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What does it take to protect the Critically Endangered Blue-throated Macaw and its Llanos de Moxos habitat? Our periodic reports shine light on all that is involved in understanding the species, protecting and improving the ecosystem, finding balance with human activities, working towards environmental and economic sustainability, and adjusting the new challenges each year brings.  These reports are a testament to the progress that has been made and outline the new goals that are set, keeping all who are interested up-to-date on what goes on at Barba Azul Nature Reserve.

Barba Azul Nature Reserve Annual Report 2023

This year, Barba Azul Nature Reserve faced formidable challenges in protecting the Blue-throated Macaw habitat from intensified wildfires due to an unusually strong and prolonged dry season influenced by El Niño. Notably, no fires spread within the reserve, showcasing the effectiveness of our strategic firebreak maintenance and rapid response efforts, stopping two natural lightning fires. A peak of 139 Blue-throated Macaws was observed during September night roost. While this year’s shorebird survey team documented 11 migratory shorebirds, they observed a decline in migrating Buff-breasted Sandpipers, attributed to the impact of this El Niño-induced drought.

Read the full 2023 Annual Report 

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – Annual Report 2022 

We counted the highest number of Blue-throated Macaws ever, 228 individuals registered at one single roosting site. Also, the first record of the rare Bush Dog was made in our mature tall grass savanna, as well as camera trap images of a Jaguar. We received the highest number of visitors this year with 69 staying at Barba Azul. A record number of 3,871 Watch List Buff-breasted Sandpipers were found during our monitoring program. We protected the most important foraging forest for the Macaws from fire and improved our existing 45 km/28 miles firebreak system with an additional 12 km/7 miles of new firebreaks. For the first time ever, we created an experimental patch burn plot of 25 hectares/61 acres to improve habitat diversity for grassland species and to decrease the risk of fire reaching the forest. Barba Azul’s low-impact model ranch located in the eastern part of Barba Azul increased to 714 cattle, 60% of our goal and a 10% increase in comparison to 2021.

Read the full 2022 Annual Report

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – Annual Report 2021 

It has been a year full of activities for our new team at Barba Azul Nature Reserve. We completed protection and development activities, including firebreak construction, perimeter fencing and Motacú Palm restoration through exclusion zone creation. Our low impact model ranch sustainability project only at the eastern area of Barba Azul increased to a total of 617 cattle, 50% of our goal. The highest count ever of over 1,500 Buff-breasted Sandpipers was recorded roosting in a single day during our monitoring program. Long-term grassland conservation has been rewarded with the arrival of the Endangered Ibera Seedeater observed now two years in a row. 

Read the full 2021 Annual Report»

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – September 2021 update report

There is lots of news – about improved fire protection in the Reserve, monitoring activities of both the Blue-throated Macaw and the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, and plans for upcoming improvements for conservation.

Read the full September 2021 Update Report»

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – May 2021 update report

Barba Azul Nature Reserve started 2021 with new staff. Staff received a 10-day
training course in Barba Azul on reserve management, patrols, monitoring and tourism attendance.
Camera traps were placed and large experimental enclosures were installed in Cerrado habitat to
study large mammal habitat impact. Blue-throated Macaw monitoring showed the arrival of the
macaws in March with successfully fledged chicks.

Read the full May 2021 Update Report»

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – Annual Report 2020

2020 has been unexpected no doubt, but good things have happened at Barba Azul! The Reserve was declared a Private Natural Heritage Reserve – a huge win for conservation that had been a decade in coming. The completion of solar panel installation providing 24/7 electricity; the increase of our eco-friendly cattle herd, exciting animal sightings, additional nest boxes…there is so much in this report, you just have to read it!

Read the full 2020 Annual Report»

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – May 2020 update report

While 2020 has brought unexpected events, there has been plenty of good news at Barba Azul. February, March, and April all experienced highest-ever counts of Blue-throated Macaws for the month. Expeditions in February and March led to 10 nest discoveries, three previously-unknown breeding site discoveries, 100 macaws present in the rainy season, and a clearer understanding of breeding requirements.

Read the full May 2020 Update Report»

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – Annual Report 2019

It has been a spectacular year for Barba Azul Nature Reserve. Conservation strategies have been validated by results: overall numbers of large predators increased, with 5 species seeing populations more than double over three years. Blue-throated Macaws were both attracted to set up house in nest boxes and successfully monitored using satellite telemetry tracking. Tourism infrastructure was completed after five years of effort. A new conservation ranching initiative was implemented and has quickly shown positive outcomes. 

