs the use of plants and wildlife found in 
the forests; the General Law on Sustainable Rural Development (Ley 
General de Desarrollo Rural Sustentable) provides guidance for 
activities aimed at protecting and restoring forests within the 
framework of rural development programs; and the Agrarian Law (Ley 
Agraria) governs farmers' ability to use forest resources on their land 
(Anta 2004, in USAID 2011, unpaginated).
    Another law regulating portions of the military macaw's habitat is 
the National System of Protected Natural Areas (Sistema Nacional de 
[Aacute]reas Naturales Protegidas (SINANP)). These protected natural 
areas are created by presidential decree, and the activities in them 
are regulated under the LGEEPA, which requires that the protected 
natural areas receive special protection for conservation, restoration, 
and development activities (Comisi[oacute]n Nacional de [Aacute]reas 
Naturales Protegidas (CONANP) 2011, unpaginated). These natural areas 
are categorized as: Biosphere Reserves, National Parks, Natural 
Monuments, Areas of Natural Resource Protection, Areas of Protection of 
Flora and Fauna, and Sanctuaries (CONANP 2011, unpaginated). The 
military macaw is known to occur in several protected areas.
    Conservation strategies in Mexico rely heavily on natural protected 
areas, and biosphere reserves comprise most of the designated protected 
area in the country (Figueroa and Sanchez 2008, pp. 3324, 3234). The 
military macaw occurs in or near at least four biosphere reserves. 
Although some areas where this species occurs have protected status, 
Figueroa and Sanchez (2008, entire) found that, for example, the Sierra 
Gorda Biosphere Reserve was ineffective (as opposed to effective or 
weakly-effective). This study specifically evaluated the effectiveness 
of Mexico's protected areas for preventing land use and land cover 
change. It assessed the effectiveness of national protected areas 
(NPAs) by quantifying (1) the rate of change and (2) the total extent 
of change, between 1993 and 2002, as well as (3) the percentage, in 
2002, of areas transformed by human use; transformed areas included 
agriculture, cultivated and induced pastures, human settlements, and 
forestry plantations. The rate of change of transformed areas inside 
each NPA was also compared with that estimated for an equivalent area 
surrounding the NPA. They selected 69 federal decreed NPAs (out of 160 
NPAs decreed in Mexico) that were 1,000 ha (2,471 ac) or larger, which 
is the minimum area for conserving ecosystems in Mexico (Figueroa and 
Sanchez 2008, p. 3,225; Ord[oacute][ntilde]ez and Fl[oacute]rez-Villela 
1995, p. 11). The study found that, overall, only approximately 54 
percent of protected areas, including 65 percent of biosphere reserves, 
were effective.

Peru

    In Peru, this species is listed as vulnerable under Supreme Decree 
No. 034-2004-AG (2004, p. 276855), and its protections fall under the 
jurisdiction of the National Institute of Natural Resources (Instituto 
Nacional de Recursos Naturales, INRENA). This Decree prohibits hunting, 
take, transport, and trade of protected species, except as permitted by 
regulation. The military macaw is thought to occur in at least three 
areas with protected status in Peru. The Peruvian national protected 
area system includes several categories of habitat protection (refer to 
Factor A. National reserves, national forests, communal reserves, and 
hunting reserves are managed for the sustainable use of resources (IUCN 
1994, p. 2). The designations of national parks, sanctuaries, and 
protection forests are established by supreme decree that supersedes 
all other legal claim to the land and, thus, these areas tend to 
provide some form of habitat protection (Rodr[iacute]guez and Young 
2000, p. 330). However, limited information is available with respect 
to the status of this species in Peru. We do not know if the occurrence 
of the military macaw within protected areas in Peru actually protects 
the species or mitigates threats to the species, and to what extent 
these protections are effective.

Venezuela

    In Venezuela, the military macaw is thought to exist in two parks: 
El [Aacute]vila National Park and Henri Pittier National Park. Very 
limited information about the status of this species is available in 
Venezuela. Henri Pittier National Park (107,800 ha; 266,380 ac) was 
declared the first national park in Venezuela in 1937. Henri Pittier 
National Park is the largest national park of the Cordillera de la 
Costa (Coastal Mountain Range) region. The principal threats to this 
park include fire, human encroachment, solid waste buildup, pollution, 
hunting, and limited resources for effective park management 
(ParksWatch 2011g, unpaginated). In many cases, the intensity of 
threats has increased. Prior to 1994, a team of government 
representatives, NGOs, universities, and aviculturists in Venezuela had 
developed both an action plan for the conservation of parrots and a 
book containing information on parrot biology (Morales et al. 1994, in 
Snyder 2000, p. 125). However, currently, it is unclear what 
conservation initiatives are occurring.
    El [Aacute]vila National Park (81,800 ha; 202,132 ac in size), is 
located along the central stretch of the Cordillera de la Costa 
Mountains in northern Venezuela. The most immediate threats to the park 
are forest fires and illegal settlements, which occur primarily near 
Caracas (ParksWatch 2011f, unpaginated). ParksWatch notes that the 
areas closest to the city have experienced more problems in the more 
isolated northern slope and eastern sector of El [Aacute]vila. Other 
threats in this park include the presence of nonnative plants and 
poaching.

Summary of Factor D

    In Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, we recognize that 
conservation activities are occurring, and that these activities may 
have a positive effect on the species at the local population level. 
Parrots, in general, are long-lived with low reproductive rates, traits 
that make them particularly sensitive to poaching and other threats 
such as habitat loss (Lee 2010, p. 3; Thiollay 2005, p. 1,121; Wright 
et al. 2001, p. 711). Removal of a few birds from a population of 100 
can have a greater effect than removal of a few birds from larger 
populations. The primary threats to this species historically have been 
the loss of habitat and capture for the pet trade (Strewe and BLI 2011, 
p. 1; Navarro 2003, p. 33). Since regulatory mechanisms such as CITES 
and the WBCA have been put into place, particularly since 1992, much of 
the legal international trade in the military macaw has declined (see 
Factor B discussion, above; UNEP-WCMC CITES trade database, accessed 
September 6, 2011). However, those pressures prior to the military 
macaw's listing under CITES and the WBCA contributed significantly to 
the decline in population numbers for this species. Since then, the 
species' habitat has become fragmented, its range has reduced, and its 
populations have more difficulty finding suitable habitat.
    Each of these countries has enacted laws to protect its wildlife 
and habitat. However, we are unable to conclude that the regulatory 
mechanisms in place are adequate. The populations of this species in 
these four countries likely range from fewer than 100 to a few hundred 
individuals. There are numerous threats acting on this species;

[[Page 40193]]

its populations have severely declined. In some cases, the actual 
causes of decline may not be readily apparent and a species may be 
affected by more than one threat in combination. Habitat conservation 
measures within these range countries do not appear to sufficiently 
mitigate future habitat losses. Habitat loss and degradation continue 
to occur within these countries; the best available information does 
not indicate that the existing regulatory mechanisms have mitigated 
these threats in the range of this species. Because these populations 
of this species are very small in these countries, any impact is likely 
to have a significant impact on the species; therefore, we are unable 
to conclude that regulatory mechanisms in place for this species and 
its habitat are adequate.
    Bolivia, Colombia, and Mexico have enacted various laws and 
regulatory mechanisms for the protection and management of this species 
and its habitat. Although information available is limited, the best 
evidence suggests that the military macaw exists in small populations 
in several large protected areas within these countries. As discussed 
under Factor A, the military macaw prefers primary forests and 
woodlands and complex habitat that offers a variety of food sources. 
Its suitable habitat has been severely constricted due to 
deforestation. In these three countries, there is clear evidence of 
threats to this species due to activities such as habitat destruction 
and degradation, poaching, construction of roads, and mining, as well 
as decreased viability due to small population sizes, despite the 
regulatory mechanisms in place. We acknowledge that research and 
conservation programs are occurring in these countries. However, based 
on the best available information, we find that the existing regulatory 
mechanisms for these countries are either inadequate or inadequately 
enforced in order to protect the species or to mitigate ongoing habitat 
loss and degradation, poaching, and the severe population decline of 
this species. Habitat conservation measures within these range 
countries do not appear to sufficiently mitigate future habitat losses.
    Based on the best available information, we are unable to conclude 
that the existing regulatory mechanisms currently in place sufficiently 
mitigate threats to the military macaw throughout its range. Therefore, 
we find that the existing regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to 
mitigate the current threats to the continued existence of the military 
macaw throughout its range now and into the future.
E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting its Continued Existence

Small Population Size

    Small, declining populations can be especially vulnerable to 
environmental disturbances such as habitat loss (O'Grady 2004, pp. 513-
514). In order for a population to sustain itself, there must be enough 
reproducing individuals and habitat to ensure its survival. 
Conservation biology defines this as the ``minimum viable population'' 
requirement (Grumbine 1990, pp. 127-128). This requirement may be 
between 500 and 5,000 individuals depending on variability, demographic 
constraints, and evolutionary history. The military macaw occurs in 
relatively small populations (ranging from a few pairs to approximately 
100 individuals, with the total population size that is likely no 
greater than a few thousand). The military macaw relies on specific 
habitat to provide for its breeding, feeding, and nesting. 
Historically, the military macaw existed in much higher numbers in more 
continuous, connected habitat. Its suitable habitat is becoming 
increasingly limited, and its suitable habitat is not likely to expand 
in the future.
    The combined effects of habitat fragmentation and other factors on 
a species' population can have profound effects and can potentially 
reduce a species' respective effective population by orders of 
magnitude (Gilpin and Soul[eacute] 1986, p. 31). For example, an 
increase in habitat fragmentation can separate populations to the point 
where individuals can no longer disperse and breed among habitat 
patches, causing a shift in the demographic characteristics of a 
population and a reduction in genetic fitness (Gilpin and Soul[eacute] 
1986, p. 31). This is especially applicable for a species such as the 
military macaw that was once wide-ranging. It has lost a significant 
amount of its historical range due to habitat loss and degradation. 
Furthermore, as a species' status continues to decline, often as a 
result of deterministic forces such as habitat loss or overutilization, 
it will become increasingly vulnerable to other impacts. If this trend 
continues, its ultimate extinction due to one or more stochastic 
(random or unpredictable) events becomes more likely. The military 
macaw's current occupied and suitable range is highly reduced and 
severely fragmented. The species' small population size, its 
reproductive and life-history traits, and its highly restricted and 
severely fragmented range increase this species' vulnerability to other 
threats.

Climate Change

    Consideration of ongoing and projected climate change is a 
component of our analysis under the ESA. The term ``climate change'' 
refers to a change in the mean, variability, or seasonality of climate 
variables over time periods of decades or hundreds of years 
(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007, p. 78). 
Forecasts of the rate and consequences of future climate change are 
based on the results of extensive modeling efforts conducted by 
scientists around the world (Solman 2011, p. 20; Laurance and Useche 
2009, p. 1,432; Nu[ntilde]ez et al. 2008, p. 1; Margeno 2008, p. 1; 
Meehl et al. 2007, p. 753). Climate change models, like all other 
scientific models, produce projections that have some uncertainty 
because of the assumptions used, the data available, and the specific 
model features. The science supporting climate model projections as 
well as models assessing their impacts on species and habitats will 
continue to be refined as more information becomes available. While 
projections from regional climate model simulations are informative, 
various methods to downscale projections to more localized areas in 
which the species lives are still imperfect and under development 
(Solman 2011, p. 20; Nu[ntilde]ez et al. 2008, p. 1; Marengo 2008, p. 
1). The best available information does not indicate that climate 
change is impacting this species such that it is a threat. After 
reviewing the best available information, we do not find that changes 
in climate are impacting this species such that climate change is a 
threat.

Summary of Factor E

    A species may be affected by more than one threat acting in 
combination. Impacts typically operate synergistically, particularly 
when populations of a species are decreasing. Initial effects of one 
threat factor can later exacerbate the effects of other threat factors 
(Gilpin and Soul[eacute] 1986, pp. 25-26). Further fragmentation of 
populations can decrease the fitness and reproductive potential of the 
species, which will exacerbate other threats. Lack of a sufficient 
number of individuals in a local area or a decline in their individual 
or collective fitness may cause a decline in the population size, 
despite the presence of suitable habitat patches. Within the preceding 
review of the five factors, we have identified multiple threats that 
may

[[Page 40194]]

have interrelated impacts on this species. For example, the species' 
behavior of not nesting in areas where depredation or disturbance is 
likely may mean that a nest site is ``abandoned'' before nesting is 
even attempted. Thus, the species' productivity may be reduced because 
of any of these threats, either singularly or in combination. The most 
significant threats are habitat loss and poaching, particularly because 
the species has such a small and fragmented population, and it requires 
a large range and variety of food sources. These threats occur at a 
sufficient scale so that they are affecting the status of the species 
now and in the future.
    In addition, the species' current range is highly restricted and 
severely fragmented. The species' small population size, its 
reproductive and life-history traits, and its highly restricted and 
severely fragmented range increase the species' vulnerability to 
adverse natural events and manmade activities that destroy individuals 
and their habitat. The susceptibility to extirpation of limited-range 
species can occur for a variety of reasons, such as when a species' 
remaining population is already too small or its distribution too 
fragmented such that it may no longer be demographically or genetically 
viable (Harris and Pimm 2004, pp. 1612-1613). Therefore, we find that 
the species' small population size, in combination with other threats 
identified above, is a threat to the continued existence of the 
military macaw throughout its range now and in the future.

Finding and Status Determination for the Military Macaw

    We find that this species is endangered based on the above 
evaluation, and we propose to list this species as endangered due to 
the threats described above that continue to act on this species. 
Within the preceding review of the five factors, we identified multiple 
threats that may have interrelated impacts on the species. For example, 
the productivity of military macaws may be reduced because of the 
effects of poaching and habitat loss, which are expected to continue to 
act on the species in the future. In cases where populations are very 
small, species mate for life, and birds produce small clutch sizes, 
these effects are exacerbated. The susceptibility to extirpation of 
species with small and declining populations can occur for a variety of 
reasons, such as when a species' remaining population is already too 
small or its distribution too fragmented such that it may no longer be 
demographically or genetically viable (Harris and Pimm 2004, pp. 1,612-
1,613). This species exists generally in very small and fragmented 
populations, usually in areas with some form of protected status in 
Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia, and to a limited extent Ecuador, 
Venezuela, and Argentina. Its life-history traits (such as mating for 
life and small clutch size) make it particularly susceptible to 
extinction because its populations are so small. Based on our review of 
the best available scientific and commercial information pertaining to 
the five factors, we found that many of these threats are similar 
throughout the species' range.
    In four of the countries (Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela), 
the populations are extremely small, and very little information about 
the status of the species is available in many parts of its range. It 
is not necessarily easy to determine (nor is it necessarily 
determinable) which potential threat is the operational threat. 
However, we believe that these threats, either individually or in 
combination, are likely to occur at a sufficient geographical scale to 
significantly affect the status of the species. Additionally, although 
we do not have precise genetic information about populations throughout 
this species' range, it is likely that there is some genetic transfer 
between populations. We believe this based on its demonstrated ability 
to fly long distances in search of food sources (Chosset and Arias 
2010, p. 5). The most significant threat, habitat loss and degradation, 
is prevalent throughout this species' range. Its suitable habitat has 
severely contracted, and habitat loss is likely to continue into the 
future. We do not find that the factors affecting the species are 
likely to be sufficiently ameliorated in the foreseeable future. 
Therefore, we find that listing the military macaw is warranted 
throughout its range, and we propose to list the military macaw as 
endangered under the ESA.

Species Information for the Great Green Macaw

Taxonomy

    The great green macaw (Ara ambiguus or ambigua, Linnaeus, 1766; 
Bechstein, 1811) is in the parrot (Psittacidae) family. It is known by 
various common names such as lapa verde, Buffon's macaw, Guacamayo 
verde mayor, Guara verde, and Papagayo de Guayaquil. It occurs as two 
subspecies. The nominate subspecies, Ara a. ambiguus, occurs from 
Honduras to north-west Colombia. The subspecies A. a. guayaquilensis 
occurs in western Ecuador (Rodriguez-Mahecha et al. 2002, p. 116; 
Fj[euml]ldsa et al. 1987, pp. 28-31). There are believed to be only 
around 100 individuals of A. a. guayaquilensis in two areas in Ecuador. 
This subspecies has a smaller bill with greener underside of the flight 
and tail feathers than the nominate subspecies (Juniper and Parr 1998, 
p. 423). Avibase and ITIS both recognize these subspecies (http://www.itis.gov and http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/avibase.jsp, accessed 
November 3, 2011).
    There is no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a 
subspecies, and the use of the term subspecies varies among taxonomic 
groups (Haig and D'Elia 2010, p. 29). To be operationally useful, 
subspecies must be discernible from one another (i.e., diagnosable) and 
not merely exhibit mean differences (Patten and Unitt 2002, pp. 28, 
34). This element of diagnosability, or the ability to consistently 
distinguish between populations, is a common thread that runs through 
all subspecies concepts. All populations or subspecies of Ara ambigua 
essentially face similar threats, all are generally in the same region 
(Central and northern South America), and all have small populations. 
For the purpose of this proposed rule and based on the best available 
information, we recognize all populations of great green macaws as a 
single species.

Description

    This species ranges between 77 and 90 cm (30 and 35 inches) in 
length and has a red frontal band above a large black bill, bare facial 
features with black lines, blue flight feathers on the superior 
feathers and olive inferior feathers, blue lower back, and orange tail 
(Juniper and Parr 1998, pp. 423-424). It is the second largest New 
World macaw. This species is not sexually dimorphic, meaning there are 
no differences in appearance between males and females of the same 
species. The great green macaw is very similar in appearance to the 
military macaw, but the military macaw has more prominent blue coloring 
on its hind neck, has darker plumage, and is smaller. These two species 
are also separated geographically.

Range, Observations, and Population Estimates

    The great green macaw is patchily distributed in a 100,000-km\2\ 
(38,610-mi\2\) area (BLI 2011). In addition to occupying humid tropical 
forests primarily in Central America (Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, 
and Panama), there are small remnant populations in western Ecuador, as 
well as northern Colombia (Berg et al. 2007, p. 1; Chassot et al. 2006, 
p. 7). Although there may be some interaction between

[[Page 40195]]

populations, the great green macaw is fragmented into seven isolated 
populations throughout its distribution due to habitat loss (Monge et 
al. 2009, pp. 159, 174).
    Deforestation has reduced this species' habitat and concentrated 
its population into primarily five areas: the border of Honduras and 
Nicaragua, the border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, the Dari[eacute]n 
region of Panama and Colombia, and two very small populations in 
Ecuador (Hardman 2010, p. 8; Monge et al. 2009, p. 159).
    Population estimates were made in the 1990s and early 2000s. The 
global population is now likely less than 2,500 mature individuals (or 
less than 3,700 with juveniles included) (Monge et al. 2009, pp. 213, 
256); however, the actual population is far from clear. In 1993, the 
population estimate was 5,000 individuals; in 2000, the population was 
estimated to be between 2,500 and 10,000 birds (BirdLife International 
2009a; Rodr[iacute]guez-Mahecha 2002a). Although historical 
observations are useful for assessing the range of the species, they 
may also be biased because surveys may not have sampled randomly. Thus, 
historical population estimates of this species may not be accurate. 
Although the population in Costa Rica is increasing, the population 
continues to be very small (Monge et al. 2010, p. 16), and researchers 
believe that the global population of this species is decreasing 
(Botero-Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 91). Specific information 
about the range and population estimate for each country is discussed 
below.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP06JY12.005

Colombia

    Historically in Colombia, it was found in the north of the 
Serran[iacute]a de Baud[oacute] and the West Andes and east to the 
upper Sin[uacute] valley (Snyder et al. 2000, pp. 121-123). In the late 
1990s, this species was observed in Los Kat[iacute]os National Park, 
around Utr[iacute]a National Park in Serran[iacute]a de Baud[oacute] 
(Salaman in litt. 1997), and the Choc[oacute] area of western Colombia 
(Angehr in litt. 1996 in Snyder et al. 2000, pp. 121-123; Ridgley 
1982). This species' potential geographical range is 51,777 km\2\ 
(19,991 mi\2\), which includes two core areas in Sierra Nevada de Santa 
Marta and in the center of Antioquia Department of Columbia (Salaman et 
al. 2009, p. 21; Monge et al. 2009, unpaginated; Quevado-Gill et al. 
2006, p. 15). The total Columbian population is currently unclear, but 
it is now believed to primarily exist in Los Kat[iacute]os National 
Park, which borders the Dari[eacute]n region in Panama. It was also 
recently observed in the area of Sabanalarga, Antioquia (Quevado-Gill 
et al. 2006, p. 15). Even though the largest population is thought to 
be in the northern Dari[eacute]n border region with about 1,700 adults, 
researchers believe this is an estimate without a strong basis (Botero-
Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 91). The populations in Colombia 
are highly localized, and this number could be an overestimate (Botero-
Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 91).

