Arriving from Landau Zoo in Germany and Mulhouse Zoo in France, the birds were kept in quarantine for several weeks before being slowly introduced to each other in their new habitat. Staff at the zoo have been keeping a close eye on the new duo and have reported that the love birds are already getting along well, sparking hopes of possible breeding success in the future.
Curator, Andrew Hope explains, "Blue-throated macaws are classed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species with recent estimates suggesting less than 250 remain in their natural habitat in Bolivia. Belfast Zoo has a great reputation for our work with endangered birds. We specialise in cockatoos and have had success at breeding red-tailed and white-tailed black cockatoos.
We hope these stunning new arrivals will prove to be vital additions to the European breeding programme, which is in place to prevent the extinction of these colourful birds. It would be an incredible achievement for the zoo to breed these iconic birds.”
Blue-throated macaws are critically endangered due to the pet trade, loss of habitat and hunting and face a high risk of extinction in the wild. As part of traditional Bolivian Machetro dance, a headdress is worn and 10% of this is made up of feathers from blue-throated macaws.
Other recent new additions to the zoo also include the birth of a critically endangered eastern baby bongo named Nollaig, which is Irish for Christmas, as well as an endangered Fiji banded iguana which hatched in early January.
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Belfast Zoo is currently closed to the public until further notice. Read the latest closure updates.