Read the full 2019 Annual Report»

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – July 2019 update report

It would be too early to sing victory, but while wildfires rage Bolivia, our improved firebreaks at Barba Azul Nature Reserve seem to prevent fires entering the reserve! We also have other exctiting news for 2019. Three pairs of Blue-throated Macaws were observed investigating our newly placed nestboxes, and were seen exploring the cavities, chasing each other from the boxes. The construction of new eco-tourism facilities is advancing fast too.

Read the full July 2019 update report»

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – Annual Report 2018

Barba Azul Nature Reserve is completing the long-awaited dining facility supported by American Bird Conservancy and International Conservation Fund of Canada, one of the remaining infrastructure constructions needed to complete our tourism offer. It is located looking over the beautiful Omi River and constructed as a traditional “maloca” to keep temperatures pleasantly cool even in the hot Beni savanna ecosystem.

Read the full Annual Report 2018»

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – May Update Report 2018

The annual rainy season (November to March) flooding of the Beni savanna tall-grass in the Barba Azul Nature Reserve is an important phenomenon of this unique ecosystem. This is also the time that the macaws return to Barba Azul in small groups, often pairs with juveniles. The first Blue-throated Macaws arrived on the 20th of February.

Read the full May Update Report 2018»

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – Annual Report 2017

Not only was 2017 highlighted with the discovery of the unknown breeding grounds of the northwestern Blue-throated Macaw subpopulation, we also recorded the highest ever count of 155 Blue-throated Macaws at the Barba Azul Nature Reserve roost. The increasing presence of high numbers of Blue-throated Macaws, make Barba Azul the most important site for conservation and ecotourism for this Critically Endangered species.

Read the full 2017 Annual Report»

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – August Update Report 2017

The start of the 2017 Blue-throated Macaw conservation season is highlighted by the discovery of the natural breeding grounds of the Macaws. We finally have a better idea where the Barba Azul Nature Reserve Macaws migrate during their wet season breeding period. In March, the first big groups of Macaws returned to Barba Azul and where we recorded at least 10 juveniles. We are pleased to know that the birds are reproducing successfully and find their save haven back in Barba Azul during the dry season.
Read the full 2017 August Update Report»

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – Annual Report 2016

Read the full 2016 Annual Report»

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – November Update Report 2016

The start of the wet season also is accompanied with the local migration of Blue-throated Macaws to their wet-season breeding grounds. The Barba Azul Nature Reserve had the highest ever count of Blue-throated Macaws in the Beni. An impressive number of 118 individuals were counted, presenting approximately half of the entire population, dependant on the reserve to forage and roost during the wet season.
Read the full 2016 November Update Report»

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – August Update Report 2016

Barba Azul Nature Reserve finds itself in the heart of the 2016 dry season in the Beni savanna of Bolivia, already marked as one of the driest in decades given the lingering impacts of the “El Nino”. This results in excessive burning of natural pasture lands to ensure the re-sprouting of grasses all throughout the Beni, Santa Cruz and La Paz Department, threatening local ecosystems and adding greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. These fires are a direct threat to the Barba Azul Nature Reserve and extra protection measures have to be undertaken.
Read the full 2016 August Update Report»

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – May Update Report 2016

November marks the start of the Bolivian rainy season which is accompanied with heavy rainfall in January, February and March. The El Nino of 2016 was recorded as one of the hottest in human record. It made this year’s wet season very unpredictable with heavy rainfall in October and very few rain storms in the heart of the rainy season.
Read the full 2016 May Update Report»

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – Annual Report 2015

Ground level management has been radically improved through the purchase of a new John Deere tractor. After the Armonía tractor arrived at the Barba Azul Nature Reserve in July, it proved itself completely indispensable. In a time span of half a year we were able to complete large protection and maintenance projects that before were seen as being painstakingly troublesome.
Read the full 2015  Annual Update Report »

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – November Update Report 2015

August to November is the main period of the dry season where much of the heavy work needs to be done. Heavy materials like fencing posts and timber for window frames have been transported to Barba Azul. In this period also the hard physical work has to be done like creating fire-breaks, large trail systems and runway maintenance with the great help of our newly purchased tractor.
Read the full 2015  November Update Report »

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – August Update Report 2015

This period will always as the point where we were finally able to properly manage the Barba Azul Nature Reserve- and it is all thanks to that green and yellow beauty. We will forever be thankful for the support of American Bird Conservancy and International Conservation Fund of Canada for making a non-sexy priority become a reality.
Read the full 2015  August Update Report »

Barba Azul Nature Reserve – June Update Report 2105

February to April in Bolivia are the heavy rainy season months where a lot of activities are stalled because of poor roads (read mud), strong rains, and flooding. This is also when the Bluethroated Macaw breeds, which complicates things. This year was a more typical flooding season in the Beni, without exaggerated flooding, but the rainy season appears to be extending. This will mean heavy truck usage might not be possible until July.
Read the full 2015 June Update Report »

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