Costa Rica

    The great green macaw historically inhabited forests along the 
Caribbean

[[Page 40196]]

lowlands of Costa Rica (Chosset et al. 2004, p. 32). The population has 
increased in that area since 1994, when there was an estimate of 210 
birds. The population appears to have fluctuated; in 2004, it was 
estimated that a maximum of 35 pairs were breeding in northern Costa 
Rica (Chosset et al. 2004, p. 32). A survey conducted in 2009 reported 
an population estimate of 302 in Costa Rica (Monge et al. 2009, p. 12); 
another estimate was that there was a total of 275 birds in Costa Rica 
in 2010 (Chassot 2010 pers. comm. in Hardman 2010, p. 11).
    Approximately 67,000 ha (165,561 ac) of great green macaw breeding 
territory now remains in Costa Rica (Chun 2008, p. v), which is less 
than 10 percent of its original suitable habitat (Monge et al. 2010, p. 
15; Chosset et al. 2004, p. 38). Potential great green macaw breeding 
habitat, excluding Ecuador, is defined by the density of almendro 
trees, which this species uses for its primary feeding and nesting 
substrate. Based on the assumption that great green macaw breeding 
pairs require 550 ha (1,359 ac) of non-overlapping habitat, Chun 
postulated that northern Costa Rica could support about 120 breeding 
macaw pairs (2008, p. 110). Chun notes that even the forested areas 
identified as individual ``patches'' through a geographic information 
system (GIS) program do not necessarily represent areas of forest with 
continuous canopy cover (indicating complex, fairly undisturbed habitat 
that is likely to contain nutritional needs for this species). Although 
these patches of forest are technically connected at some level, they 
are for the most part highly porous and discontinuous, and no analysis 
was performed to filter out stands that might be porous or 
discontinuous. There are some areas in its potential range that are 
above the elevation threshold for almendro trees, and do not meet the 
criteria for suitable habitat.

Ecuador

    In Ecuador, there may be only potentially one viable population. 
This population exists in the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest, which is 
6,070 ha (15,000 ac) outside of Guayaquil in Guayas Province (Villate 
et al. 2008, p. 19). This population is believed to be approximately 10 
individuals; an estimate of 60 to 90 individuals in Ecuador may be 
optimistic (Horstman pers comm. in Hardman 2010, p. 12). This is a 
decline from 1995, when the population was estimated to be 
approximately 100 birds in the Esmeraldas Province (Waugh 1995, p. 10). 
Between 1995 and 1998, some individuals were observed in the Playa de 
Oro area along the Santiago River (Jahn 2001, pp. 41-43). In 2002, 
Ecuador's population was estimated to be between 60 and 90 individuals 
(Monge et al. 2009, p. 256), but the population was reported to be 
rapidly decreasing. In 2005, the species was described as being found 
in scattered forest remnants in coastal Ecuador from Guayas to 
Esmeraldas Province (Horstman 2005, p. 3).
    In addition to the small population in the Cerro Blanco Protected 
Forest, recently reported to be about 11 individuals, there may be 
another small group in the Rio Canande Reserve, which is humid tropical 
forest, in the Esmeraldas province in coastal northern Ecuador 
(Horstman pers comm. in Hardman 2010, p. 12). Rio Canande Reserve 
(1,813 ha or 4,478 ac) is one of eight reserves managed by another NGO, 
the Jocotoco Foundation. The most recent population census in Ecuador 
was conducted in the provinces of Esmeraldas, Santa Elena, and Guayas. 
Five individuals were recently observed in the Bosque Protector 
Chong[oacute]n Colonche; one macaw was observed at the Hacienda El 
Molino, near the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest; and two macaws were 
seen at Rio Canande (Horstman 2011, p. 16). The Cordillera (mountain 
range) de Chong[oacute]n-Colonche is on the central pacific coast of 
Ecuador, located in the provinces of Guayas and Manabi. Some individual 
great green macaws have also been observed at Hacienda Gonzalez (40 km 
or 25 mi) northwest of Guayaquil; however, these individuals may be 
part of the same population found in Cerro Blanco. In summary, the 
majority of individuals are believed to be in Esmeraldas Province, and 
very small numbers remain in the Chong[oacute]n-Colonche mountain 
range, Guayas.

Honduras

    In 1983, the great green macaw was common in lowland rain forests 
in the Moskitia (Mosquitia) area and eastern Olancho (Marcus 1983, p. 
623). The region known as the Moskitia includes both eastern Honduras 
and northern Nicaragua. Historically, the species was reported to occur 
in the areas of Juticalpa and Catacamas in Olancho (Marcus 1983, p. 
623). The species has been observed daily in the Pl[aacute]tano River 
area in flocks of more than 10 individuals and almost daily in the 
Patuca River area, usually in pairs (Barborak 1997 in Snyder et al. 
2000, pp. 121-123). In August 1992, it was recorded on the Patuca River 
at Pimienta upstream from Wampusirpe (Wiendenfeld in Monge et al. 2009, 
p. 242). Currently, it exists in the Rio Pl[aacute]tano Biosphere 
Reserve (800,000 ha or 1,976,843 ac), which has been described as one 
of the most important reserves in Central America (Anderson et al. 
2004, p. 447).

Nicaragua

    In Nicaragua, the great green macaw is found primarily in lowland, 
tropical, and rain forest, as well as pine barrens, primarily in the 
Bosawas Reserve in the north and around the Indio-Ma[iacute]z and San 
Juan rivers in the south (Stocks et al. 2007, p. 1503; Martin[eacute]z-
S[aacute]nchez 2007; Chassot 2004, p. 36). The name Bosawas is derived 
from three significant geographic landmarks that delineate the 
reserve's core zone limits: The Bocay River, Mount Saslaya, and the 
Waspuk River. The Bosawas protected area contains habitat that is vital 
to the species. In the buffer zone of the Indio-Ma[iacute]z Biological 
Reserve, great green macaw nesting locations have been identified. The 
Indio-Ma[iacute]z Biological Reserve is located in Nicaragua just 
across the San Juan River at the northern border of Costa Rica, and is 
nearly 264,000 ha (652,358 ac) in size. The Nicaragua and Costa Rica 
macaw populations intermix; macaws have been observed crossing the San 
Juan River, which separates Nicaragua and Costa Rica. As of 2006, in 
the Quezada, Bijagua, Samaria, and La Juana communities, five macaw 
nests had been located during surveying. Recently, 35 active nests had 
been documented in the Indio-Ma[iacute]z Biological Reserve (Monge et 
al. 2010, p. 16).
    In 1999, Powell et al. estimated that the Nicaraguan great green 
macaw population could be 10 times the size of the population in Costa 
Rica. In 2008, a population viability analysis was conducted that 
indicated the size of the great green macaw population in Nicaragua was 
661 individuals (Monge et al. 2010, p. 21). In 2009, a population 
census was conducted, during which 432 macaws were observed. The 
researchers suggest that the ``average population'' in Nicaragua is 532 
(Monge et al. 2010, p. 13). This 2009 study yielded an estimated 
population of 871 individuals in Costa Rica and Nicaragua combined 
(Monge et al. 2010, p. 21).

Panama

    In Panama, the great green macaw is believed to inhabit the 
following areas: Bocas del Toro, La Amistad, northern Veraguas, Colon, 
San Blas, Dari[eacute]n, and Veraguas South (Monge et al. 2009, 
unpaginated). The species has been described as locally fairly common 
near Cana, Alturas de Nique, in 2005 (Angehr

[[Page 40197]]

in litt. 2005). As of 2009, the historical distribution in Panama was 
described as not well known due to lack of information (Monge et al. 
2009, p. 68). The most viable population is believed to be in 
Dari[eacute]n National Park, Panama, which borders Colombia (Monge et 
al. 2009, p. 68; Angehr in litt. 1996 in Snyder et al. 2000, pp. 121-
123; Ridgley 1982). Researchers believe the Dari[eacute]n area may 
contain the largest overall population of the great green macaw. 
However, there is little recent information to confirm this (Monge et 
al. 2009, p. 68). Dari[eacute]n National Park is the largest national 
park in Panama, and one of the largest tropical forest protected areas 
in Central America (TNC 2011, p. 1). The Dari[eacute]n region 
encompasses nearly 809,371 ha (2 million acres) of protected areas, 
including Dari[eacute]n National Park and Biosphere Reserve, Punta 
Pati[ntilde]o Natural Reserve, Brage Biological Corridor, and two 
indigenous reserves (TNC 2011, p. 1). La Amistad, an area which may 
have a fairly viable population, connects suitable habitat in Panama 
such as Cerro Punta, Rio Pl[aacute]tano, and the Dari[eacute]n region, 
and connects the remote hills of Bocas del Toro Province with habitat 
in Costa Rica. La Amistad is approximately 200,000 ha (500,000 acres) 
in area.

Summary of Population Estimate

    The global population of great green macaws is estimated to be 
fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, or no more than 3,700 individuals 
(Monge et al. 2009, p. 213; Jahn in litt. 2005, 2007, unpaginated). 
Based on the best available information from experts, the total 
population is likely between 1,000 and 3,000 individuals (Botero-
Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 91; Monge et al. 2009, p. 213; 
Monge et al. 2009b, p. 68). In Ecuador, the population is estimated to 
be likely fewer than 80 individuals (Horstman 2011, p. 17). In 2009, a 
census was conducted in Costa Rica and Nicaragua (Monge et al. 2010, p. 
13). A total of 173 individuals were observed in the Costa Rican study 
area, and 432 individuals were observed in the Nicaraguan study area 
during the breeding season (Monge et al. 2010, p. 22), with the areas 
of M[oacute]nico, Romerito, and Bartola having the highest estimated 
abundance at the time of each census. The population of the great green 
macaw for Costa Rica is currently estimated to be approximately 302 
individuals, and the population for Nicaragua is roughly estimated to 
be 532 individuals (Monge et al. 2010, p. 22). Horstman and Jahn both 
state that the estimate for Ecuador may be optimistic (in litt.). 
Species with strict habitat requirements such as the great green macaw 
are particularly subject to population size overestimation, because 
they are unlikely to be randomly distributed within the habitat (Jetz 
et al. 2008, p. 116). Thus, additional surveys are needed and ground-
truthing (gathering data regarding where the species is located) is 
essential to obtain accurate population estimates for this species.

Habitat and Life History

    The great green macaw inhabits humid lowland foothills and 
deciduous forests generally below 600 m (1,968 ft), but also may occur 
between 1,000 and 1,500 m (3,281 and 4,921 ft) depending on suitable 
habitat, which is primarily based on the presence of almendro (Dipteryx 
panamensis) trees. The type of habitat preferred by the great green 
macaw is an ecosystem where the almendro tree and Pentacletra macroloba 
(oil bean tree) dominate (Chassot et al. 2006, p. 35). This species' 
nests have been found in Carapa nicaraguensis (caobilla), Enterolobium 
schomburgkii (guanacaste blanco), Goethalsia meiantha, Prioria 
copaifera (cativo), and Vochysia ferruginea (botarrama) trees (Chosset 
and Arias 2010, p. 14; Powell et al. 1999). Nests have been observed in 
large trees, with cavities that are nearly 20 m (66 ft) above ground 
(Rodriguez-Mahecha 2002, p. 119). Great green macaws have been observed 
to use the same nesting cavity for many years if they are undisturbed, 
although they may alternate nest sites each year (Chun 2008, p. 102). 
Reproductive capability is generally reached between ages 5 and 6 years 
(Chassot et al. 2004, p. 34). The great green macaw mates for life, and 
nests in deep cavities (usually of almendro trees) from December to 
June (Chassot et al. in Villate et al. 2008, p. 19; Monge et al. 2002, 
p. 39). The incubation time is 26 days and the nesting period is 12 to 
13 weeks (Rodriguez-Mahecha et al. 2002, p. 119). After the breeding 
season, individuals disperse from the lowlands towards higher forests 
in the mountains in search of food (Powell et al. 1999 in Chosset et 
al. 2004, p. 38).
    The great green macaw has been observed in flocks of up to 18 
individuals, and has been observed traveling long distances on the 
Caribbean slope. Macaws are strong fliers and are known to travel 
hundreds of kilometers (Chosset and Arias 2010, p. 5; Chosett et al. 
2004, p. 36). During a study in the late 1990s, macaws fitted with 
radio transmitters demonstrated that macaws migrate seasonally based on 
food availability, and were found to travel between 40 and 58 km (25 to 
36 mi) while in search of food (Chosset et al. 2004, p. 35).

Diet

    The great green macaw has been observed feeding on fruits of 37 
tree species (Berg et al. 2007, p. 2; Chassot et al. 2006, p. 35). 
While it is closely associated with the almendro tree, its diet varies 
based on location. In Ecuador, it was observed feeding on the following 
tree species: Cordia eriostigma (totumbo), Cynometra sp. (cocobolo), 
Ficus trigunata (matapalo), Ficus sp. (higuer[oacute]n), Psidium 
acutangulum (Guayaba de monte), Chrysophyllum caimito (caimito), and 
Vitex gigantea (tillo blanco or pechiche) (Berg et al. 2007, p. 2; 
Waugh 1995, p. 7). In other parts of its range, it has also been 
observed feeding on Cavanillesia platanifolia (no common name [NCN]), 
Cecropia litoralis (pumpwood or trumpet tree), Centrolobium ochroxylum 
(amarillo de guayaquil), Cochlospermum vitifolium (buttercup tree), 
Lecythis ampla (sapucaia), Leucaena trichodes (NCN), Odroma pyramidalis 
(NCN), Pseudobombax guayasen (NCN), Pseudobombax millei (beldaco), 
Rafia species (believed to be palms), Sloanea spp., Symphonia 
globulifera (NCN), and Terminalia valverdeae (guarapo) (Berg et al. 
2007, p. 6). One preferred plant species, Cynometra bauhiniifolia 
(NCN), produced more food than nine other species (Berg et al. 2007, p. 
1). In another study, two of the most important sources of food for the 
great green macaw, in addition to the almendro tree, were found to be 
Sacoglottis trichogyna (titor, rosita, or manteco) and Vochysia 
ferruginea (NCN) (Herrero-Fernandez 2006, p. 9; Chassot et al. 2006, p. 
35). S. trichogyna fruits were observed to be its preferred food when 
D. panamensis was scarce or unavailable in Costa Rica (Chassot et al. 
2004, p. 34).

Almendro Trees

    The great green macaw is closely associated with almendro trees for 
feeding and nesting in the majority of its range (Chun 2008, p. iv; 
Chosset et al. 2004, p. 34). Because the great green macaw is highly 
dependent on the almendro tree, we are describing almendro tree 
habitat, its life history, and factors that affect its habitat. The 
almendro tree (also known as the tropical almond or mountain almond 
tree) is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae; Papilionoideae) and 
bears compact, single-seeded drupes. The seeds are encased in a thick 
woody endocarp that has been observed to persist on the forest floor 
for up to 2

[[Page 40198]]

years (Hanson 2006, p. 68). This tree species is only located in 
southern Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia, where it grows 
primarily in the lowlands of the Atlantic plains. They require an 
annual rainfall of 3 to 5 m (approximately 10 to 16 ft) (Schmidt 2009, 
p. 14) for optimal growth. A 2008 study reported that nearly 90 percent 
of all great green macaw nests identified in northern Costa Rica are 
located within hollowed cavities of large almendro trees (Chun 2008, p. 
109). Additionally, almendro trees were found to provide 80 to 90 
percent of both the macaw's food and nesting needs. Great green macaw 
pairs tend to select nesting trees that are surrounded by relatively 
dense stands of reproducing almendro trees (Chun 2008). Almendro tree 
fruit sustains the adults, chicks, nestlings, and fledglings over the 
course of the breeding and development season, which coincides with the 
peak production of almendro fruit (November through March).
    Likely pollinators of the almendro tree are bees within the genera 
Bombus, Centris, Melipona, Trigona, and Epicharis (Thiele 2002 in 
Hanson 2006, p. 3; Flores 1992, pp. 1-22; Perry et al. 1980, p. 310). 
These trees are referred to as ``emergent'' because they are the 
tallest trees in the forest. Almendro trees can grow to over 46 m (150 
ft) and reach a diameter of 1.5 m (4.92 ft). Three hundred-year-old 
trees have been documented, but research suggests that the almendro 
tree has a maximum potential age of 654 years (Fichtler et al. 2003 in 
Schmidt 2009, p. 15).
    Wood from the almendro tree is heavy, is commercially valuable, and 
yields the highest prices on local markets (Rodriguez and Chaves 2008, 
p. 5). It is used for furniture, floorings, bridges, railroad ties, 
boats, marine construction, handicrafts, veneers, industrial machinery, 
sporting equipment, springboards, and agricultural tool handles 
(Schmidt 2009, p. 16). Almendro outsells every other tree species on 
the Costa Rican timber market (Grethel and Norman 2009 in Schmidt 2009, 
p. 77; Rodriguez and Chaves 2008, p. 5). It was listed in Appendix III 
of CITES in Costa Rica in 2003, and in Nicaragua in 2007 (http://www.cites.org). A species is unilaterally listed in Appendix III by a 
country in the native range of that species, at the request of that 
country. Article II, paragraph 3, of CITES states that ``Appendix III 
shall include all species which any Party identifies as being subject 
to regulation within its jurisdiction for the purpose of preventing or 
restricting exploitation, and as needing the cooperation of other 
parties in the control of trade.'' For the export of specimens of an 
Appendix-III species, the Management Authority in the country of export 
needs to determine that the specimens were not obtained in 
contravention of that country's laws. In addition to CITES protections, 
a recent decision by the fourth Chamber of Costa Rica's Supreme Court 
in 2008 required the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE, or 
Ministerio de Ambiente y Energia) to abstain from the use, 
exploitation, or extraction of almendro trees (Chun 2008, p. 113).
    Recent research found that this tree species is much more 
restricted to lowland habitat than previously described; it is 
predicted to occur between 45 and 125 m (147 to 410 ft) in elevation, 
in part based on its soil requirements (Schmidt 2009, p. iv; Chun 2008, 
p. 109). The almendro tree is best adapted to areas with high levels of 
rainfall and acidic clay soils with good drainage below elevations of 
500 m (1,640 ft), such as the Atlantic lowlands of Costa Rica (Schmidt 
2009, p. iv). Almendro trees require at least 2000 millimeters (mm) (79 
inches) of rainfall per year for optimal growth (Schmidt 2009, p. 69).
    Great green macaw breeding pairs are believed to require a home 
range of 550 ha (1,359 ac) (Chun 2008, p. 105). Because the great green 
macaw requires such a large range and is strongly associated with 
almendro trees, range countries such as Nicaragua and Costa Rica have 
developed conservation plans for the almendro tree. Almendro trees 
commonly occur at a density of less than one adult tree per hectare 
(Hanson et al. 2008 in Schmidt 2009, p. 14; Hanson et al. 2006, p. 49). 
The highest density recorded was 4 trees per hectare (Chaverri and 
L[oacute]pez 1998). In one area of Costa Rica that was surveyed for 
almendro trees, of 140,178 ha (56,728 ac) surveyed, 20 percent 
exhibited densities of 0.50 almendro trees per hectare or more, and 50 
percent had densities of 0.20 trees per ha or more (Chun 2008, p. 103).
    Due to their important role in the ecosystem, particularly with 
respect to the great green macaw, conservation efforts have focused on 
the almendro tree. These trees not only provide habitat to many 
wildlife species such as the great green macaw, but they also play a 
significant role in the ecosystem. One conservation strategy for the 
great green macaw is to protect 30,159 ha (74,493 acres) of primary, 
secondary, and mangrove forest that remains in this species' nesting 
habitat. Another conservation strategy has been to establish almendro 
tree plantations. Due to its open crown structure, almendro has a 
relatively translucent canopy that produces only moderate shade, which 
allows for the production of shade canopy crops such as pineapple and 
cacao (Schmidt 2009, p. 19). These almendro plantations are being 
researched for several reasons, particularly due to the almendro tree's 
ability to resist decay, its ability to capture carbon dioxide, and its 
role in the ecosystem (Schmidt 2009, p. 11). Additionally, almendro 
trees have been identified as the most promising species for long-term 
carbon sink reforestation projects in Costa Rica (Redondo-Brenes 2007, 
p. 253; Redondo-Brenes and Montagnini 2006, p. 168).
    In Ecuador, the great green macaw is not dependant on almendro 
trees, although the great green macaw still inhabits humid lowland 
areas (Juniper and Parr 1998, p. 424). In this habitat, the great green 
macaw prefers Lecythis ampla (salero) in the Esmeraldas rainforest, 
Cynometra bauhiniaefolia (cocobolo) as a primary food source, and pigio 
(Cavanillesia platanifolia) as a nest tree (Horstman pers. comm. 2011).

Conservation Status

    There are various protections in place for the great green macaw at 
the international, national, and local levels. At the international 
level, this species is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List due to 
continuous loss of habitat, hunting, and poaching of this species for 
the pet trade (IUCN 2011). IUCN's Red List classifies species as 
endangered (extinction probability of 20 percent within 20 years) or 
critically endangered (extinction probability of 50 percent within 10 
years) based on several criteria, including limited or declining ranges 
or populations. However, the status under IUCN conveys no actual 
protections. This species is listed in Appendix I of CITES. Appendix I 
includes species threatened with extinction that are or may be affected 
by international trade, and are generally prohibited from commercial 
trade. Refer to the discussion above for the military macaw for 
additional information about CITES. The great green macaw's 
conservation status in each country is discussed below and in more 
detail under Factor D.

