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Mirador Toro Toro

Cover photo: The panoramic view from one of the lookout points located in the Matanseria community.

A traditional Quechua ceremony (Challa) honoring mother nature (Pachamama) kickstarted in June 2023 the construction of two new Red-fronted Macaw observation tourism routes in the Toro Toro Municipality (Potosi). These routes will feature new trails which will include a panoramic lookout to enjoy the amazing scenery, and a bird observatory to see the Red-fronted Macaw up close without disturbing them.

This initiative aims to promote bird tourism and the observation of the Red-fronted Macaw, while directly benefiting economically the local communities for showing visitors the Red-fronted Macaw that is only found in the inter-Andean dry valleys of Bolivia and unfortunately Critically Endangered.

Parabas Frente Roja

Photo: Two Red-fronted Macaws in flight near their nesting area. Aiden Maccormick

The tourism routes were developed by Asociación Armonía in coordination with the local communities, the Toro Toro National Park of the National Service of Protected Areas (SERNAP), and the Toro Toro municipality. This initiative is part of the project “Reducing Poverty and Illegal Trade utilizing Bolivia’s Charismatic Red-fronted Macaw”, funded by the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund from the United Kingdom (IWT).

The two trails, ranging from easy to moderate in difficulty, will be located in the communities of Matanseria and Julo Grande, both within the municipality of Toro Toro. In both circuits, tourists will have the opportunity to admire the Red-fronted Macaw and other bird species found in this fascinating inter-Andean desert-like ecosystem.

The bird observatory, is located in the community of Matanseria, close to “Jala Jala”, one of the most important Red-fronted Macaw nesting sites along the Caine river. From this observation point, visitors will be able to delight the beauty of the macaws, but also learn on how to help protect this highly threatened macaw through provided information. Also, a sculpture in the shape of the Red-fronted Macaw is being created in the community of Julo Grande, measuring 2.80 meters in length and 1.50 meters in height.

In 2021, Armonía conducted a Red-fronted Macaw population census in which they identified approximately 160 nests throughout the species distribution. This Bolivian endemic parrot is only found at four river basins in inter-Andean dry valleys in the heart of Bolivia: Caine, Mizque, Río Grande, and Pilcomayo. It is estimated that the population consists of approximately 1,200 individuals.

Asociación Armonía has been working on Red-fronted Macaw conservation for over 15 years. One of the success stories was the creation of a bird observation lodge located at the Red-fronted Macaw Community Reserve (Cochabamba), where the local communities of San Carlos, Perereta, and Amaya manage tourism. The reserve protects the world’s most important Red-fronted Macaw breeding cliff. The revenue generated from tourism is divided among the three communities and contributes to the sustainability and protection of the area.

Community birdwatching tourism to promote the conservation of the Red-fronted Macaw


Photo: During the traditional Quechua ceremony (Challa) honoring mother nature (Pachamama) in Toro Toro. Maki Carrasco

The birdwatching routes are developed in close collaboration with the local communities. According to Romeo Rojas, Project IWT Coordinator, all the income generated by tourism within this area will be directly allocated to the community members, which will contribute to improving their living conditions.

“This income-generating opportunity will prevent the involvement of local people with wildlife traffickers, and thus, the Red-fronted Macaw population will not experience the pressure of the various threats that put them at high risk of extinction,” stated Rojas.

It is expected that the birding routes will be completed by the end of July. Once finished, the routes will be ready to welcome visitors and provide them with an unforgettable experience in the fascinating world of birdwatching

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