Colombia

    The great green macaw is listed as Vulnerable on Colombia's Red 
List (Renjifo et al. 2002, p. 524). It has protected status in Los 
Kat[iacute]os National Park, Utr[iacute]a National Park, Paramillo 
National Park, and Farallones de Cali National Natural Park (Rodriguez 
et al. 2002, pp. 120-121). The largest

[[Page 40199]]

population of the great green macaw is believed to exist in the 
Dari[eacute]n Endemic Bird Area (EBA) 023, which encompasses southern 
Panam[aacute] and northwestern Colombia. However, there are no reliable 
population estimates for this area (Botero-Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 
2011, p. 91; Jahn in litt. 2004). Colombia developed a National Action 
Plan for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (Plan Nacional de 
Acci[oacute]n para la Conservaci[oacute]n de los Loros Amenazados), and 
it was in effect until 2007. The ProAves Foundation, an NGO in 
Colombia, has been active in parrot conservation since 2005. Other than 
NGO involvement, it is unclear what proactive, effective protections 
are in place for this species.

Costa Rica

    The great green macaw is considered to be endangered in Costa Rica 
(Monge et al. 2010; Herrero 2006, p. 6; Executive Order No. 26435-
MINAE). Several intense conservation initiatives are underway for this 
species in Costa Rica. In 2001, a committee was formed to investigate a 
corridor for the conservation of this species' habitat. As a result, 
the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor was formed to connect the 
Indio Ma[iacute]z Biological Reserve in southeastern Nicaragua with the 
Central Volcanic Cordillera Range in Costa Rica. This links Costa 
Rica's La Selva Biological Station in the north to the Barra del 
Colorado Wildlife Reserve and National Park and Protective Zone of 
Tortuguero on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast. In addition, the 
conservation team lobbied for the establishment of the Maquenque 
National Wildlife Refuge to protect the macaw's breeding habitat 
(Hardman 2010, p. 10; Chun 2008, p. 98). This corridor makes up a part 
of the larger MesoAmerican Biological Corridor, which has been proposed 
to connect protected habitat from the Yucatan Region in southern Mexico 
and Belize to the Dari[eacute]n National Park in Panama (http://www.greatgreenmacaw.org/BiologicalCorridor.htm, accessed October 25, 
2011).
    The San Juan-La Selva bi-national corridor links existing protected 
wild areas. There is also an extended part to the northwest that 
includes the El Castillo area. The goal of this initiative is to 
provide linkages to 29 protected areas involving 1,311,182 ha 
(3,240,001 ac) (Chassot et al. 2006, p. 85). Because macaws are known 
to move hundreds of kilometers (Chosset and Arias 2010, p. 5), these 
linkages should allow for this species to better access different 
habitats so that it is able to meet its nutritional and nesting 
requirements. In addition to containing key conservation sites for the 
great green macaw, the corridor connects the vast expanse that includes 
Punta Gorda Natural Reserve, Cerro Silva Natural Reserve, and Fortaleza 
Inmaculada Concepci[oacute]n de Mar[iacute]a Historic Monument (Chassot 
et al. 2006, p. 85). The corridor also provides connections among 
unprotected forest patches in Costa Rica in addition to providing 
connections to protected areas. Many of these areas may not be pristine 
habitat; some areas are either inhabited by humans or used by local 
communities to extract resources. However, there are conservation 
awareness programs in place throughout the corridor, and the great 
green macaw is being intensely managed and monitored in the San Juan-La 
Selva Biological Corridor.

Ecuador

    This species is categorized as critically endangered in Ecuador 
(Monge et al. 2009, p. 256), primarily due to deforestation and hunting 
pressures. In Ecuador, the only potentially viable population is 
believed to exist in the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest, which is 6,070 
ha (15,000 ac) in size. The Guayaquil subspecies of the great green 
macaw (Ara a. guyaquilensis) is thought to be in imminent danger of 
extinction (Berg 2007, p. 1). In 2008, the National Preservation 
Strategy for the Great Green Macaw in Ecuador was described at the 
Great Green Macaw Population Viability Assessment and Habitat 
Conservation Workshop held in Costa Rica; however, funding is still 
lacking for many of the initiatives in Ecuador that have been 
prescribed as necessary for the conservation of this species.

Honduras

    The great green macaw is categorized as endangered in Honduras 
(List of Wildlife Species of Special Concern, Resolution No. Gg-003-98 
APVS). In 1990, the government of Honduras prohibited the capture and 
sale of wildlife, including the great green macaw in Honduras. 
Currently, this species exists in the Rio Pl[aacute]tano Biosphere 
Reserve (which consists of 800,000 ha or 1,976,843 ac). The official 
designation of the Biosphere as a reserve is to protect and conserve 
biodiversity; however, this designation has not halted deforestation 
within the protected area (UNESCO 2011, p. 1; ParksWatch 2011; Wade 
2007, p. 65). Additionally, as of 2009, there were 23 areas in Honduras 
identified as Important Bird Areas (IBAs) (Devenish et al. 2009, p. 1) 
that may provide additional protections to this species in part by 
serving as ecotourism sites which can increase conservation efforts in 
the areas. For additional information on IBAs, see the discussion above 
for the military macaw.

Nicaragua

    Nicaragua follows the IUCN categorization for this species 
(Castellon 2008, pp. 13, 19; Lezama-L[oacute]pez 2006, p. 90). The 
great green macaw exists in the Indio-Ma[iacute]z Biological Reserve, 
which has had protected status since 1990, although threats to the 
species still exist in this Reserve (Herrera 2004, pp. 5-6). Nicaragua 
is also participating in the bi-national conservation strategy for this 
species (Monge et al. 2009, pp. 11, 16).

Panama

    There is little information available regarding the status of this 
species in Panama (Monge et al. 2009, p. 67); however, Panama follows 
the IUCN categorization for this species (Devenish et al. 2009, p. 
294). The great green macaw is believed to be in Dari[eacute]n National 
Park (Monge et al. 2009, p. 68). Panama's wildlife law of 1995, Law No. 
24, establishes the standards for wildlife conservation.

NGO Involvement

    There are many nongovernmental organization (NGO), private, and 
government efforts to protect this species, although not all of the 
projects and NGOs are identified in this document. NGOs have conducted 
collaborative efforts, such as training workshops, that are community-
focused and aimed at the conservation of habitat. In Nicaragua, 
Fundaci[oacute]n Cocibolca is active in this species' conservation. The 
NGO first signed an agreement with Nicaragua's Natural Resources 
Ministry (MARENA) in 1996, at which time the conservation group was the 
first NGO to have been granted responsibility to manage a national 
protected area in Nicaragua (http://www.marena.gob.ni; accessed 
November 9, 2011; http://www.planeta.com, accessed November 9, 2011). 
The Nicaraguan conservation organization, Fundaci[oacute]n del Rio, 
works in the buffer zone of the Indio-Ma[iacute]z Biological Reserve, 
which borders the San Juan River (Villate 2008, p. 39). In 1999, this 
NGO began an environmental education program in this buffer zone to 
promote awareness of the great green macaw and its habitat. In another 
area, as a result of conservation efforts, the local government of El 
Castillo declared this species the official municipal bird, and the 
city established sanctions to those intending to harm this species 
(Chassot et al. 2008, p. 23).

[[Page 40200]]

    Since 2001, Fundaci[oacute]n del R[iacute]o and the Tropical 
Science Center in Costa Rica have coordinated a binational campaign 
focused on promoting the awareness of the ecology of the great green 
macaw in the lowlands of the San Juan River area (Chassot et al. 2009, 
p. 9). Between 2002 and 2005, at least 11 workshops on great green 
macaw biology and preservation were held within communities of the 
buffer zone of Indio-Maiz Biological Reserve in Costa Rica (Chassot et 
al. 2006, p. 86). Some examples of projects initiated by NGOs include 
installation of nest boxes to increase nest availability and community 
heritage festivals that are focused on the great green macaw. Some NGOs 
are providing training to local communities to monitor populations, and 
some researchers are studying this species via satellite transmitters 
to determine the species' home range and specific habitat used (Chosset 
et al. 2004, p. 35). In Costa Rica and Nicaragua, 20 communities are 
participating in monitoring and protection activities of the great 
green macaw (Chosset and Arias 2010, p. 3). The primary objectives of 
the campaign have been to improve awareness by conducting workshops on 
the importance, threats, and conservation of the great green macaw and 
its habitat; to strengthen natural resources management by 
environmental authorities of both Nicaragua and Costa Rica, focusing on 
the local and international biological corridors; and to organize joint 
activities (Chassot et al. 2006, p. 83).
    In Colombia, the NGO, ProAves, has made great progress in forming 
partnerships at the local, regional, and international levels to carry 
out bird conservation initiatives (Chassot et al. 2008, p. 23; Quevado-
Gill et al. 2006, p. 18). Additionally, reforestation efforts have 
occurred (Monge et al. 2009, p. 263). These efforts have focused 
primarily within the reserves of the Colombian Civil Society 
Association Network (Quevado-Gill et al. 2006, p. 17). Conservation 
efforts and these workshops have been important because they have 
trained the community in sustainable development by linking local 
agricultural activities to the protection of natural resources 
(Quevado-Gill et al. 2006, p. 17).
    Three NGOs are active in the conservation of this species in 
Ecuador: Pro-Forest Foundation in Guayas Province, Fundaci[oacute]n 
Natura, and the Jocotoco Foundation at the Rio Canande Reserve in 
Esmeraldas Province. The Pro-Forest Foundation (Fundaci[oacute]n 
ProBosque) was created in 1992, through a decree of the Ecuadorian 
Ministry of Agriculture. Its mission is to protect areas with an 
emphasis in reforestation, agroforestry, investigation, environmental 
education, ecotourism programs, all in order to support the 
conservation of biodiversity.
    In Panama, the Asociaci[oacute]n Nacional para la 
Conservaci[oacute]n de la Naturaleza (ANCON) began conservation work in 
1991. The project has jointly worked on conservation efforts with 
Panama's Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales Renovables 
(INRENARE). ANCON has worked on training park rangers, marking and 
patrolling paths and park boundaries, acquiring property around parks 
and tree nurseries, and improving agricultural techniques (TNC 2011, p. 
2).
    Additionally, members from several NGOs participated in the great 
green macaw conservation workshop held in the 2008. The purpose of the 
workshop was to bring together experts, to determine the priorities for 
the conservation of the species, and to develop a plan for its 
conservation (Monge et al. 2009, entire). We acknowledge the 
substantial effort underway by various NGOs in the range countries of 
this species to protect it and its habitat. Despite many efforts in 
place, the populations of the great green macaw continue to face many 
threats to its habitat.

Evaluation of Threat Factors

Introduction

    Section 4 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1533) and implementing regulations 
(50 CFR 424) set forth procedures for adding species to, removing 
species from, or reclassifying species on the Federal List of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of 
the ESA, a species may be determined to be endangered or threatened 
based on any of the following five factors:
    (1) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range;
    (2) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;
    (3) Disease or predation;
    (4) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and
    (5) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence.
    In making this finding, information pertaining to the great green 
macaw in relation to the five factors in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA is 
discussed below. In considering what factors might constitute threats 
to a species, we must look beyond the exposure of the species to a 
particular factor to evaluate whether the species may respond to that 
factor in a way that causes actual impacts to the species. If there is 
exposure to a factor and the species responds negatively, the factor 
may be a threat, and, during the status review, we attempt to determine 
how significant a threat it is. The identification of factors that 
could impact a species negatively may not be sufficient to compel a 
finding that the species warrants listing. The information must include 
evidence sufficient to suggest that these factors, singly or in 
combination, are operative threats that act on the species to the point 
that the species may meet the definition of endangered or threatened 
under the ESA.
    This status review focuses primarily on where this species has been 
documented, which is generally in parks and other areas with protected 
status and the peripheral zones. In some cases, we will evaluate the 
factor by country. In other cases, we may evaluate the factor by a 
broader region or context, for example, if we do not have adequate 
information specific to a particular country about this species. This 
is because often threats are the same or very similar throughout the 
species' range. If we do not have information about the species in a 
particular area, we will state this and request information during this 
proposed rule's comment period (see DATES, above).
A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment 
of Its Habitat or Range
    Throughout the range of this species, the factors impacting the 
great green macaw are generally very similar. The main factors 
affecting this species are habitat loss and degradation, and poaching 
(McGinley et al. 2009, p. 11; Berg et al. 2007; Chassot et al. 2006; 
Quevado-Gill et al. 2006, p. 16; Guedes 2004, p. 280). Both Central and 
South America continue to experience high levels of deforestation (FAO 
2010, p. xvi). Habitat loss is primarily due to conversion of the 
species' habitat (generally forests) to agriculture and other forms 
that are not optimal for this species (Chosset and Arias 2010, p. 3; 
Monge et al. 2009, entire).
    Almendro habitat, this species' primary food and nesting source, 
has declined significantly (Schmidt 2009, p. 16), particularly since 
the 1980s. Almendro and other tree species used by the great green 
macaw have been selectively cut down and removed from this species' 
habitat. Selective logging is the practice of removing one or two 
generally large, mature trees and leaving the rest. Throughout the 
range of the great green macaw, its habitat has declined primarily due 
to competition

[[Page 40201]]

for resources and human encroachment (Guedes 2004, p. 279; 
Rodr[iacute]guez-Mahecha and Hern[aacute]ndez-Camacho 2002; Chassot and 
Monge 2002 in Rothman 2008, p. 509). Its habitat has continuously been 
clear-cut and converted to agriculture or human establishments, which 
is discussed in more detail below.

Logging

    Tree species used by macaws tend to be large, mature trees with 
large nesting cavities. The practice of selective logging can severely 
impact macaws because this practice often targets the old, large trees 
that the macaws depend upon for nesting. In selective logging, the most 
valuable trees from a forest are commercially extracted (Asner et al. 
2005, p. 480; Johns 1988, p. 31), and the forest is left to regenerate 
naturally or with some management until being subsequently logged 
again. Johns (1988, p. 31), looking at a West Malaysian dipterocarp 
forest, found that mechanized selective logging in tropical 
rainforests, which usually removes a small percentage of timber trees, 
causes severe incidental damage. He found that the extraction of 3.3 
percent of trees destroyed 50.9 percent of the forest. Timber companies 
operating under a selective logging system can cause considerable 
damage to the surrounding forest, both to trees and soil. Selective 
logging can cause widespread collateral damage to remaining trees, 
subcanopy vegetation, and soil, and the practice impacts hydrological 
processes, erosion, fire, carbon storage, and plant and animal species 
(Chomitz et al. 2007, pp. 117, 119; Asner et al. 2005, p. 480). Forests 
that were selectively logged 15 years before exhibited an open 
structure with skeletons of incidentally killed trees, serious gulley 
erosion, and vegetation on waterlogged sites that had been compacted by 
heavy vehicles (Edwards 1993, p. 9). Because selective logging targets 
large, mature trees, this practice can have a disproportionate impact 
on hole-nesters, such as macaws. Additionally, the availability of food 
sources for frugivores (fruit-eaters, such as the great green macaw) is 
reduced because the trees that contain nutritional sources are no 
longer there.
    Selective logging is particularly devastating in the case of the 
great green macaw, as the species is closely associated with the 
almendro tree, which it needs for both food and shelter. The almendro 
tree's wood is of great commercial value due to its strength and 
durability for flooring, roofing, and irrigation systems (Madriz-Vargas 
2004, p. 8). Because this tree species is quite high in commercial 
value, it has been selectively logged. Concern for this tree species 
was significant enough that the species was added to CITES Appendix III 
in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Listing species in Appendix III enhances 
conservation measures enacted for the species by regulating 
international trade in the species, particularly by preventing trade in 
illegally acquired specimens. In general, shipments containing CITES-
listed species receive greater scrutiny from border officials in both 
the exporting and importing countries. The elimination of almendro 
trees is possibly the most severe threat for the species in its range 
countries with the exception of Ecuador, where the decrease in 
availability of other tree species used by the great green macaw is a 
concern.
    Unsustainable logging practices that destroy the forest canopy also 
reduce habitat available to the great green macaw. The great green 
macaw's primary nesting habitat, the almendro tree, is slow growing and 
may take centuries to reach sufficient size to harbor cavities (Schmidt 
2009, p. 15). Although the nest cavities that the macaws prefer (deep 
and dry) may take 10 to 20 years to form, these nests can last for 
several decades (Chun 2008, p. 101). Not only have amounts of available 
suitable habitat decreased, but the spatial distribution of its habitat 
has also changed, making foraging more difficult and requiring more 
energy expended. Even in undisturbed forests, suitable tree cavities 
are usually limited. As a result, each loss of a nest site can 
represent the loss of potentially many future chicks that could have 
been raised in each tree cavity.

Agriculture

    Habitat degradation, particularly due to conversion of forest 
habitat to agriculture or plantations, is a major factor affecting 
great green macaws. The clearing of forests and buffer zones for the 
development of plantations for bananas, oil palms, cacao, coffee, 
soybeans, and rice destroys great green macaw nesting sites and exposes 
chicks to poaching for the pet trade (Botero et al. 2011, p. 92; Monge 
et al. 2009, pp. 26, 29, 43, 54; Waugh 1995, p. 2). By 2005, the 
world's tropical forests biome had decreased to less than 50 percent 
tree cover (Donald et al. 2010, p. 26), in part due to the above 
activities. Tropical forest fragmentation due to these activities 
continues to be a concern. A discussion of habitat loss and degradation 
for each country follows.

Colombia

    Very little information is available about the great green macaw's 
status in Colombia (Botero-Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, pp. 86, 90; 
Monge et al. 2009; Jahn in litt. 2004). A large population is believed 
to exist in Los Kat[iacute]os National Park, which borders the swampy 
and sparsely-populated Dari[eacute]n region in Panama; however there 
are no recent reported observations of the species in this area. 
Population surveys need to be conducted (Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2011, 
pp. 88, 90; Monge et al. 2009). At least 40 percent of the great green 
macaw's original distribution area in northwestern Colombia was 
deforested by 1997 (Etter 1998 in Jahn in litt. 2004). Threats to this 
species in Colombia have been identified as: Agriculture (particularly 
illegal coca cultivation); agroindustrial farms; large forest plantings 
of exotic trees; wood extraction; development of infrastructure; and 
hunting, capturing, harvesting of this species (Botero-Delgadillo and 
P[aacute]ez 2011, pp. 91-92). Threats specific to Los Kat[iacute]os 
National Park are illegal deforestation and hunting (UNEP-WCMC 2009, p. 
1). In 2009, the threats in this park were so severe that the park was 
added to UNESCO's List of World Heritage Sites in Danger (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/711, accessed January 17, 2012).

Deforestation

    Colombia has experienced extensive deforestation in the last half 
of the 20th century as a result of habitat conversion for human 
settlements, road building, agriculture, and timber extraction (FAO 
2010, p. 233; Armenteras et al. 2006, p. 354). A 23-year study, 
conducted from 1973 to 1996, found that these activities reduced the 
amount of primary forest cover in Colombia by approximately 3,605 ha 
(8,908 ac) annually, representing a nearly one-third total loss of 
primary forest habitat (Vi[ntilde]a et al. 2004, pp. 123-124). More 
than 70 percent of rural land of Colombia located in former forestlands 
is now devoted to cattle grazing (Etter and McAlpine 2007, pp. 89-92). 
Beginning in the 1980s, habitat loss increased dramatically as a result 
of influxes of people settling in formerly pristine areas (Perz et al. 
2005, pp. 26-28; Vi[ntilde]a et al. 2004, p. 124). More recent studies 
indicate that the rate of habitat destruction is accelerating (FAO 
2010, p. xvi). Between the years 1990 and 2005, Colombia lost 
approximately 52,800 ha (130,471 ac) of primary forest annually (Butler 
2006a, pp. 1-3).
    Primary forest habitats such as those used by the great green macaw 
throughout Colombia have undergone extensive deforestation. Vi[ntilde]a 
et al. (2004, pp. 123-124) used satellite imagery to analyze 
deforestation rates

[[Page 40202]]

and patterns along the Colombian-Ecuadorian Border (in the Departments 
of Putumayo and Sucumbios, respectively) and found that between 1973 
and 1996 a total of 829 km\2\ (320 mi\2\) of tropical forests within 
the study area were converted to other uses. This corresponds to a 
nearly one-third total loss of primary forest habitat, or a nearly 2 
percent mean annual rate of deforestation within the study area. 
Habitat loss and degradation, including conversion of this species' 
habitat to other forms of use such as agriculture, plantations, or 
harvesting of this species' plant food sources, continue to occur and 
affect the quality of this species' habitat.
    In addition to the direct detrimental effect of habitat loss, there 
are several indirect effects of habitat disturbance and fragmentation, 
such as road building (Brooks and Strahl 2000, p. 10). Roads increase 
human access into habitat, facilitating further exploitation, erosion, 
and habitat destruction (Chomitz et al. 2007, p. 88; Hunter 1996, pp. 
158-159). Research has documented that road building and other 
infrastructure developments in areas that were previously remote 
forested areas have increased accessibility and facilitated further 
habitat destruction and human settlement (Etter et al. 2006, p. 1; 
[Aacute]lvarez 2005, p. 2,042; C[aacute]rdenas and Rodr[iacute]guez-
Becerra 2004, pp. 125-130; Vi[ntilde]a et al. 2004, pp. 118-119; Hunter 
1996, 158-159). A study conducted on the effects of habitat 
fragmentation on Andean birds within western Colombia determined that 
31 percent of the historical bird populations in western Colombia had 
become extinct or locally extirpated by 1990, primarily as a result of 
habitat fragmentation from deforestation and human encroachment (Kattan 
and [Aacute]lvarez-Lopez 1996, p. 5; Kattan et al. 1994, p. 141). 
Greater exposure of soil to direct sunlight leads to factors such as 
drier soils and also creates a different growing environment. For 
example, the creation of roads changes the habitat by altering the 
distance of nesting and feeding habitat to the forest ``edge,'' 
increasing the amount of light exposure, and creating stress on 
(breeding) individuals in part due to noise and visual stimuli 
(Ben[iacute]tez-L[oacute]pez et al. 2010, p. 1,308).

Coca Cultivation

    Ongoing coca cultivation has had a significant impact on forest 
cover in Colombia (Armenteras et al. 2006, p. 355; Fjelds[aring] et al. 
2005, p. 205; Page 2003, p. 2; [Aacute]lvarez 2002, pp. 1,088-1,093). 
Colombia is one of the leading producers of coca, the plant species 
that provides the main ingredient of cocaine. Between 1998 and 2002, 
cultivation of illicit crops increased by 21 percent each year, with a 
parallel increase in deforestation of formerly pristine areas of 
approximately 60 percent ([Aacute]lvarez 2002, pp. 1,088-1,093). Much 
of Colombia's coca is grown by farmers because it generates more income 
than any other crop (Butler 2006, pp. 1-2). Illegal drug crops are 
cultivated within the great green macaw's range (BLI 2011, pp. 1-2). 
Large-scale coca production has moved into the extensive rainforests of 
the Choc[oacute] state, which is considered to be a biodiversity 
hotspot in northwest Colombia, in the range of the great green macaw.
    A 1990 United Nations study estimated that coca growers can make 
about $4,000 U.S. dollars per hectare (Tammen 1991, p. 12 in Page 2003, 
pp. 15-16). A farmer can only earn about $600 per hectare growing an 
alternative crop such as coffee, which is the most often-cited 
potential substitute crop for coca (Page 2003, pp. 15-16). Page notes 
that production of coffee and tea requires 3 to 4 years from planting 
to first harvest and then can only be harvested once per year, while 
coca can be harvested 8 months after it is planted and can be harvested 
every 90 days thereafter. The coca bushes themselves do not require 
much care, and can be cultivated on plots of land that are much smaller 
than those required for crops other than coca (Tammen 1991, p. 6 in 
Page 2003, p. 16). Finally, not only do coca crops displace native 
habitat and species assemblages that are important for the great green 
macaw, but they also deplete the soil of nutrients, which hampers 
regeneration following abandonment of fields (Van Schoik and Schulberg 
1993, p. 21).
    Drug eradication efforts in Colombia have further degraded and 
destroyed primary forest habitat by using nonspecific aerial herbicides 
to destroy illegal crops (BLI 2007d, p. 3; [Aacute]lvarez 2005, p. 
2,042; C[aacute]rdenas and Rodr[iacute]guez Becerra 2004, p. 355; 
Oldham and Massey 2002, pp. 9-12). For example, in 2006, eradication 
efforts were undertaken on over 2,130 km\2\ (822 mi\2\) of land, which 
included spraying of 1,720 km\2\ (664 mi\2\) and manual eradication on 
the remaining land. These eradication efforts occurred over an area 2.7 
times greater than the net cultivation area (UNODC et al. 2007, p. 8). 
Herbicide spraying has introduced harmful chemicals into great green 
macaw habitat and has led to further destruction of the habitat by 
forcing growers to move to new, previously untouched forested areas 
([Aacute]lvarez 2007, pp. 133-143; BLI 2007d, p. 3; [Aacute]lvarez 
2005, p. 2042; C[aacute]rdenas and Rodr[iacute]guez Becerra 2004, p. 
355; Oldham and Massey 2002, pp. 9-12; [Aacute]lvarez 2002, pp. 1,088-
1,093).
    The ecological impacts of coca production are significant. Farmers 
clear forest to plant coca seedlings. Not only does each acre of crop 
production result in the clearing of roughly 1.6 ha (4 ac) of forest, 
this practice also results in secondary effects such as the pollution 
of land and local waterways with the chemicals used to process coca 
leaves, including kerosene, sulfuric acid, acetone, and carbide (Butler 
2006, pp. 1-2).

Costa Rica

    Most of the research on this species has been conducted in Costa 
Rica, where a very small population of this species remains. Despite 
Costa Rica's progress in conservation of this species, the historical 
breeding area for this species in Costa Rica has been reduced by 90 
percent (Villate et al. 2008, p. 19; Chosset et al. 2004, p. 38). In 
2004, approximately 30 reproductive pairs remained in the wild in Costa 
Rica (Madriz-Vargas 2004, p. 4). Up until the 1960s, Costa Rica's human 
population was growing by approximately 4 percent annually (World Bank 
2011, unpaginated; Chun 2008, p. 6). Logging in the 1960s and 1970s 
decimated this species' habitat (Hardman 2010, p. 8). In the 1980s, the 
area near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui experienced severe deforestation 
and conversion to banana and pineapple plantations. By 1996, 52,000 ha 
(128,495 ac) of lowland forest had been converted to banana plantations 
(Brewster 2009, p. 8). The loss of forested area in the north has 
primarily been due to the production of livestock, forestry products, 
sugar cane, and (in more recent years) pineapple (Villate et al. 2008, 
p. 15).
    In the mid-1980s, policies changed from granting incentives for 
livestock and cattle ranching to reforestation for forest management. 
However, these incentives led initially to the clearing forests for 
conversion to exotic species plantations. As a result, forestry in 
Costa Rica (and Panama) has been dominated by the use of exotic species 
such as Tectona grandis (teak) or Gmelina arborea (melina) (Schmidt 
2009, p. 10). This trend changed in 1986, with the Forestry Act 7472. 
In the 1990s, the focus changed, and the government began to create 
incentives for small farm owners to establish and maintain native tree 
species plantations (Piotto et al. 2003, p. 427). By 1992, a project 
was implemented to improve the use of forested areas; however, it 
estimated that by that time only 5 percent of

[[Page 40203]]

original forest area remained intact (Chassot et al. 2001 in Villate et 
al. 2008, p. 15). Reforestation projects began initially through an 
agreement between Costa Rica and Germany. The program was implemented 
by the Agribusiness Association and Forestry Producers (APAIFO) and the 
Cooperation for Forestry Development San Carlos (CODEFORSA).
    In Costa Rica's border zone with Nicaragua, Landsat TM satellite 
images from 1987, 1998, and 2005 showed a fragmented landscape with 
remnants of natural ecosystems, which has implications for the 
conservation of this species. The images identified several classes of 
cover and land use (natural forest, secondary forest, water, 
agriculture and pasture, banana and pineapple plantations, and bare 
ground) (Chassot et al. 2009, pp. 8-9). These researchers noted that 
the annual rate of deforestation was 0.88 percent for the 1987-1998 
period, and 0.73 percent for the 1998-2005 period, even considering 
recovery of secondary forest. The researchers also noted that in the 
area studied, deforestation rates were higher than national averages 
for the same time span (Chassot et al. 2009, p. 9).
    In the 1990s, plans to form the San Juan-La Selva Biological 
Corridor began in response to the significant decrease in habitat 
available to the great green macaw and its decline in population 
numbers. In 1993 and 1994, about 1,000 km\2\ (386 mi\2\) were 
identified as important nesting areas for this species in Costa Rica. 
In 2002, the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor, an area of 60,000 
hectares (148,263 ac), was established to protect the nesting sites and 
migration flyway of the great green macaw in Costa Rica, up to the 
Nicaragua border (Guedes 2004, p. 280). Although this corridor is in 
place, recent reports indicate that habitat degradation and other 
factors continue to affect the great green macaw (Monge et al. 2009, p. 
121).
    To its credit, Costa Rica was the only country in Central America 
that had a positive overall increase in forest area during the period 
2000-2005 (FAO 2010, p. 19; FAO 2007). Intense efforts are underway in 
Costa Rica to conserve and recover this species, in part by addressing 
habitat degradation. In some areas, the commercial use of the almendro 
tree is now being replaced by synthetic material due to conservation 
efforts focused on the great green macaw. In some areas, landowners are 
being paid to protect and ``adopt'' almendro trees, and several 
ecotourism projects have developed using these trees and the macaws as 
part of the ecotourism attraction. As of 2009, 12 nesting trees had 
protection agreements (Brewster 2009, p. 10). Still, habitat 
degradation continues to impact the great green macaw (Villate et al. 
2008, p. 14), and even trees that are designated as protected are 
either cut down or targeted for poaching (Chun 2008). Logging still 
occurs in the remnant forests of both the northern zone of Costa Rica 
and southeast Nicaragua (Chassot and Arias 2011, p. 1; Monge et al. 
2009, pp. 128-129). Logging, while it may be illegal, has also been 
documented in the buffer zone of the Indio-Ma[iacute]z Biological 
Reserve (Monge et al. 2006, p. 10). The buffer zone is within the 
breeding range of the great green macaw and likely affects the species' 
viability. Additionally, both primary and regrowth forest in the San 
Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor continue to be threatened by timber 
extraction and agricultural expansion (Chassot and Arias 2011, p. 1; 
Monge et al. 2009, pp. 128-129).

Mining

    A gold mining project may also affect conservation efforts for the 
great green macaw in Costa Rica. In 2001, the Ministerio del Medio 
Ambiente y Energ[iacute]a (MINAE) granted the mining concession 
(Resolution R-578-2001--MINAE) in San Carlos to clear nearly 202 ha 
(500 ac) of old-growth rainforest for the project (Villate 2009, p. 57; 
http://www.infinito.co.cr and http://www.nacla.org, both accessed 
November 15, 2011). The Crucitas mining project is located in the 
Northwest Corridor of San Juan-La Selva, a few miles from the San Juan 
river (which separates Costa Rica from Nicaragua). The Crucitas area is 
part of a major zone for bird conservation initiatives, partly 
implemented by BLI, that includes both the Water and Peace Biosphere 
Reserve and the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor (Chassot et al. 
2009, p. 9), including the El Castillo extension. It is reported that 
72 percent of the area that had been proposed for implementation of the 
project is forested and contains almendro tree (and consequently great 
green macaw) habitat. The company proposed to clear cut the area in 
order to establish the open pit mine.
    In adjacent Nicaragua, the area of influence of the mining project 
is also part of the buffer zone of the two reserves: San Juan River 
Biosphere Reserve and the Indio-Ma[iacute]z Biological Reserve. These 
areas contain features of endemism and species compositions that are 
unique (Sistema Nacional de [Aacute]reas de Conservaci[oacute]n (SINAC) 
2007 in Villate et al. 2008, p. 58). Although Crucitas is not part of 
the current nesting area of the great green macaw, it is only about 10 
km (3 mi) southeast of the historical distribution of the species. The 
mining activities are likely to affect the current population of the 
great green macaw by impacting its habitat as well as ongoing 
conservation efforts. The project lies within a geographical area that 
is of critical importance to the conservation of this species. 
Additionally, the removal of more primary forest cover would further 
reduce the ability to maintain connectivity along the San Juan-La Selva 
Biological Corridor, which continues to be subjected to fragmentation 
(Villate 2008, p. 58). As of November 2010, a court ruled that the 
open-pit gold mine was improperly permitted (http://centralamericadata.biz/en/article/home/Crucitas_Mining_Concession_Cancellation_Confirmed, accessed January 12, 2012). However, prior to 
the court ruling, 121 ha (300 ac) of primary forest had already been 
cleared (http://www.santuariolapas.com/profile_003.html, accessed 
December 14, 2011). The ultimate impacts and outcome of the mining 
project are unclear; however, the species is and will continue to be 
impacted by pressures for resources that affect its habitat.

Ecuador

    Although the population of great green macaw is reported to be 
stable and slowly increasing in the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest, it 
is an extremely small population (Monge et al. 2009, p. 256). There are 
likely fewer than 100 individuals remaining in Ecuador. In this part of 
its range, three tree species are noted as crucial for the survival of 
the species: Lecythis ampla (salero) and Cynometra bauhiniaefolia 
(cocobolo) as primary food sources, and Cavanillesia platanifolia 
(pigio) as a nest tree (Horstman 2011, p. 17). Logging, poaching, and 
illegal land settlements continue to occur in the great green macaw's 
range and are threats to the population in Ecuador, particularly in the 
Cerro Blanco Protected Forest ( http://www.worldlandtrust-us.org, 
unpaginated; World Wildlife Fund 2011, p. 5; Horstman 2011, p. 12). 
Between 1960 and 1980, the human population in Ecuador grew from 4 to 
10.2 million, which resulted in more than 90 percent of Pacific lowland 
and foothill forest below 900 m (2,953 ft) being converted to 
agriculture (Dodson and Gentry 1991, p. 279). Much of the species' 
habitat was converted to plantations of bananas, oil palms, cacao,

[[Page 40204]]

coffee, soybeans, and rice (ELAW 2005, p. 1; Dodson and Gentry 1991, p. 
279).
    In 2002, the Government of Ecuador authorized the conversion of 
50,000 ha (123,553 ac) of tropical forest in the Choco region of 
western Ecuador into oil palm plantations (ELAW 2005, pp. 1-2). As of 
2005, 374 ha (924 ac) of native forests were being cut daily (Horstman 
2005, p. 8). Clearing forests for this monoculture crop has threatened 
thousands of endemic species and introduced dangerous pesticides to 
local ecosystems (C[aacute]rdenas 2007, p. 43). For example, in 
Esmeraldas Province, pesticides are used intensively in a 36,000-ha 
(88,958-ac) area of oil palm plantations (ELAW 2005, pp. 1-2). Local 
villages cite problems from the pesticides and effluents from the 
processing plants.
    Logging, poaching, and illegal land settlement are occurring in the 
Cerro Blanco Protected Forest, Ecuador (ProForest Foundation (Fundacion 
ProBosque), undated, p. 3). The Food and Agriculture Organization of 
the United Nations (FAO) reported in 2010 that in Ecuador, ``planted 
forests are predominantly composed of introduced species,'' such as 
rubber plantations and other nonnative species (FAO 2010, p. 93), which 
do not provide appropriate habitat and nutritional needs for the great 
green macaw. Despite these activities, due to the efforts of the 
ProForest Foundation--the NGO in charge of the reserve--the population 
in the Cerro Blanco forest preserve is reported to be stable (Horstman 
2011, p. 17). The Cerro Blanco forest preserve is a small area that is 
being managed particularly for this species. It is jointly owned by the 
ProForest Foundation and a cement company, Holcim, as mitigation for 
its nearby limestone quarries. Reserve managers are converting former 
cattle pasture to native tree farms, which they use to help restore dry 
tropical forest in other locations, including a corridor to nearby 
patches of forested areas (Horstman 2009 pers. comm.). Despite the 
conservation efforts in place, logging, poaching, and illegal land 
settlement continue to affect the population in the Cerro Blanco 
Protected Forest (Horstman 2011, p. 17; Fundacion Pro-Bosque, undated, 
p. 3). A conservation strategy for this species recommends that a ban 
be instituted on the cutting and commercialization of the three tree 
species described above that were noted as crucial for the great green 
macaw's survival (Monge et al. 2009, pp. 256-258). However, 
deforestation, encroachment, and habitat degradation activities such as 
these continue (Horstman 2011, p. 17).
    Another threat to the macaw's population in this reserve is the 
rapid expansion of the city of Guayaquil. Squatter settlements develop 
on the city's outskirts and encroach the forest (Fundacion ProBosque 
undated, p. 3). Illegal settlements are a problem, and squatter 
communities have attempted to take over property within Cerro Blanco. 
The local NGO conducts educational awareness programs to mitigate these 
activities. An example of awareness campaign activities is educating 
the local communities about the effect on their water supply when they 
destroy forested areas (Horstman pers. comm. in Hardman 2010, p. 13). 
However, pressures to this species' habitat continue to impact the 
species.

Honduras

    In Honduras, threats have included illegal trafficking of this 
species and deforestation due to agriculture, cattle grazing, and 
logging (Devenish et al. 2009, p. 256). The threat of deforestation is 
particularly important because a recent study found that 87 percent of 
Honduras is only suitable for forest (Larios and Coronado 2006, p. 13) 
due to its generally mountainous terrain. There is very little 
information available on the status of this species in Honduras, 
particularly scientific literature (Monge et al. 2009, p. 122). Only 
six papers on avian diversity and avian population surveys in Honduran 
forests were published between 1968 and 2004 (Anderson et al. 2004, p. 
456). However, we do know that the threats in Honduras are similar to 
those in other countries within the range of this species (McCann et 
al. 2003, pp. 321-322), and the most significant threat is 
deforestation. In 2008, the Departamento de [Aacute]reas Protegidas y 
de Vida Silvestre (DAPVS) in Honduras estimated that 80,000 ha (197,684 
ac) of natural areas were being destroyed annually (DAPVS 2008 in 
Devenish et al., 2009 p. 256).
    The great green macaw is believed to exist in the R[iacute]o 
Pl[aacute]tano Biosphere Reserve within the watershed of the 
Pl[aacute]tano River (Monge et al. 2009, p. 8). The area is also known 
as the ``Mosquitia Hondure[ntilde]a,'' which is 500,000 ha (1,235,527 
ac) in size. The reserve serves as protection to the 100 km (62 mi) 
long Pl[aacute]tano River watershed, in addition to protecting parts of 
the Paulaya, Guampu, and Sicre rivers (Devenish 2009, p. 256). Several 
indigenous tribes such as the Miskito, Tawahka, Pech, Gar[iacute]funas, 
and ''Mestizos'' use this area for their traditional livelihoods. 
Although this reserve was designated as a World Heritage Site, 
pressures to the reserve area for its resources continue (TNC 2011, 
unpaginated). In 2011, the R[iacute]o Pl[aacute]tano Biosphere Reserve 
was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in danger due to 
encroachment (UNEP-WCMC 2011, p. 1).
    In the R[iacute]o Pl[aacute]tano Biosphere Reserve of Honduras, the 
unregulated extraction of timber and mass production of bananas has 
caused an alarming decline of great green macaw populations (Devenish 
et al. 2009, p. 256). The deforestation in Honduras is occurring as a 
result of an increase in the human population, which requires clearing 
areas for home development as well as wood products (Devenish et al. 
2009, p. 256). The annual human population growth rate as of 2011 was 
estimated to be 1.09 percent (U.S. Department of State 2011, 
unpaginated). Palacios and Brus Laguna, towns on the coast 
approximately 5 km (3.1 mi) from the park on either side of the 
reserve, are likely contributing to the pressures such as agriculture 
and logging that are occurring illegally in the reserve.

Nicaragua

    In Nicaragua, great green macaws face reductions in populations due 
to illegal extraction of timber and agricultural expansion (McGinley et 
al. 2009, pp. 13, 33, 35; Jeffrey 2001, pp. 1-5). Overall, there is a 
lack of information about the status of the great green macaw 
population and its habitat in Nicaragua (Monge et al. 2010; Monge et 
al. 2009, pp. 52-53). However, a population of the great green macaw is 
known to occur in the Indio-Ma[iacute]z Biological Reserve, located in 
Nicaragua just across the San Juan River at the northeastern border of 
Costa Rica (Monge et al. 2009, p. 51), where suitable habitat for this 
species remains. This reserve, which is believed to be one of the few 
strongholds for the great green macaw, is nearly 264,000 ha (652,358 
ac) in size. It is likely that the Indio-Ma[iacute]z Biological Reserve 
contains extensive forest areas with high densities of almendro trees 
(Chun 2008, p. 94), and therefore is critical to this species' 
survival. Chun suggests that many areas in Nicaragua may exceed the 
minimum great green macaw nesting requirement of 0.20 trees per hectare 
within the breeding territory. Although the Indio-Ma[iacute]z 
Biological Reserve is considered one of Nicaragua's best preserved 
forested areas and has limited access, its buffer zone has recently 
been under assault from activities such as loggers in search of lumber 
and illegal farming of Elaeis guineensis (African palm) trees for 
biofuel (Chosset and Arias 2010, p. 3; Ravnborg et al. 2006, p. 2). As 
resources become more scarce in the buffer zones,

[[Page 40205]]

illegal activities push farther into the lesser disturbed and lesser 
accessible areas. Despite the existence of this protected area, 
deforestation continues to occur.
    Deforestation is one of the major threats to biodiversity in this 
region; one steadily increasing form is the conversion of forest into 
agricultural or pasture lands (Chassot et al. 2006, p. 84). In 
Nicaragua, between 1990 and 2005, 1.35 million ha (3.34 million ac) of 
forested areas were converted to agriculture or were deforested due to 
other reasons such as logging (FAO 2010, p. 232; FAO 2007). Much of 
Nicaragua has protected status. In 2005, approximately 36 percent of 
Nicaragua's forested area was designated as protected or in some form 
of conservation status (FAO 2007). Additionally, in 2007, there were 72 
protected areas in Nicaragua's National System of Protected Areas 
(Castellon 2008, p. 19). However, 88 percent of Nicaragua's area 
designated as forest is privately owned (FAO 2010, p. 238), and, 
therefore, is not protected. Additionally, much of the logging that 
occurs is illegal and is not monitored (Pellegrini 2011, p. 21; 
Richards et al. 2003, p. 283).
    As an example, the Bosawas Reserve is one of the areas believed to 
contain great green macaws as well as suitable habitat for a viable 
population. It was designated a reserve in 1979, in response to the 
advance of the agricultural frontier (Cu[eacute]llar and Kandel 2005, 
p. 9). However, during the 1980s, the area was not managed; it was the 
battleground for the armed conflict between the Sandinistas and the 
Contras (Cu[eacute]llar and Susan Kandel 2005, p. 9). In October 1991, 
Bosawas was declared a National Natural Resource Reserve through 
Executive Decree No. 44-91. Despite its designation as a protected 
area, encroachment and habitat degradation still occur (McCann et al. 
2003, p. 322). In Bosawas, indigenous tribal communities have rights to 
use the forests under the Autonomy Statute of 1987 (Cu[eacute]llar and 
Kandel 2005, p. 11). As of 1998, the indigenous population was 
approximately 9,200 in or near the Bosawas reserve (Stocks et al. 2007, 
p. 1497). In 2005, the Nicaraguan government granted land titles to 86 
indigenous Miskitu and Mayangna groups in Bosawas and contiguous 
indigenous areas (Stocks et al. 2007, p. 497). Generally, these 
indigenous communities manage the forests well and want to maintain 
their traditional way of life. However, ``mestizo'' communities were 
encouraged to settle in the area that is now the reserve's buffer zone 
during the period when lands were being converted to plantations. Both 
the mestizo and indigenous communities depend on access to land to 
ensure their livelihoods. However, the mestizo communities convert 
primary forest to agricultural or livestock uses (Cu[eacute]llar and 
Kandel 2005, p. 13), while the indigenous communities have less impact 
on the ecosystem. Land rights disputes are common in these areas, and 
land use rights are often unclear. The Government of Nicaragua is 
attempting to manage these issues (Pellegrini 2011, p. 21), but 
conflict and practices that degrade the great green macaw's habitat 
persist both in the Bosawas Reserve and in other areas within the range 
of the species.
    One of the factors contributing to deforestation in this area is a 
high rate of poverty (Pacheco et al. 2011, p. 4). Nicaragua is the 
poorest country in Central America (CIA World Factbook 2011). In part, 
due to the high rate of poverty, the great green macaw continues to 
face threats to its habitat. Communities living within the range of the 
great green macaw practice unsustainable activities, such as conversion 
of habitat to agriculture or logging, which contribute to deforestation 
of the species' remaining habitat in Nicaragua (McGinley 2009, p. 36; 
Castellon 2008, pp. 21, 30; Richards et al. 2003, p. 282). Much of the 
Indio-Ma[iacute]z Biological Reserve is described as being intact and 
unlogged (Chun 2008, p. 116). Despite this, some loggers cross the 
border into Nicaragua to harvest the almendro tree (Schmidt 2009, p. 
16; Chassot et al. 2006, p. 84). Anecdotal reports indicate that Costa 
Rican loggers pay Nicaraguan farmers about $15 for each almendro tree, 
bring the logs to Costa Rica, and sell them for about $1,450 in Costa 
Rica (Arias 2002, p. 4). Because incomes in the Bosawas region of 
Nicaragua were found to average under $800 per family per year (Stocks 
et al. 2007, p. 1,498), the almendro trees are quite valuable. 
Consequently, a bi-national biological corridor between Nicaragua and 
Costa Rica was proposed in an attempt to prevent the extinction of the 
almendro tree (Chassot et al. 2006, p. 84). Although this corridor 
exists and efforts are in place (refer to discussion under Factor D, 
below) to mitigate border issues (Hernandez et al., undated, pp. 1-14) 
in this region, habitat degradation continues.

Panama

    In Panama, this species is believed to primarily exist in the 
Dari[eacute]n region, which borders northern Colombia (Angeher 2004, in 
litt.). Deforestation was estimated to exceed 30 percent of the 
species' original range in Panama (Angehr 2004, in litt.). Although 
there is limited information available on the threats affecting great 
green macaw populations in Panama, deforestation is known to occur 
within this species' range (Monge et al. 2009, p. 68; Angehr 2004, in 
litt.). Conflict regarding land rights of indigenous communities has 
become one of the most critical issues in the Dari[eacute]n region. The 
most significant threats to tropical forests in Panama overall include 
road construction and road improvement, especially in the Dari[eacute]n 
region, and agricultural expansion, particularly in the Dari[eacute]n 
and Bocas del Toro regions, which results in increased access to 
forests (Parker et al. 2004, p. V-2). Roads have been found to be one 
of the leading causes of global biodiversity loss (Ben[iacute]tez-
L[oacute]pez et al. 2010, p. 1,307). The construction of the Pan-
American Highway and other roads are affecting the Dari[eacute]n forest 
area (TNC 2011, p. 1). When roads are constructed, they increase access 
to previously inaccessible areas. This leads to more pressures on the 
forested areas, such as conversion to agriculture, competition for 
resources (such as the extraction of plant species that may be consumed 
by the great green macaw), and more logging.
    A 2006 report indicated that the advance of the agricultural 
frontier and ``spontaneous colonization'' occurring at a rate of 50,000 
to 80,000 ha (123,500 to 197,700 ac) per year is rapidly shrinking 
Panama's forests and protected areas (McMahon et al. 2006, p. 8). Prior 
to its formal designation in 1990, La Amistad National Park, which 
spans the border between Costa Rica and Panama, experienced impacts 
from cattle ranching, timber extraction, burning, and illegal 
settlements (UNEP-WCMC 2011, p. 7). Trails, encroachment, roads, 
grazing, and hunting continue in this area and affect this species' 
habitat (TNC 2012, unpaginated; UNEP-WCMC 2011, p. 7) . Soil and water 
resources have been depleted due to traditional agricultural practices 
and inadequate conservation measures. Indigenous production systems, 
with their low-intensity land use, long rotation periods, and plentiful 
forests for hunting and gathering, are increasingly becoming 
unsustainable due to economic pressures. The indigenous production 
systems are being replaced by farming systems that emphasize 
monoculture without rotation, which leads to depleted soils and 
encourages greater expansion of the agricultural frontier. These 
threats are heightened by rural poverty that drives populations in

[[Page 40206]]

search of areas with a relatively intact natural resource base with 
high levels of globally significant biodiversity (Pacheco et al. 2011, 
pp. 4, 18). Watershed degradation from deforestation and unsustainable 
land use has accelerated soil erosion, sedimentation, and pollution. As 
a result of competition for resources, many farmers and indigenous 
people have emigrated to the Dari[eacute]n and Bocas del Toro 
provinces, where the great green macaw is believed to exist in larger 
numbers than in other parts of the species' range. Unsustainable land 
practices, the lack of capacity by both public and private stakeholders 
to encourage sustainable land use, infrastructure development, and the 
lack of management plans further exacerbate the degradation of this 
species' habitat.
    Dari[eacute]n forests are under pressure from the expanding 
agricultural frontier and related colonization (TNC 2011, p. 1; McMahon 
2006, p. 8). The region's human population is growing at a rate of 
about 5 percent a year. Loss of forest cover is often linked to 
agricultural expansion, which often follows new or improved roads, and 
which results in increased access to forests. Slash-and-burn 
agriculture has resulted in huge tracts of deforested land. Other 
factors that affect the stability of great green macaw populations 
include the National Authority for the Environment's (ANAM) inability 
to fund programs for protected areas and buffer zones, and the 
extraction of other minerals and building materials, whether legal or 
illegal (Angehr et al. 2009, p. 291). Logging and mining is legally 
restricted in the area; however, logging still occurs outside the 
Dari[eacute]n reserve, and the practice encroaches the remaining forest 
cover in the buffer zone. Problems in or adjacent to protected areas 
include illegal clearing for development, agriculture, and cattle 
grazing; road construction; and extraction of minerals or construction 
materials (Devenish et al. 2009b, p. 291).
    The presence of gold mines in the Dari[eacute]n Region, 
particularly the Cerro Pirre area, was also indicated to be a threat to 
the species. Significant mining activities in this area were conducted 
prior to the 18th century. The clearing of forests to create roads for 
mining facilitates the transport of materials and personnel in and out 
of the mining zones (Robbins et al. 1985, pp. 200, 202). Roads 
exacerbate deforestation practices such as logging and conversion to 
agriculture or other land uses, as well as colonization. This area is 
now an ecotourism site; as of 1985, there is now second-growth forest 
recovery from the gold mines that had been abandoned during the 18th 
century. It does not appear that mining in this area still occurs, and, 
therefore, mining is not currently impacting the species.

Summary of Factor A

    The global population of great green macaws is decreasing due to 
the threats identified above that continue to exert pressure on the 
species. The loss of much of the older forested areas has reduced high-
quality habitat for this species to relatively small and isolated 
patches throughout its range; however, suitable habitat remains in some 
protected areas in Central and South America. Habitat degradation poses 
a significant threat throughout the range of the great green macaw, 
which is especially vulnerable to the effects of isolation and 
fragmentation because it tends to mate for life, it has a small clutch 
size and specialized habitat requirements, and its populations are 
small and decreasing.
    The great green macaw is naturally associated with unfragmented, 
mature, forested landscapes, and is considered a habitat specialist 
that selects areas of contiguous mature forest in Central America and 
parts of northern South America (Monge et al. 2009; Madriz-Vargas 2004, 
p. 7). This species requires large areas for its feeding requirements 
and is not well adapted to fragmented landscapes. Deforestation results 
in fragmented forests with high ratios of edge to forested area, and 
the original biodiversity upon which this species depends is lost. 
Greater exposure of soil to direct sunlight leads to factors such as 
drier soils and also creates a different growing environment. Because 
there are few remaining older, complex forest stands providing adequate 
habitat for breeding, feeding, and nesting, great green macaw 
populations are in decline. The great green macaw is threatened by the 
impacts of both past and current habitat loss, including ongoing 
habitat modification that results in poor quality and insufficient 
forest habitats, habitat fragmentation, and isolation of small 
populations. The ability of the great green macaw to repopulate an 
isolated patch of suitable habitat following decline or extirpation is 
particularly unlikely due to the species' large home range 
requirements, and this is exacerbated by its small overall population 
size and the large distances between the remaining primary forest 
fragments. Despite the existence of the bi-national corridor in 
Nicaragua and Costa Rica and a multitude of conservation efforts, we 
find that the present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of habitat is a threat to the great green macaw now and in 
the future.
B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes
    Because this species has an extremely small and fragmented 
population, poaching, while apparently uncommon, remains a concern 
(Botero-Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 13; Monge et al. 2009, pp. 
26, 40, 106). Removal of this species from the wild has a significant 
detrimental effect on this species because this species tends to mate 
for life and only produces 1 or 2 eggs annually. The species has been 
heavily poached in the wild historically and is still trafficked for 
the pet trade in Honduras and Nicaragua (Anderson 2004, p. 453; http://www.lafeberconservationwildlife.com/?p=1714, accessed December 14, 
2011). Although there are no known current reports of poaching in all 
parts of its range, poaching was raised as a concern at the 2008 
workshop held in Costa Rica on this species (Monge et al. 2009, 
various). After regulatory mechanisms such as CITES and the WBCA were 
put into place, particularly since 1992 when the WBCA went into effect, 
much of the legal trade in the great green macaw declined (see 
discussion of military macaw for more information about WBCA) (UNEP-
WCMC CITES trade database, accessed September 6, 2011). The great green 
macaw was listed in CITES Appendix II, effective June 6, 1981, and was 
transferred to Appendix I, effective August 1, 1985. Most of the 
international trade in great green macaw specimens consists of live 
birds.
    Data obtained from the United Nations Environment Programme-World 
Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC) CITES Trade Database show 
that during the 4 years the great green macaw was listed in Appendix 
II, 26 live great green macaws were reported to UNEP-WCMC as (gross) 
exports. In analyzing the data, it appears that several records may be 
overcounts due to slight differences in the manner in which the 
importing and exporting countries reported their trade. It is likely 
that the actual number of great green macaw specimens in international 
trade during this period was 22 live birds. All of the live birds were 
reported with the source ``unknown.'' Exports from range countries 
included six live birds from Panama and five live birds from Nicaragua 
(UNEP-WCMC 2011).
    During the more than 24 years following the transfer to Appendix I 
(August 1985 through December 2009,

[[Page 40207]]

the last year for which complete data reported are available), the 
UNEP-WCMC database shows 786 live birds in international trade. 
However, it is likely that the actual number of live great green macaws 
in international trade during this period was 701 (U.S. CITES 
Management Authority 2012). Of these, 647 were reported to be captive-
bred or captive-born, 5 were reported as wild, and 15 were reported as 
``pre-Convention.'' The source of the remaining live birds is unknown. 
Exports of live birds from range countries included 17 from Costa Rica, 
10 from Ecuador, 12 from Nicaragua, and 6 from Panama. Note also that 
some of these birds may be personal pets that are counted more than 
once.
    The pressures historically to remove this species from the wild for 
the pet trade, in part due to its high commercial value, have 
contributed significantly to the decline in population numbers for this 
species. Poaching continues to occur in this species' range countries, 
particularly in Nicaragua (Castellon 2008, pp. 20, 25; Kennedy 2007, 
pp. 1-2; BLI 2007, p. 1). The majority of information available for 
Central America regarding poaching and the sale of parrot species was 
focused in Nicaragua (Herrera-Scott 2004, pp. 1-2). A study published 
in 2004 assessed the origin and local sale and export of parrots and 
parakeets in Nicaragua (Herrera-Scott 2004, pp. 1-2), and focused on 
the buffer zone of the Indio-Ma[iacute]z Biological Reserve, a critical 
area for the great green macaw. The study followed the marketing chain 
from rural areas to the capital city. Most of the wildlife trade was 
found to occur in Managua. As of 2000, poaching was still occurring in 
the buffer zone of the Indio-Ma[iacute]z Biological Reserve (Herrera-
Scott 2004, p. 6). An estimated 7,205 parrots were sold during that 
year (Herrera-Scott 2004, p. 1). The legal export of wildlife species 
from Nicaragua in general decreased significantly between 2002 and 2006 
(McGinley 2009, p. 16). Despite the decrease in legal trade, in 2007, a 
number of parrot species could be still found for sale along roads to 
tourists (Kennedy 2007, pp. 1-2; BLI 2007, p. 1) Nicaragua is the 
poorest country in Central America and the second poorest in the 
Hemisphere, and has widespread underemployment and poverty (CIA World 
Factbook 2011, unpaginated; FAO 2011, p. 1). Approximately 17 percent 
of its population lives in extreme poverty (Castellon 2008, p. 21). 
Many of Nicaragua's citizens live in rural areas where they usually 
earn a living from agriculture and fishing, and the sale of a parrot 
can significantly increase their earnings. As mentioned above under the 
Factor A discussion, incomes in the Bosawas region of Nicaragua were 
found to average under $800 per family per year as of 2007 (Stocks et 
al. 2007, p. 1,498). The great green macaw was found for sale at an 
average of $200 to $400 U.S. dollars (USD) (Fundacion Cocibolca in BLI 
2007, p. 1) For perspective, in the United States, captive-bred 
specimens can sell for up to $2,500 USD (Basile 2009, p. 6). The high 
commercial value, especially in relation to the average family income, 
indicates that it is still worthwhile to poach and sell this species. 
Due to the extreme poverty in Central America, particularly in 
Nicaragua, and due to the high commercial value of great green macaws, 
poaching continues to be a significant concern for this species.
    Poaching can be intertwined with habitat destruction (Factor A). 
Some poachers still cut down trees to obtain nestlings (Hardman 2011, 
p. 13; Chun 2008, p. 105). This practice of cutting down trees to 
remove nestlings is particularly devastating to small populations 
reliant upon certain types and sizes of nesting trees. Not only are 
poachers removing vital members of the population, they are destroying 
a nest site that may have taken a breeding pair several years to find 
and cultivate. One study looked at 51 nest sites that had been 
identified between 1994 and 2003 (Chun 2008, p. 105). The study 
evaluated potential habitat by examining the presence and density of 
almendro trees by aerial survey. It examined portions of two protected 
areas--the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor and the Maquenque 
National Wildlife Refuge (Chun 2008, p. 117). Of 51 nest sites, 10 
trees had been cut by the end of the survey period. In some cases, the 
nests had been deliberately cut even after the tree had received 
protection status and had been distinguished as a nesting tree with a 
plaque. Nest destruction has also been reported in Ecuador (Bergman 
2009, pp. 6-8), where it is estimated to have an extremely small 
population. Another study confirmed this practice, although this was a 
different parrot species, and found an average of 21 nests was 
destroyed per poaching trip (Gonzalez 2003, p. 443).
    Poaching for the pet bird trade can destroy pair bonds, remove 
potentially reproductive adults from the breeding pool, and have a 
significant effect on small populations (Kramer and Drake 2010, pp. 
511, 513). This is in part because this species mates for life, is 
long-lived, and has low reproductive rates. These traits make them 
particularly sensitive to the effects of poaching (Lee 2010, p. 3; 
Thiollay 2005, p. 1121; Wright et al. 2001, p. 711). In some areas in 
Costa Rica, there were no recent reports of nest poaching due to 
conservation efforts (Villate et al. 2008, p. 23). However, despite 
conservation efforts in place, the conservation workshop for Ara 
ambiguus held in 2008 indicated that poaching of this species is still 
a concern throughout its range (Monge et al. 2009, pp. 18, 26, 29, 40).

Summary of Factor B

    Conservation efforts by various entities working to ensure the 
long-term conservation of the great green macaw may result in its 
population slowly increasing (Monge et al. 2010, pp. 12-13). However, 
overall, the best available information indicates that the population 
is still declining (Botero-Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 91; 
Monge et al. 2009). The species still faces threats such as habitat 
loss and poaching. Often, there is a lag time after factors have acted 
on species (i.e., poaching and habitat loss) before the effect is 
evident (Sodhi et al. 2004, p. 325). Even though the great green macaw 
is listed as an Appendix-I species under CITES and commercial 
international trade is now significantly reduced, there is still 
concern about the illegal capture of this species in the wild. This 
species is desirable as a pet, and its native habitat is in 
impoverished countries, where the sale of an individual bird can 
significantly increase a person's income. Despite regulatory mechanisms 
in place, poaching is lucrative and still occurs. Additionally, because 
each population of great green macaws is small, with possibly between 
10 to 500 individuals (Monge et al. 2010, pp. 21, 22), poaching is 
likely to have a significant effect on the species. The populations are 
distributed widely throughout the range of the species (see Figure 3) 
and are highly fragmented, and the amount of interaction between 
populations is unknown but likely infrequent. Based on the best 
available information, we find that overutilization, particularly due 
to poaching, is a threat to the great green macaw throughout its range 
now and in the future.
C. Disease or Predation
    Diseases associated with great green macaws in the wild are not 
well documented (De Kloet and Dorrestein 2009, p. 571; Herrero 2006, 
pp. 15-19; Tomaszewski et al. 2001, p. 533). Studies of macaws have 
demonstrated that they are susceptible to many

[[Page 40208]]

bacterial, parasitic, and viral diseases, particularly in captive 
environments (Kistler et al. 2009, p. 2,176; Portaels et al. 1996, p. 
319; Clubb and Frenkel 1992, p. 119; Bennett et al. 1991; Wainright et 
al. 1987, pp. 673-675). However, most studies are conducted on captive 
macaws. Some of the diseases known to affect macaws are discussed 
below.

Pacheco's Parrot Disease

    Pacheco's parrot disease is a systemic disease caused by a 
psittacid herpes virus (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). This disease and the presence of 
PsHV-1 has been known in both captive and wild-caught macaws 
(Tomaszewski et al. 2006, pp. 538, 540, 543; Panigrahy and Grumbles 
1984, p. 809); however, we found no information indicating that this 
disease impacts the great green macaw in the wild.

Psittacosis

    Psittacosis (chlamydiosis), also known as parrot fever, is an 
infectious disease that could affect this species and is caused by the 
bacteria Chlamydophila psittaci. An estimated one 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, pp. 239). Wild birds 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).

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). However, we 
found no information that this disease affects wild great green macaws.

Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease

    Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) is a common circovirus 
that has been documented in over 60 psittacine species; all psittacines 
may be potentially susceptible (Rahaus et al. 2008, p. 53; Abramson et 
al. 1995, p. 296). This virus, 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 virus can exist 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 can 
become chronically infected. No vaccine exists to immunize populations 
(Cameron 2007, p. 82). We found no information on this disease in great 
green macaws.
    We have no evidence of significant adverse impacts to wild 
populations of great green macaws due to disease; disease is a normal 
occurrence within wild populations. A review of the best available 
information indicates that disease does not occur to an extent that it 
is a threat to this species, particularly because the populations are 
widely dispersed, which provides an element of resiliency to the 
overall population. We conclude, based on the best available scientific 
and commercial information, that disease is not a threat to the great 
green macaw now or in the future.
    In addition, we have no information indicating that predation 
threatens the great green macaw. This is the second largest New World 
macaw, and the best available information does not indicate that 
predation (other than poaching) is a factor that negatively affects 
this species. While predators undoubtedly have some effect on 
fluctuations in great green macaw numbers, there is no evidence to 
suggest that predation has caused or will cause long-term declines in 
the great green macaw population. Therefore, we have determined that 
this factor does not pose a threat to the great green macaw, now or in 
the future.
D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms
    Regulatory mechanisms affecting this species that we evaluate could 
potentially fall under categories such as wildlife management, parks 
management, or forestry management. We are primarily evaluating these 
regulatory mechanisms in terms of nationally protected parks because 
this is where this species generally occurs. A summary of the status of 
forest policies, regulatory mechanisms, and laws in the range countries 
of the great green macaw is below. The most authoritative source for 
assessing the state of forests is the United Nations Food and 
Agriculture Organization's Forest Resources Assessment (Chomitz et al. 
2007, p. 42). FAO's 2010 study found that each range country for this 
species has a national forest law, policy, or program in place, and 
Table 1 indicates the year it was last evaluated. However, the study 
found that few forest policies at the subnational level (such as 
jurisdictions equivalent to states in the United States) exist in these 
countries.

[[Page 40209]]



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                         National forest policy                          National forest program                                       Forest law  national
             Country             ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                         Exists              Year              Exists              Year             Status          National--type         Year           Subnational  exists
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Colombia........................  Yes.................            1996  Yes.................            2000  Under revision....  Incorporated in               1974  No.
                                                                                                                                   other law.
Costa Rica......................  Yes.................            2000  Yes.................            2001  Under revision....  Specific forest               1996  No.
                                                                                                                                   law.
Ecuador.........................  Yes.................            2002  Yes.................            2002  In implementation.  Specific forest               1981  No.
                                                                                                                                   law.
Honduras........................  Yes.................            1971  Yes.................            2004  In implementation.  Specific forest                  -  No.
                                                                                                                                   law.
Nicaragua.......................  Yes.................            2008  Yes.................            2008  In implementation.  Specific forest               2003  Yes.
                                                                                                                                   law.
Panama..........................  Yes.................            2003  Yes.................            2008  Unclear...........  Specific forest               1994  No.
                                                                                                                                   law.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Table 1. Adapted from FAO Global Forest Resource Assessment 2010, pp. 302-303...................................................................................................................
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In 2007, FAO noted that many countries (in the range of the great 
green macaw) had enacted new forest laws or policies within the past 15 
years, or had taken steps to strengthen their existing legislation or 
policies. Among countries that had enacted new forest legislation were 
Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador (FAO 
2007, p. 43). Despite the existence of these laws and policies, the 
populations of the great green macaw are still negatively affected by 
habitat loss, encroachment, and, to a lesser extent, poaching.

Parks and Habitat Management

    Throughout this species' range, we found that many of the threats 
that occur to this species are the same or similar. Threats generally 
consist of various forms of habitat loss or degradation (see Factor A 
discussion, above). Each range country for this species has protections 
in place, but for reasons such as limited budgets and limited 
enforcement capabilities, the laws and protections are generally not 
able to adequately protect the species. Our analysis of regulatory 
mechanisms is discussed essentially on a country-by-country basis, 
beginning with Colombia, and is summarized at the end.

Colombia

    Colombia has enacted numerous laws to protect species and their 
habitats. This species exists predominantly in areas that are 
protected, and Colombia has several laws that pertain to protected 
areas. Some of these laws include:
     Natural Resources and Decree Law number 2811/74.
     Decree 1974/89: Regulation of Article 310 of Decree 2811, 
1974, on integrated management districts of natural renewable 
resources.
     Law number 99/93: Creates the Ministry of the Environments 
and the National Environmental System.
     Law number 165/94: Biological Diversity Treaty.
     Decree 1791/96: Establishment of the Forest Use Regime.
    A list of legislation that applies to protected areas in Colombia 
is available at http://www.humboldt.org.co/ingles/en-politica.htm and 
at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2011-0101. A 
discussion of Colombia's regulatory mechanisms with respect to the 
great green macaw follows.
    The great green macaw is listed as vulnerable on Colombia's Red 
List (Renjifo et al. 2002, p. 524). Resolution No. 584 of 2002 provides 
a list of Colombian wildlife and flora that are considered 
``threatened.'' Colombia defines threatened as those species whose 
natural populations are at risk of extinction if their habitat, range, 
or the ecosystems that support them have been affected by either 
natural causes or human actions. Threatened species are further 
categorized as critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable. 
Colombia defines a critically endangered species as one that faces a 
very high probability of extinction in the wild in the immediate 
future, based on a drastic reduction of its natural populations and a 
severe deterioration of its range. An endangered species is one that 
has a high probability of extinction in the wild in the near future, 
based on a declining trend of its natural populations and a 
deterioration of its range. A vulnerable species is one that is 
described as not in imminent danger of extinction in the near future, 
but it could be if natural population trends continue downward and 
deterioration of its range continues (EcoLex 2002, p. 10).
    Colombian Law No. 99 of 1993 created the Ministry of the 
Environment and Renewable Natural Resources and the National 
Environmental System (SINA). SINA sets out the principles governing 
environmental policy in Colombia, and provides that the country's 
biodiversity is protected and used primarily in a sustainable manner 
(Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute 2011, unpaginated; 
EcoLex 1993, p. 2). SINA is a set of activities, resources, programs, 
and institutions that allow the implementation of environmental 
principles. Consistent with the Constitution of 1991, this management 
system was intended to be decentralized. However, an environmental 
assessment study conducted for the World Bank in 2006 found that 
Colombia's current decentralized system is inadequate as implemented 
(Blackman et al. 2006, p. 15). Although Law 99 assigns the role of 
leading and coordinating environmental management in Colombia to the 
Ministry of Environment (Ministerio del Medio Ambiente, MMA), 
Colombia's Autonomous Regional Corporations (CARs) have the role of 
implementing environmental laws (Blackman et al. 2006, pp. 39-40, 42). 
CARs have responsibility for both management of natural resources and 
economic development (Ministry of Environment et al. 2002).

[[Page 40210]]

    In 2006, an analysis of the effectiveness of Colombia's CARs was 
conducted for the World Bank. In Blackman et al.'s analysis, they 
reported that many individuals both inside and outside the government 
felt there was a lack of effectiveness of SINA. For example, Colombia's 
efforts to eradicate the coca trade has not been effective at reducing 
the amount of coca being cultivated (Page 2003, p. 2; also see Factor 
A). In addition to not adequately addressing the coca cultivation, 
which destroys the great green macaw's habitat, aerial fumigations of 
the coca crop have destroyed banana fields and polluted the environment 
(Page 2003, p. 2) (see Factor A discussion, above). The effectiveness 
of these regional management groups varied; the study found that the 
effectiveness was correlated with the CARs' age, geographic size, and 
level of poverty (Blackman et al. 2006, p. 16). Due to the 
decentralized structure, CARs were found to be ineffective at 
environmental management in Colombia (Blackman et al. 2006, p. 14).
    This species' habitat occurs to some extent in areas designated as 
protected by SINA, including five national parks (Rodr[iacute]guez-
Mahecha 2002a). Two parks are particularly significant: Kat[iacute]os 
National Park and Utr[iacute]a National Park. Although this species 
likely exists in at least these two parks (Botero-Delgadillo and 
P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 92), no protective measures have been actually 
implemented to curb human impacts on the species' habitat by the 
indigenous and farming residents within these protected parks (Botero-
Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 92). Cultivation of plants for 
cocaine production is known to occur within the boundaries of 
Kat[iacute]os National Park. The cultivation of illegal crops 
(particularly coca) poses additional threats to the environment beyond 
the destruction of montane forests (Balslev 1993, p. 3). Coca crop 
production destroys the soil quality by causing the soil to become more 
acidic, depletes the soil nutrients, and ultimately impedes the 
regrowth of secondary forests in abandoned fields (Van Schoik and 
Schulberg 1993, p. 21; also see Factor A discussion, above). As of 
2007, Colombia was the leading coca producer (United Nations Office of 
Drugs and Crime (UNODC) et al. 2007, p. 7). Since 2003, cocaine coca 
cultivation has remained stable at about 800 km\2\ (309 mi\2\) of land 
under cultivation (UNODC et al. 2007, p. 8). This activity continues to 
degrade and destroy great green macaw's habitat. With respect to 
Utr[iacute]a National Park, little to no information is known about the 
status of the species in this area (Botero-Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 
2011, p. 91). Although it is extremely remote, human communities reside 
within and around the park, and continue to use the resources within 
the park.
    Despite Colombia's numerous laws and regulatory mechanisms to 
administer and manage wildlife and their habitats, the great green 
macaw continues to face many threats to its habitat. There is little 
information available about the species (Botero-Delgadillo and 
P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 90), and the most recent information indicates 
that no conservation action has been proposed for this species (Botero-
Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 88). On-the-ground enforcement of 
existing wildlife protection and forestry laws, and oversight of the 
local jurisdictions implementing and regulating activities, are 
ineffective at mitigating the primary threats to the great green macaw. 
As discussed under Factor A (above), habitat destruction, degradation, 
and fragmentation continue throughout the existing range of the great 
green macaw. Therefore, we find that the existing regulatory mechanisms 
currently in place are inadequate to mitigate the primary threats of 
habitat destruction to the great green macaw in Columbia.

Costa Rica

    In Costa Rica, there are more than 30 laws related to the 
environment (Peterson 2010, p. 1). A list of the environmental laws in 
Costa Rica is available at: http://www.costaricalaw.com/costa-rica-environmental-laws.html. As deforestation is the most significant 
factor affecting the great green macaw, some laws applicable to the 
conservation of the great green macaw are:
     Law No. 2790 Wildlife Conservation Law (``Ley De 
Conservaci[oacute]n De La Fauna Silvestre,'' July 1961).
     Law No. 7317 Wildlife Conservation Law (``Ley De 
Conservaci[oacute]n De La Vida Silvestre,'' December 1992).
     Law 7554 Law of the Environment (``Ley Org[aacute]nica del 
Ambiente,'' October 1995).
     Law No. 7575 Forestry Law (``Ley Forestal,'' February 
1996).
     Law 7788 Biodiversity Law (In 1998, the National System of 
Conservation Areas (SINAC) was created through this law (Canet-Desanti 
2007 in Villate et al. 2008, p. 24).
    In the early 1990s, Costa Rica had one of the highest deforestation 
rates in Latin America (Butler 2012, p. 3). Forest cover in Costa Rica 
steadily decreased from 85 percent in 1940, to around 35 percent today, 
according to the FAO's State of the World's Forests (Butler 2012, 
unpaginated; FAO 2010, pp. 227, 259; FAO 2007). Historically, clearing 
for agriculture, particularly for coffee and bananas, in addition to 
cattle pastures was the main reason for Costa Rica's rainforest 
destruction. During the 1970s and early 1980s, vast expanses of 
rainforest had been burned and converted to cattle pastures. Today, 
although deforestation rates of natural forest have dropped 
considerably, Costa Rica's remaining forests still experience illegal 
timber harvesting (in protected areas) and conversion to agriculture 
(in unprotected zones) (Butler 2012, unpaginated; Monge et al. 2009, p. 
121; FAO 2007). Despite its abundance of conservation legislation, 
Costa Rica has undergone significant periods of deforestation (Butler 
2012, unpaginated; FAO 2007, p. 38), which have had a severe effect on 
the great green macaw.

Almendro Tree Protection

    In Costa Rica and Nicaragua, the great green macaw is highly 
dependent on the almendro tree. Almendro trees are found only on the 
Atlantic coast from southern Nicaragua down through Costa Rica and 
Panama and into Colombia, primarily at altitudes below 900 m (2,953 
ft). This tree species is now protected by law in Costa Rica; cutting 
any almendro tree over 120 cm (47.2 in) or less than 70 cm (27.6 in) in 
diameter is prohibited (Rainforest Biodiversity Group 2008, p. 1). The 
remaining Costa Rican populations of almendro trees are concentrated in 
the northeastern corner of the country from the San Juan River south to 
Braulio Carrillo National Park (Hanson 2006, p. 3). Although little 
forest remains undisturbed in this region, many almendro trees were 
left standing in fragments or pastures, partly due to the extremely 
dense nature of the tree's wood and the difficulty in cutting down 
these trees.
    As a result of the great green macaw's dependence on almendro 
trees, conservation efforts for the great green macaw have focused on 
this tree species. A decree was enacted in 2001 to limit extraction of 
the almendro tree. Harvest was temporarily suspended until a study 
could be conducted to evaluate the status of this primary food and 
nesting source in relation to the great green macaw (Chosset et al. 
2002, p. 6). According to Costa Rican legislation (Decree No 25167-
MINAE), the removal or logging of almendro trees had been illegal in 
the area between the San Carlos and Sarapiqui Rivers (Madriz-Vargas 
2004, p. 9). The objective of the restrictions placed on

[[Page 40211]]

extraction of almendro trees was to increase the number of nesting 
sites for the great green macaw and to prevent the tree from becoming 
extinct; however, forest clearings continued to occur at an alarming 
rate due to the lack of resources to protect biological reserves 
(Madriz-Vargas 2004, p. 8). For example, researchers reported in 2003 
that of the 60 great green macaw nests identified since the great green 
macaw conservation project was initiated in 1994, 10 had been cut down 
by forest engineers working in forest management plans (Monge and 
Chassot 2003, p. 4). In 2008, Costa Rica's Supreme Court stated that 
MINAE must abstain from the continuation or initiation of the use, 
exploitation, or extraction of the almendro tree (Chun 2008, p. 113). 
In Costa Rica, fines for those who cut down almendro trees have been 
proposed as a measure, although penalties reportedly have not been 
instituted (Botero-Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 92).

Great Green Macaw Conservation

    In the two core areas where the great green macaw exists in Costa 
Rica, conservation activities are underway, and the breeding 
populations are being closely monitored. Quebrada Grande is a 
community-operated, 119-ha (294-ac) reserve in the center of great 
green macaw habitat. Additionally, the National Green Macaw Commission 
was formed in 1996 to protect and manage this species' habitat. This 
commission was formed in response to the severe decline of the great 
green macaw population, and included 13 government agencies, NGOs, and 
the Sarapiqu[iacute] Natural Resources Commission (CRENASA). This 
conservation effort was formalized by Executive Order No. 7815-MINAE of 
1999. The group served as an advisory body to MINAE regarding 
environmental issues in the northern zone of Costa Rica that affect the 
great green macaw (Chassot and Monge 2008 in Villate et al. 2008, p. 
22). Conservation efforts are still in progress; in 2008, a workshop 
was held to bring together species experts and government officials to 
identify priorities and goals in order to conserve the species (Monge 
et al. 2009, entire).
    Additionally, a corridor was created in 2001, with the goal of 
maintaining connectivity and biodiversity between protected areas in 
southeastern Nicaragua, the Protected Conservation Area Arenal Huetar 
North (ACAHN), and Conservation Area of the Central Volcanic Cordillera 
(ACCVC) in Costa Rica. The primary purpose was to promote the creation 
of protected wilderness and encourage habitat protection necessary to 
preserve and increase the great green macaw population (Villate et al. 
2008, p. 24).
    In 2005, the Maquenque National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR) was 
established primarily to protect breeding habitat for the great green 
macaw. Approximately 43,700 ha (107,985 ac) of land identified as 
potential great green macaw breeding habitat lies within the boundaries 
of MNWR (Chun 2008, p. 113). This region was targeted because it 
contains several large nesting trees used by great green macaw breeding 
pairs. MNWR protects foraging habitat that may be critical during the 
great green macaw's breeding season. MNWR is within the larger San Juan 
La Selva (SJLS) Biological Corridor, and its goal is specifically to 
connect protected areas in southern Nicaragua to those in central Costa 
Rica (Chun 2008, p. 98). However, even in this refuge, habitat 
degradation continues to occur. A Ramsar (the Convention on wetlands) 
report on this refuge (which is a Ramsar site), indicated that the main 
threats there are agricultural and forestry activities, which are most 
prevalent near the Colpach[iacute] and Manat[iacute] lagoons (Ramsar 
2012, p. 1).
    In summary, as of 2002, less than 10 percent of the great green 
macaw's original range was estimated to exist in Costa Rica (Chosset et 
al. 2002, p. 6). The great green macaw greatly depends on the almendro 
tree as its primary food and nesting resource. However, due to Costa 
Rica's complex deforestation history, the great green macaw remains 
imperiled primarily due to habitat fragmentation, degradation, and 
habitat loss. In 2004, a maximum of 35 pairs were estimated to be 
breeding in northern Costa Rica (Chosset et al. 2004, p. 32), and the 
population in this country appears to have increased since a 
conservation program and regulatory mechanisms have been in place. 
Costa Rica's population was estimated to be approximately 300 birds in 
2010 (Chassot 2010 pers. comm. in Hardman 2010, p. 11; Monge et al. 
2010, pp. 13, 22). Despite the apparent increase in the population in 
Costa Rica, the population is extremely small and has experienced 
significant decline in available habitat over the past 60 years.

Habitat Degradation

    In addition to the historical loss of habitat, the species 
continues to face threats such as habitat degradation. This species 
requires a complex suite of plant species over the course of a year for 
its nutritional needs. Pressures to its habitat such as logging, 
encroachment, habitat degradation, and likely other factors continue 
within this species' range. Despite conservation efforts in place, such 
as conservation awareness programs, research, and monitoring, the 
population has declined significantly over time and is still only 
estimated to be approximately 300 individuals. Because this species 
mates for life and has a small clutch size, the loss of any one 
individual can have a significant effect on the population. Costa Rica 
has implemented many environmental laws in conjunction with 
conservation efforts to protect species, particularly the great green 
macaw and its habitat. The situation of this species is still 
precarious, and any of the threats acting on the species, such as 
habitat loss and degradation, poaching, or other unknown factors, could 
have a significant effect on the population in Costa Rica because it is 
so small, and because of its life-history characteristics. The existing 
regulatory mechanisms, as implemented, are insufficient in Costa Rica 
to adequately ameliorate the current threats to this species.

Ecuador

    As of 2006, the Ecuadorian government recognized 31 various legal 
categories of protected lands (e.g., national parks, biological 
reserves, geobotanical reserves, bird reserves, wildlife reserves, 
etc.). The amount of protected land (both forested and non-forested) in 
Ecuador as of 2006 was approximately 4.67 million ha (11.5 million ac) 
(ITTO 2006, p. 228). However, only 38 percent of these lands had 
appropriate conservation measures in place to be considered protected 
areas according to international standards (i.e., areas that are 
managed for scientific study or wilderness protection, for ecosystem 
protection and recreation, for conservation of specific natural 
features, or for conservation through management intervention) (ITTO 
2009, p. 1). Moreover, only 11 percent had management plans, and less 
than 1 percent (13,000 ha or 32,125 ac) had implemented those 
management plans (ITTO 2006, p. 228).
    In 2004, the Ecuadorian Minister of the Environment signed a 
ministerial decree forming the National Strategy for the In-Situ 
Conservation of the Guayaquil Macaw (Ara a. guayaquilensis) into law 
(ProForest 2005, p. 3). The strategy included the following components 
to be implemented within 10 years. Aspects of this conservation plan, 
which focuses on the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest, a stronghold for 
great green macaw, include:
     Applied investigation for the conservation of the species;

[[Page 40212]]

     Management of the conservation areas where the presence of 
the Guayaquil macaw has been confirmed, incorporating new areas that 
are critical for conservation of the species, and providing connecting 
corridors between the areas;
     Reforestation with appropriate tree species in its 
habitat;
     Incentives and sustainable alternatives for communities 
and private property owners within its range; and
     Conservation of the Guayaquil macaw.
    Despite the existence of this strategy, the great green macaw still 
faces significant threats in Ecuador (Horstman 2011, p. 12). There are 
likely fewer than 100 individuals of this subspecies remaining in 
Ecuador. Ecuador recognizes that threats exist to its natural heritage, 
not only to this species, but to all of its wildlife. In 2008, Ecuador 
approved Article 71 of its Constitution which states, ``Nature has a 
right to integrally respect its existence as well as the maintenance 
and regeneration of its vital cycles, structures, functions and 
evolutionary processes.'' Article 73 also mandates, ``measures of 
precaution and restriction for all activities that could lead to the 
extinction of species, the destruction of ecosystems, or the permanent 
alteration of natural habitats.''
    Ecuador has made significant strides in conservation. Ecuador's 
Article 103 of Book IV on Biodiversity decreed that: ``It is 
prohibited, on any day or time of the year, to hunt species, whether 
birds or mammals, that constitute wildlife and that are listed in 
Appendix 1 of the present Record that are qualified as threatened or 
endangered. Hunting is likewise prohibited in certain areas or zones 
while the bans are in effect'' (Monge et al. 2009, p. 256; Unified Text 
of the Secondary Legislation of the Ministry of the Environment). 
Despite the recent advances made in conservation efforts, Ecuador has 
gone through periods of devastating habitat loss and degradation, which 
affected the great green macaw's habitat such that it only remains in 
two fragmented and small areas. It is unclear how sustainable the 
remaining habitat is, particularly because this species has specialized 
feeding requirements and requires a large range to provide its 
nutritional needs.
    The National Strategy for the In-Situ Conservation of the Guayaquil 
Macaw was revised in 2009. As a result, the first national census of 
great green macaw was conducted in Ecuador in late 2010 (Horstman 2011, 
pp. 16-17). The Cerro Blanco Protected Area has been managed by the 
Pro-Forest Foundation, an NGO, for approximately 20 years (Horstman 
2011, unpaginated). Horstman indicated that at the Cerro Blanco 
Reserve, the resident population of approximately 15 macaws travels 
widely outside of the 6,475-ha (16,000-ac) reserve (http://blogs.discovery.com/animal_news/2009/11/help-for-ecuadors-great-green-macaws.html, accessed October 28, 2011). Horstman, who has worked in 
this area since the early 1990s, indicated the need to establish a 
conservation corridor between Cerro Blanco and adjacent patches of 
suitable forest, and most are less than 40.5 ha (100 ac) in size. 
During the past 20 years, at least 2,000 ha (4,942 ac) have been 
reforested (Monge et al. 2009, p. 9). Although reforestation projects 
have occurred, encroachment is still occurring (Horstman 2011, p. 12). 
Despite conservation efforts and regulatory mechanisms in place, there 
is still limited funding available for conservation efforts. 
Encroachment and other forms of habitat degradation continue to occur 
within its habitat (see Factor A discussion, above). Therefore, we find 
that the regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to ameliorate the loss 
and degradation of great green macaw habitat in Ecuador.

Honduras

    The National Conservation and Forestry Institute (ICF) (formerly 
the Protected Areas and Wildlife Department, established in 1991) is 
responsible for regulating natural resources and management of 
protected areas. The National Protected Areas System includes 17 
national parks created between 1980 and 2007. As of 2009, there were 79 
protected areas (Triana and Arce 2012, p. 1). In 1991, the Protected 
Areas and Wildlife Department (which is now the National Conservation 
and Forestry Institute (ICF)) was designated to manage natural 
resources and protected areas (Devenish et al. 2009, p. 257; Decree no. 
74-91, 1991). Prior to 1991, wildlife was managed by the Honduran 
Department of Wildlife and Ecology (RENARE).
    Decree 98-2007, the Forest Law of Honduras, repealed Decree 163-93 
of 1993, which contained the Law on Incentives for Forestation, 
Reforestation, and Forest Protection. The Forest Law sets forth the 
purposes of the law, and regulates the use of forestry areas, the 
rational and sustainable management of forestry resources, protected 
areas, and wildlife. The law contains definitions and created a series 
of administrative agencies charged with the implementation of forestry 
regulations, including the National Forestry Consultative Council. This 
law also formed the National Forestry Research System and the National 
Institute for Forestry Conservation and Development (211 provisions; 
pp. 1-17).
    Before the 2007 Forest Law was approved, at least 38 laws governed 
the sector, creating a confusing policy framework. The situation is 
further complicated because in many cases, forest tenure (ownership, 
tenancy, and other arrangements for the use of forests) is unclear. 
Although most forest is officially state-owned (FAO 2007), states have 
little practical authority over forest management, and individuals 
exercise de facto ownership. Corruption is a barrier to legal logging 
because it facilitates illegal operations and creates obstacles to 
legal ones (Pellegrini 2011, p. 18; Rodas et al. 2005, p. 53). Bribes 
are extorted from certified community forestry operations, and, 
reportedly, without bribes, transport of legal wood becomes impossible 
(Pellegrini 2011, p. 18; Rodas et al., 2005, p. 53).
    The new 2007 Forest Law was supported by environmental groups, but 
its implementation was delayed. The law included the abolition of the 
Honduran Forest Development Corporation (COHDEFOR) (which received 
unanimous support), more resources for enforcement, and harsher 
penalties against those who commit forest-related crimes. Previously, 
the director of COHDEFOR and other political leaders were owners or 
employees of logging companies, an apparent conflict of interest 
(Pellegrini 2011, p. 20). Also at that time, the army was involved in 
enforcement. Out of the resources that were spent for the forestry 
sector, the military absorbed 70 percent without producing any evidence 
that enforcement had improved (Pellegrini 2011, p. 20).
    Currently in Honduras, the great green macaw is believed to exist 
in eastern Honduras in suitable habitat distributed from Olancho to the 
R[iacute]o Pl[aacute]tano Biological Reserve, the Tawahka Biological 
Reserve, and Patuca National Park (Monge et al. 2009, p. 39). Its range 
encompasses both unprotected and protected areas; however, timber 
exploitation occurs even in areas designated as protected. This 
practice has created conflicts in protected areas such as the 
R[iacute]o Pl[aacute]tano Biosphere Reserve, an area that is considered 
critical for its conservation (Lopez and Jim[eacute]nez 2007, p. 26). 
Demand for mahogany, which has been one of the most extracted species 
in the area (Lopez and Jim[eacute]nez 2007, p. 26), has also put 
pressure on this species' habitat. Selective logging creates openings 
in forest canopies and changes the ecosystem dynamics and

[[Page 40213]]

composition of plant species. Income from logging is higher than that 
earned for crops and cattle, making logging far more lucrative for 
locals. However, after areas are logged, they become more accessible 
and are then often converted to uses such as crops and cattle grazing.
    Indigenous communities have rights to use many protected areas. 
Article 107 of the Honduran Constitution protects the land rights of 
indigenous people. It is the duty of the government to create measures 
to protect the rights and interests of indigenous communities in the 
country, especially with respect to the land and forests where they are 
settled (Article 346). As an example of land use by Honduran indigenous 
communities, between 15 and 40 percent of the total value of 
consumption for two indigenous Tawahka communities was found to be 
derived directly from the forest (Godoy et al. 2002, p. 404). Struggle 
over land rights is a difficult issue for indigenous communities in 
Honduras. Logging and mining are some of the biggest threats not only 
to the great green macaw, but also to the indigenous communities. 
Indigenous cultures generally have a low impact on the forests (Stocks 
et al. 2007, pp. 1,502-1,503). Because indigenous communities want 
their lands protected for their traditional way of life, NGOs are 
working with these communities to protect reserves in Honduras, which 
should ultimately benefit the great green macaw.
    In 1996, the R[iacute]o Pl[aacute]tano Biosphere Reserve was placed 
on the ``World Heritage Site in Danger'' list, but it was removed from 
the list in 2007, due to a significant improvement in conservation 
efforts by NGOs. Several NGOs are working in this area including the 
Mosquitia Paquisa (MOPAWI) and the Rio Pl[aacute]tano Biosphere Project 
(UNEP-WCMC 2011, p. 5). However, investigations in 2010 and 2011 
indicate that there are still problems within the reserve (UNESCO 2011, 
pp. 1-3). UNESCO, as recently as 2011, conducted a survey in the 
R[iacute]o Pl[aacute]tano Reserve and found illegal activity within the 
core zone (UNESCO 2011, pp. 1-3). Clearing of land for cattle grazing 
and illegal fishing and hunting along the river is ongoing. The area is 
protected by policy by the Department of Protected Areas and Wildlife, 
State Forestry Administration in Honduras. The reserve management plan, 
implemented in 2000, included zoning and specific plans for 
conservation issues. One of the goals of the reserve's conservation 
plan is to integrate local inhabitants with their environment in part 
via sustainable agricultural practices. This practice has been found to 
be a good tool in forest conservation (Pellegrini 2011, pp. 3-8). The 
reserve plan established buffer zones, cultural zones, and nucleus 
zones. Indigenous communities living in the reserve and buffer zone are 
allowed to use the resources within the reserve. The integration of 
indigenous populations plays a large part in the success of the 
conservation plan, both inside the reserve and outside the reserve in 
the buffer and peripheral zones (Pellegrini 2011, p. 3; Stocks et al. 
2007, p. 1502-1503). This reserve also receives some funding from the 
World Wildlife Fund and other private organizations, which assists in 
the management of the reserve. However, there are currently no park 
guards or any official entity actively patrolling or guarding the 
reserve to enforce restrictions.
    There is a complex history concerning the balance of land rights of 
indigenous communities and preservation of habitat for species such as 
the great green macaw. In Honduras, there is a gap between forestry 
policy objectives and the state of forestry. The policy frameworks 
exist to manage timber extraction, but tools are not implemented 
(Pellegrini 2011, p. 1). COHDEFOR had been responsible for forestry 
development and enforcement of laws. The Honduran government began to 
decentralize COHDEFOR beginning in 1985 (Butler 2012, unpaginated) due 
to its ineffectiveness. As of 2001, the management of Honduran forests 
was administered by the Administraci[oacute]n Forestal del Estado (AFE, 
Government Forestry Administration), Corporaci[oacute]n 
Hondure[ntilde]a de Desarrollo Forestal (COHDEFOR Honduran Forestry 
Development Corporation) (Moreno and Marineros 2001, p. 2). Land use 
planning occurs at the national level; however, identifying the best 
use of areas has not been implemented (Pellegrini 2011, p. 17). In 
addition, estimates of illegal logging are approximately 80 percent of 
the total volume extracted for broadleaf and 50 percent for coniferous 
species (Richards et al. 2003, p. 1).
    Honduras is making progress in managing its forested resources. In 
2010, Honduras implemented Agreement number 011-2010 (Ecolex 2011), the 
Forestry Reinvestment Fund and Plantation Development, and its goal is 
to recover areas degraded or denuded forests. In 2010, Honduras also 
put into place Decision No. 31/10, the General Regulation of Forestry 
Law, Protected Areas and Wildlife (Ecolex 2011). This covers the 
administration and management of forest resources, protected areas, and 
wildlife. Despite the progress made in Honduras with respect to laws 
and regulatory mechanisms that affect the great green macaw and other 
wildlife, the species continues to face habitat loss and degradation in 
Honduras.

Nicaragua

    Nicaragua's General Environmental and Natural Resources Law No. 
217, issued in 1996, is considered the legal framework that defines the 
standards and mechanisms in regard to the use, conservation, 
protection, and restoration of the environment and natural resources in 
a sustainable manner. It recognizes the sustainable development 
concept. By 2004, Nicaragua had enacted 10 environmental laws and was a 
member of regional and international environmental agreements (Moreno 
2004, p. 9). As of 2004, Nicaragua was moving towards the consolidation 
of a National System of Protected Areas (SINAP) in order to preserve 
the country's biological wealth (Moreno 2004, p. 9). SINAP consists of 
National Protected Areas, Municipal Ecological Parks, and Private 
Wildlife Reserves of ``ecological and social relevance at the local, 
national, and international level, defined in conformance with the law, 
and designated according to management categories that permit 
compliance with national policies and objectives of conservation'' 
(McGinley 2009, p. 19; Protected Areas Regulations: Article 3). 
However, the overall protection and administration of SINAP is hindered 
by an inability to administer its financial and human resources 
(McGinley 2009, p. 20). Of the 72 national protected areas, only 23 had 
approved management plans in 2008, another 19 were in some phase of the 
approval process, and 30 protected areas had no management plan at all 
(McGinley 2009, p. 20). Despite protections in place, enforcement has 
been lacking in protected areas, and poverty continues to be a huge 
concern in Nicaragua (FAO 2011, pp. 1-2; McGinley et al. 2009, p. 16).
    Three assessments of the effectiveness of Nicaragua's laws and 
regulations with respect to wildlife and forestry laws were recently 
conducted (Pellegrini 2011; McGinley et al. 2009; Castell[oacute]n et 
al. 2008). The first explored the relationship between forest 
management and poverty (Pellegrini 2011). The research published in 
2009 evaluated Nicaragua's Tropical Forests and Biological Diversity 
(McGinley et al. 2009, entire). The other report evaluated the 
effectiveness of Nicaragua's wildlife trade policies (Castell[oacute]n 
et al. 2008, entire). In Nicaragua, the organization responsible for 
regulation and control of

[[Page 40214]]

the forestry sector is the National Forest Institute (INAFOR), which is 
under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Forestry (MAGFOR). The 
other relevant ministry is the Nicaraguan Ministry of Environment and 
National Resources (MARENA), which supports conservation awareness 
programs for this species. In early 2003, MARENA created the Municipal 
Environmental Unit in order to decentralize environmental functions. 
Although a good legal framework exists in Nicaragua to protect its 
natural resources, there are still on-the-ground problems that affect 
this species. For example, in the Indio-Ma[iacute]z Biological Reserve, 
one of the strongholds for this species, each forest guard in the 
control posts along the border of the reserve is responsible for 
monitoring a stretch of 8 km (5 mi) of the border and an area of 70 
km\2\ (27 mi\2\) (Rocha 2012, pp. 3-6; Ravnborg et al. 2006, p. 6). 
There are communication and perception problems that are prevalent 
within the reserve that perpetuate the inability to adequately manage 
the resources within the reserve. These resources are used both legally 
and illegally by Costa Ricans who cross the San Juan River and the 
local communities who live in Nicaragua (Rocha 2012, pp. 3-6).
    In 2008, the government of Nicaragua published a report on the 
status of its wildlife laws and mechanisms (Castellon et al. 2008, 
entire). It reported the following findings (p. 9):
     Nicaragua's current laws are inadequate to protect and 
sustain domestic and international trade in CITES species. They are 
unfocused and lack provisions on habitat degradation and biological 
productivity.
     Nicaragua does not have a written wildlife trade policy 
nor laws to underpin sustainable species management in domestic and 
international trade. The regulatory instruments pertaining to 
sustainable management of wildlife trade are relevant and coherent and 
provide a basis for the formulation of such a policy.
     The nonregulatory instruments for measuring the commercial 
sustainability of wildlife trade are rarely used. The most important of 
them are: Monitoring, research, education, and information.
     Study of wildlife harvesting shows that the income from 
trade in harvested species goes principally to external actors, with 
little or no benefit to rural communities or populations.
    The 2008 study also reported that the government of Nicaragua was 
unable to find a single case in which the application of its laws led 
to actual fines or penalties for harvesting or trading banned species 
(McGinley 2009, p. 22). It found that nonregulatory instruments such as 
monitoring, research, education, and information are poorly used in the 
oversight of commercial wildlife trade in Nicaragua. (McGinley 2009, p. 
22). Despite these findings, a review undertaken by the CITES 
Secretariat found that the legislation of Nicaragua has been determined 
to be sufficient to properly implement the CITES Treaty (see discussion 
below). The country has made an effort to protect its resources, and is 
attempting to address the management of its natural resources.
    In addition, specific, targeted conservation measures are 
occurring. An NGO in Nicaragua, with the support of MARENA, is 
promoting conservation of this species. They have initiated a campaign 
to educate communities in part by posting messages on buses on three 
highly traveled public routes in Managua. For example, one message 
describes why buying endangered species as pets is not a good idea; 
rather, they should remain in the wild. Additionally, in 2003, 
Nicaragua and Costa Rica participated in the First Mesoamerican 
Congress for Protected Areas. Senior representatives of both countries 
discussed ways to explore the framework of connectivity between 
protected areas (Villate et al. 2008, p. 52). As a result, several 
active conservation measures for the great green macaw in Nicaragua are 
underway, such as the development of connected habitat corridors, and 
the great green macaw conservation workshop was held in 2008. In 
Nicaragua's Indio-Ma[iacute]z Biological Reserve, training measures for 
monitoring the great green macaw have been implemented. For example, 
technicians associated with Fundacion del Rio have been trained in 
great green macaw research (Chassot et al. 2006, p. 86). The species' 
population is only estimated to be 871 individuals in Nicaragua and 
Costa Rica combined (Monge et al. 2010, p. 21), and pressures continue 
to occur to the species and its habitat. Despite regulatory mechanisms 
in place and the existence of many strategies in Nicaragua to combat 
threats to the species such as deforestation, habitat loss, and 
poaching for the wildlife trade, these activities continue.
    The impoverished rely strongly on forest products (Pellegrini 2011, 
pp. 21-22). In an attempt to reduce poverty and at the same time 
conserve forested areas, analyses addressing poverty reduction were 
conducted prior to 2002. Strategies, described as Poverty Reduction 
Strategy Papers (PRSPs), recommended approving a forestry law by 2002 
(which actually was approved at the end of 2003) and addressing 
deforestation as a source of ecological vulnerability. As part of its 
poverty reduction strategy, Nicaragua developed a National Development 
Plan (Government of Nicaragua 2005 in Pellegrini 2011, pp. 21-22), the 
goal of which was to strengthen the whole forestry production chain. 
However, the plan was reported to not have been effectively implemented 
(Pellegrini 2011, p. 22). The main policy instruments that set the 
framework for forestry were the Forest Law and the logging ban. The 
Forest Law establishes the system of forest management (Pellegrini 
2011, pp. 21-22). The law includes incentives for sustainable 
practices; however, Pellegrini noted that it is virtually impossible to 
take advantage of the law's provisions without support by external 
organizations such as NGOs (Pellegrini 2011, p. 22; TNC 2007, pp. 3-7).
    Nicaragua is focusing efforts on the restoration and protection of 
forested areas, and its goal was to reduce the deforestation rate from 
70,000 ha (172,974 ac) to 20,000 ha (49,421 ac) per year by 2010 
(McGinley 2009, p. 28). Recently, the Associated Foresters of Nicaragua 
(FORESTAN), in cooperation with a local NGO, the Instituto de 
Investigaciones y Gesti[oacute]n Social (INGES), began an initiative to 
increase forest cover. Their goal is to incorporate conservation and 
production areas over 5,000 ha (12,355 ac), and more effectively use 
commercially valuable tree species while at the same time creating 
permanent jobs (INGES-FORESTAN 2005 in Sinreich 2009, p. 63). In 2006, 
a logging ban was put in place. The ban prohibited extraction of six 
species of wood and any logging operation in protected areas or within 
15 km (9 mi) of all national borders, and it put the army in charge of 
enforcement (Government of Nicaragua 2006 in Pellegrini 2011, p. 23). 
However, deforestation rates may have increased even after the ban's 
approval (Guzm[aacute]n 2007, pp. 1-2). Although Nicaragua attempts to 
manage its natural resources, it has a large challenge due to the 
pressures for its forest resources in combination with extreme poverty 
(FAO 2011, p. 1; McGinley et al. 2009, p. 11). Despite these efforts, 
pressure on the great green macaw's habitat continues.

Panama

    In Panama, the great green macaw's stronghold is believed to be in 
Dari[eacute]n National Park, which borders Colombia (Monge et al. 2009, 
p. 68; Angehr in litt. 1996 in Snyder et al. 2000, pp. 121-123; Ridgley 
1982). The Dari[eacute]n region encompasses nearly 809,371 ha (2

[[Page 40215]]

million ac) of protected areas, including Dari[eacute]n National Park 
and Biosphere Reserve, Punta Pati[ntilde]o Natural Reserve, Brage 
Biological Corridor, and two reserves for indigenous communities (TNC 
2011, p. 1). Panama's National System of Protected Areas (SINAP) is 
managed by the National Environmental Authority (ANAM) and consists of 
66 areas, totaling 2.5 million ha (6.18 million ac) (Devenish et al. 
2009b, p. 1-2). Of these, 19 have management plans, and 36 have been 
through a process of strategic planning (ANAM 2006, unpaginated).
    ANAM was established in 1998, through the General Environmental Law 
of Panama (Law 41). ANAM is the primary government institution for 
forest and biodiversity conservation and management. ANAM plans, 
coordinates, regulates, and promotes policies and actions to use, 
conserve, and develop renewable resources of the country. Its mission 
statement is to guarantee a healthy environment through the promotion 
of rational use of natural resources, the organization of environmental 
management, and the transformation of Panamanian culture to improve the 
quality of life (Virviescas et al. 1998, p. 2). Law 41 also provides 
the framework for SINAP. Environmental protection in Panama falls under 
the jurisdiction of three government agencies, the Institute for 
Renewable Natural Resources, the Ministry of Agricultural Development, 
and the Ministry of Health. There are 17 management categories of 
protected areas that were established through INRENARE's Resolution 09-
94. A later law, the Forest Law of 2004, established protections for 
three types of forest, which covers 36 percent of the country.
    There are political and economic pressures to develop many areas 
(Devenish et al. 2009b, p. 291). Deforestation, in addition to the lack 
of management, and lease periods for these concessions of 2 to 5 years, 
have left only an estimated 250,000 to 350,000 ha (617,763 to 864,868 
ac) of production forests in Panama (Gutierrez 2001a in Parker et al. 
2004, p. I-10). Additionally, many protected areas in Panama lack 
adequate staff and resources to patrol the areas or enforce regulations 
(Devenish et al. 2009b, p. 291). In 1986, Panama initiated a national 
forest strategy (Plan de Acci[oacute]n Forestal de Panama or PAFPAN) 
supported by FAO; however the plan reportedly did not directly tackle 
the causes of deforestation. Between 1980 and 1990, concessions for 
77,800 ha (192,248 ac) of production forests were awarded to 23 
companies, for periods ranging from 2 to 5 years (Parker et al. 2004, 
p. II-4). In 1994, a new forestry law was approved, which 
institutionalized forest management. Now, concessions only exist in the 
Dari[eacute]n Province (Parker et al. 2004, p. II-4). Between 1992 and 
2000, the Dari[eacute]n province was one of Panama's provinces that 
experienced the greatest declines (11.5 percent) in forest cover 
(Parker et al. 2004, p. 32). However, there are activities in place to 
combat these pressures. For example, a training program exists to 
increase capacity in issues such as planning, geographic information 
systems, sustainable tourism, trail construction and management for 
park staff, community groups, and other stakeholders in the protected 
area system.

Dari[eacute]n National Park

    Dari[eacute]n National Park extends along about 80 percent of the 
Panama-Colombia border and includes part of the Pacific coast. The area 
has been under protection since 1972, with the establishment of Alto 
Dari[eacute]n Protection Forest. It was declared a national park in 
1980. The park is zoned as a strictly protected core zone of over 
83,000 ha (205,097 ac). Another zone consists of 180,000 ha (444,789 
ac) and contains indigenous Indian populations that have maintained 
their traditional way of life and culture. Approximately 8,000 ha 
(19,768 ac) is designated for tourism and environmental education, and 
the last zone is described as an ``inspection zone'' which is 40-km 
(25-mi) wide, and spans the Panama-Colombia border. The Dari[eacute]n 
forests are threatened from logging, agriculture expansion, burning, 
and hunting and gathering (TNC 2011, pp. 1-2; Monge et al. 2009, p. 
68). Other threats to forest in the region include the development of 
projects such as dams and highways (Parker et al. 2004, pp. II-7--II-
8).
    Since 1986, the Asociaci[oacute]n Nacional para la 
Conservaci[oacute]n de la Naturaleza (ANCON) has been actively involved 
in conservation of the park in conjunction with INRENARE, the World 
Wildlife Fund, and other conservation entities. In 1995, a biodiversity 
conservation project was initiated. The project's goal was to involve 
local communities in conservation and sustainable use activities, and 
was funded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the 
Global Environment Facility. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is also 
active in conservation efforts in this area through its Parks in Peril 
program (TNC 2011, pp. 1-2).
    Panama has also initiated reforestation efforts. For example, 
beginning in the 1960s, Panama began to plant Pinus caribaea (pine 
species) in degraded areas of the Cordillera of the central region. 
Additionally, in 1992, a law was passed to provide incentives for the 
establishment of plantations; however, these were mainly exotic species 
(Parker et al. 2004, p. III-6). Panama is now implementing 
reforestation and timber production projects that focus on native 
species. This initiative is known as the ``Native Species Reforestation 
Project'' (Proyecto de Reforestaci[oacute]n con Especies Nativas; 
PRORENA) (Schmidt 2009, p. 10). Forestry managers have realized that, 
in some cases, native species are better adapted and perform better 
than introduced species. Since 2001, the joint Native Species 
Reforestation Project between the Smithsonian Tropical Research 
Institute and the Yale School of Forestry has conducted ongoing 
research on trees native to Panama. The almendro tree, which is vital 
to the great green macaw's habitat, has been the subject of research 
projects in Panama because of its high commercial value (Schmidt 2009, 
p. 17). Despite efforts to reduce deforestation activities, management 
problems remain. A study conducted in 2004 suggested that the Forestry 
Department needs increased autonomy, funding, and staff, and a more 
appropriate mandate (Parker et al. 2004, pp. 10-11). The study 
suggested that strengthening the Parks and Wildlife Service through 
increased staffing and resources would enable them to protect and 
manage protected areas (Parker et al. 2004, pp. 10-11).
    In summary, Panama has a suite of environmental laws in place, and 
conservation measures are being implemented by the government in 
collaboration with some NGOs. However, there is very little information 
available about the great green macaw in Panama (Monge et al. 2009, p. 
68), and the information indicates that this species continues to face 
pressures to its habitat. Despite Panama's participation in 
conservation initiatives and Panama's regulatory mechanisms in place, 
there are still significant pressures for resources in the great green 
macaw's habitat.

International Wildlife Trade (CITES)

    The CITES Treaty requires Parties to have adequate legislation in 
place for its implementation. A complete discussion on CITES is found 
under Factor D for the military macaw. Within the recent past (since 
2000), 261 live great green macaws were reported to have been imported 
by CITES reporting countries, and none of these live specimens were 
reported as wild origin (UNEP-WCMC CITES Trade Database, accessed 
December 8, 2011). Under CITES

[[Page 40216]]

Resolution Conference 8.4 (revised at CoP15), and related decisions of 
the Conference of the Parties, the National Legislation Project 
evaluates whether Parties have adequate domestic legislation to 
successfully implement the Treaty (CITES 2011a). In reviewing a 
country's national legislation, the CITES Secretariat evaluates factors 
such as whether or not a Party:
     Has domestic laws that prohibit trade contrary to the 
requirements of the Convention;
     Has penalty provisions in place for illegal trade, and has 
designated the responsible Scientific and Management Authorities; and
     Provides for seizure of specimens that are illegally 
traded or possessed.
    The CITES Secretariat determined that the legislations of Colombia, 
Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama are sufficient to properly 
implement the Treaty (http://www.cites.org, SC58 Doc. 18 Annex 1, p. 
1). These governments were determined to be in Category 1, which means 
they meet all the requirements to implement CITES. Ecuador was 
determined to be in Category 2, with a draft plan, but not enacted 
(http://www.cites.org, SC59 Document 11, Annex p. 1, accessed December 
16, 2011). This means the CITES Secretariat determined that the 
legislation of Ecuador meets some, but not all, of the requirements for 
implementing CITES. Based on the limited amount of reported 
international trade for this species, particularly in wild-caught 
specimens, the range countries, including Ecuador, have effectively 
controlled legal international trade of this species. Therefore, we 
find CITES is an adequate regulatory mechanism.

Summary of Factor D

    In the range countries for this species, we recognize that 
conservation activities are occurring, and each country has enacted 
laws with the intent of protecting its species and habitat. For 
example, in 2002, the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor, an area of 
60,000 ha (148,263 ac), was implemented to protect the nesting places 
and migration flyway of the great green macaw in Costa Rica, as far as 
the Nicaragua border, where very little is known about the species. 
However, most of the suitable habitat is restricted to protected areas 
in clustered locations. Oliveira et al. found that forests in 
conservation units were four times better at protecting against 
deforestation than unprotected areas (Oliveira et al. 2007, p. 1,235). 
Despite regulatory mechanisms established by this species' range 
countries and despite the species' existence in areas designated as 
protected, this species has experienced threats such that its 
populations are now so small that any pressure has a more significant 
effect. Parks, without management, are often insufficient to adequately 
protect the species. The information available with respect to the 
species' population numbers is extremely limited in its range 
countries, and the populations of this species in these countries all 
likely range from a few individuals to a few hundred individuals 
(Botero-Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 91; Monge et al. 2010, p. 
22; Monge et al. 2009). The populations are all in relatively 
disconnected areas. Its suitable habitat has been severely constricted 
due to deforestation. In all of the range countries, there is clear 
evidence of threats to this species due to activities such as habitat 
destruction and degradation, and poaching, and there is decreased 
viability due to small population sizes, despite the laws and 
regulatory mechanisms in place. Given that the species' habitat 
continues to be fragmented and degraded, it is unlikely that any 
conservation measures are adequately mitigating the factors currently 
acting on the species.
    Based on the best available information, despite protections in 
place by the respective governments, we find that the existing 
regulatory mechanisms are either inadequate or inadequately enforced to 
protect the species or to mitigate ongoing habitat loss and 
degradation, poaching, and severe population declines. Habitat 
conservation measures within these range countries do not appear to be 
sufficient to adequately mitigate future habitat losses. This is due to 
a suite of factors, such as high rates of poverty in the range of the 
great green macaw and subsequent pressures for resources, and 
conflicting management goals (such as economic development and 
protection of its resources) of its range countries. Therefore, we find 
that the existing regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to mitigate the 
current threats to the continued existence of the great green macaw 
throughout its range.
E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued Existence

Small Population Size and Stochastic Events

    There have been few quantitative studies of great green macaw 
populations (Botero-Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 91; Monge et 
al. 2010, p. 12; Monge et al. 2009.). In 2009, the combined estimate 
for Costa Rica and Nicaragua was 871 individuals (Monge et al. 2010, p. 
21), and the estimate for Ecuador was fewer than 100 (Horstman 2011, p. 
17). There are no current population estimates for Panama, Honduras, 
and Colombia, but the global population is believed to be fewer than 
3,700 individuals (Monge et al. 2009, pp. 68, 79, 213). Small, 
declining populations can be especially vulnerable to environmental 
disturbances such as habitat loss (Harris and Pimm 2008, pp. 163-164; 
O'Grady 2004, pp. 513-514; Brooks et al. 1999, pp. 1,146-1,147). In 
Costa Rica, the great green macaw has been eliminated from 
approximately 90 percent of its former range, and one estimate 
indicated that there were only 275 birds remaining in 2010 (Chassot 
2010 pers. comm. in Hardman 2010, p. 11). Isolated populations are more 
likely to decline than those that are not isolated (Davies et al. 2000, 
p. 1456), as evidenced by the Ecuadorian population. Additionally, the 
great green macaw's restricted range, combined with its small 
population size and low prospect for dispersal (Chosset et al. 2004, p. 
32), makes the species particularly vulnerable to the threat of any 
adverse natural (e.g., genetic, demographic, or stochastic) and manmade 
(e.g., habitat alteration and destruction) events that could destroy 
individuals and their habitats.
    The government of Costa Rica, in cooperation with Zoo Ave Wildlife 
Conservation Park, located in Garita de Alajuela, has participated in a 
captive bird breeding program (Herrero 2006, pp. 2-3) since 1994. Some 
of the birds produced have been released in protected areas. However, 
captive breeding is a controversial issue, mainly due to the 
reintroduction of individuals. One of the concerns is that the 
reintroduced birds introduce infectious diseases (which may be in 
dormant phase for a period of time) into the wild (Brightsmith et al. 
2006 in Herrero 2006, pp. 2-3).
    There are multiple features of this species' biology and life 
history that affect its ability to respond to habitat loss and 
alteration, as well as to stochastic environmental events. Due to its 
current restricted distribution and habitat requirements, stochastic 
events could further isolate individuals. An example of a stochastic 
event impacting the species occurred in 2010, and the death of several 
nestlings was recorded (Chosset and Arias 2010, p. 15). One nestling 
fell out of a tree, and, in another case, a branch fell on a nestling 
while it was actually in the nest and it died (Chosset and Arias 2010, 
p. 15). Losses such as these can have a significant effect on the 
population. Additionally, limited available suitable

[[Page 40217]]

habitat makes it difficult for the species to recolonize isolated 
habitat patches, which presently exist in a highly fragmented state. 
This, in combination with the species' nutritional needs, results in 
the species requiring large home ranges.

Border Conflict

    One of the difficulties in the conservation of this species that 
may not be readily apparent is border conflict. For example, at the 
border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, despite cooperation efforts; 
conflict continues (U.S. Department of State 2012, unpaginated; Berrios 
2004, entire). The Nicaraguan-Costa Rican border is one of the most 
conflict-heavy frontiers in Central America (Lopez and Jimenez 2007, p. 
21). Migration issues, navigation rights in border rivers, border 
delineation, and cultural differences all affect these countries' 
relations (Lopez and Jimenez 2007, p. 21). Additionally, this area has 
historically experienced exploitation of its natural resources. Since 
the beginning of last century, foreign companies have engaged in 
logging, rubber extraction, and mining (Lopez and Jimenez 2007, pp. 24-
25). After these resources were depleted and these activities were no 
longer profitable, some companies left, leaving behind harmful 
environmental impacts (Lopez and Jimenez 2007, pp. 24-25). These 
activities have resulted in polluted rivers, high levels of 
sedimentation in coastal lagoons, and deforested areas (Lopez and 
Jimenez 2007, pp. 24-25). These activities all subsequently affect the 
habitat of the great green macaw.
    Deforestation in Nicaragua has a complex history. After a civil war 
throughout the 1980s, land tenure policies inadvertently encouraged 
farming techniques that led to deforestation, soil erosion, and general 
land degradation (Sinreich 2009, p. 11). Later, during the 1990s, 
COHDEFOR opened up timber extraction opportunities to local community 
organizations, mainly cooperatives, to help mitigate the economic 
situation for local people. Licenses allowed the use of fallen wood and 
timber extraction for sale at local markets. However, a study conducted 
between 1998 and 2000 found that local groups had extracted an enormous 
amount of timber and there was no monitoring (Col[iacute]ndres and 
Rub[iacute] 2002). During the period of 1994-1999, although the 
government offered support to communities in its border regions, 
tensions continue to affect the Bosawas region of Nicaragua, one of the 
areas believed to contain a great green macaw population (Lopez and 
Jim[eacute]nez 2007, p. 26). Land rights disputes continue to occur in 
Bosawas, and land use rights are often unclear. Although the government 
of Nicaragua is attempting to manage these issues (Pellegrini 2011, pp. 
21), conflict and practices that degrade the great green macaw's 
habitat persist both in the Bosawas Reserve and the Indio-Ma[iacute]z 
Biological Reserve.

Climate Change

    Our analysis under the ESA includes consideration of ongoing and 
projected changes in climate (see discussion under the military macaw). 
The 2008 workshop in Costa Rica addressed environmental disasters in 
the evaluation and assessment of the great green macaw, although 
climate change was not specifically addressed. Researchers described 
environmental disasters as events that occur infrequently but that can 
drastically affect reproduction or survival. Monge et al. reported that 
in Costa Rica, the number of active nests in 2000 was well below the 
average of other years. The researchers linked this with the strong El 
Ni[ntilde]o event that occurred during 1997-1998 (Monge et al. 2009, p. 
149). The researchers stated that in the last 50 years there were two 
major El Ni[ntilde]o events, and, therefore, one would expect that in 
100 years there would be four events of this nature, which could 
subsequently reduce reproduction by 30 percent (Monge et al. 2009, p. 
149). However, this correlation between the low number of active nests 
and the El Ni[ntilde]o event is not strongly supported, nor do we have 
supporting evidence that this is directly related to climate change. We 
are not aware of any information that indicates that climate change 
threatens the continued existence of the great green macaw.

Summary of Factor E

    A species may be affected by more than one threat. Impacts 
typically operate synergistically, and are particularly evident when 
small populations of a species are decreasing. Initial effects of one 
threat factor can exacerbate the effects of other threat factors 
(Laurance and Useche 2009, p. 1432; Gilpin and Soul[eacute] 1986, pp. 
25-26). Further fragmentation of populations can decrease the fitness 
and reproductive potential of the species, which can exacerbate other 
threats. Lack of a sufficient number of individuals in a local area or 
a decline in their individual or collective fitness may cause a decline 
in the population size, even with suitable habitat patches. Within the 
preceding review of the five factors, we have identified multiple 
threats that have interrelated impacts on this species. Thus, the 
species' productivity may be reduced because of any of these threats, 
either singularly or in combination. These threats occur at a 
sufficient scale such that they are affecting the status of the species 
now and in the future.
    This species' current range is highly restricted and severely 
fragmented. Each breeding pair requires a large home range to meet its 
nutritional requirements; it is a large macaw, and its sources of food 
are becoming scarcer and farther apart, which requires more energy 
consumption to locate. The susceptibility to extirpation of limited-
range species can occur for a variety of reasons, such as when a 
species' remaining population is already too small or its distribution 
too fragmented such that it may no longer be demographically or 
genetically viable. The species' small and declining population size, 
reproductive and life-history traits, and highly restricted and 
severely fragmented range together increase the species' vulnerability 
to any other stressors. Based on the above evaluation, we conclude that 
the effects of isolation and its small, declining population size, 
combined with the threats of continued fragmentation and isolation of 
suitable forest habitats, pose a threat to the great green macaw.

Finding and Status Determination for the Great Green Macaw

    Although precise quantitative estimates are not available, the best 
available information suggests that populations of great green macaws 
have substantially declined, and this species likely persists at 
greatly reduced numbers relative to its historical abundance. The 
factors that threaten the survival of the great green macaw are: (1) 
Habitat destruction, fragmentation, and degradation; (2) poaching; (3) 
inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms to reduce the threats to the 
species; and (4) small population size and isolation of remaining 
populations.
    The direct loss of habitat through widespread deforestation and 
conversion of primary forests to human settlement and agricultural uses 
has led to the fragmentation of habitat throughout the range of the 
great green macaw and isolation of the remaining populations. The 
species has been locally extirpated in many areas and has experienced a 
significant reduction of suitable habitat. The current suitable habitat 
in Costa Rica is now less than 10 percent of its original suitable 
habitat (Chosset et al. 2004, p. 38). This species exists generally in 
small and fragmented populations, and in many cases, the

[[Page 40218]]

population is so small that intense monitoring and management of the 
population is underway. The San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor was 
established to connect forest patches and join 20 protected areas 
(Chosset and Arias 2010, p. 5) specifically to preserve habitat for 
this species.
    We have very little information about the species in many parts of 
its range (Botero-Delgadillo and P[aacute]ez 2011, p. 91; Monge et al. 
2009, p. 68). In 2008, experts from this species' range countries 
attended a conference to evaluate the viability of its populations and 
its habitat (Monge et al. 2009, entire). In general, they concluded 
that populations are viable but they still face threats. The workshop 
also addressed goals for the conservation of the species; in some parts 
of its range, conservation efforts are intensive. Based on our review 
of the best available scientific and commercial information pertaining 
to the five factors, the threats to the species are generally 
consistent throughout its range. In many of the range countries, its 
populations are very small, and specific information about the status 
of the species is not available in all countries. However, habitat loss 
and degradation is prevalent throughout this species' range; its 
suitable habitat has severely contracted, and habitat loss is likely to 
continue into the future due to pressures for resources. Poaching is 
known to occur within many parts, if not all parts, of its range. 
Despite conservation awareness programs, poverty is prevalent within 
the range of the species, and the species is quite valuable 
commercially, so poaching continues to occur. We do not find that the 
effects of current threats acting on the species are being ameliorated 
by regulatory mechanisms . Therefore, we find that listing the great 
green macaw as endangered is warranted throughout its range, and we 
propose to list the great green macaw as endangered under the ESA.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our joint policy with the National Marine 
Fisheries Service, ``Notice of Interagency Cooperative Policy for Peer 
Review in Endangered Species Act Activities,'' published in the Federal 
Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we will seek the expert 
opinions of at least three appropriate independent specialists 
regarding this proposed rule. The purpose of peer review is to ensure 
that our final determination is based on scientifically sound data, 
assumptions, and analyses. 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 our specific assumptions and conclusions 
regarding the proposal to list the military macaw and the great green 
macaw.
    We will consider all comments and information we receive during the 
comment period on this proposed rule during our preparation of a final 
determination. Accordingly, our final decision may differ from this 
proposal.

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the ESA 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 ESA 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 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 ESA. 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 for endangered species are 
codified at 50 CFR 17.22. 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 ESA.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    We have determined that environmental assessments and environmental 
impact statements, as defined under the authority of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), need not be 
prepared in connection with regulations adopted under section 4(a) of 
the ESA. We published a notice outlining our reasons for this 
determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 
49244).

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule does not contain any new collections of 
information that require approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This rule would not impose 
recordkeeping or reporting requirements on State or local governments, 
individuals, businesses, or organizations. An agency may not conduct or 
sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of 
information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

Clarity of the 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 numbers of the sections 
or paragraphs that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences 
are too long, or the sections where you feel lists or tables would be 
useful.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this proposed rule is 
available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or upon request 
from the Branch of Foreign Species, Endangered Species Program, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

[[Page 40219]]

Authors

    The primary authors of this proposed rule are Amy Brisendine and 
Janine Van Norman, 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; Public Law 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise 
noted.

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


Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Species                                                    Vertebrate
--------------------------------------------------------                        population where                                  Critical     Special
                                                            Historic range       endangered or         Status      When listed    habitat       rules
           Common name                Scientific name                              threatened
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
              Birds
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Macaw, great green...............  Ara ambiguus........  Costa Rica,          Entire.............  E                       797           NA           NA
                                                          Honduras,
                                                          Nicaragua, and
                                                          Panama.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Macaw, military..................  Ara militaris.......  Argentina, Bolivia,  Entire.............  E                       797           NA           NA
                                                          Colombia, Ecuador,
                                                          Mexico, Peru,
                                                          Venezuela.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *

    Dated: May 14, 2012.
Rowan W. Gould,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-16492 Filed 7-5-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P