Rara Avis Consulting, Inc. 


Major Training & Education Projects

1988-2003: Brazil Spix's Macaw Conservation Program. Coordinated and implemented numerous meetings and workshops,  including: 

  • CBSG Spix's Macaw Population and Habitat Viability Analysis (PHVA) Workshop, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (1992): This meeting brought together all of the major participants of the Spix's macaw conservation effort to discuss the conservation strategy, including the fate of the last Spix's macaw left in the wild. This included the Brazilian governmental authorities, Brazilian and international owners of Spix's macaws in captivity, field biologists and representatives of both national and international conservation organizations. 

  • Workshop on the Status and Conservation of the Anodorhynchus sp. in Brazil, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (1992): This workshop was held immediately after the conclusion of the Spix's Macaw PHVA Workshop and focused on the need to establish a recovery program for both the Lear's and the Hyacinth macaws. The outcome of this workshop was the creation of the Brazilian Committee for the Recovery of Anodorhynchus sp. (Lear's and Hyacinth macaws).  

  • 1st Spix's Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) Population Management Workshop and Masterplan Meeting, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA (1994): This meeting was held at the 9th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties of CITES with support of the CITES Secretariat. It brought together Spix's macaw owners and Brazilian governmental representatives to review the status of the global captive population.  The workshop resulted in a number of major pairing recommendations to establish new breeding pairs, involving many international transfers and exchanges.   

  • 2nd Spix's Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) Population Management Workshop and Masterplan Meeting, Houston, Texas, USA (1999): This workshop was hosted by the Houston Zoo and brought together representatives of the Brazilian government, and all of the Spix's macaw owners, as well as advisors and observers representing US avicultural organizations. After a full review of the growing captive population making recommendations for future pairings and potential reintroduction efforts. 

1990-2000: Chair, AZA Brazil Conservation Action Partnership (BCAP). The Conservation Action Partnerships of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) were developed to link zoo-based conservation program with those of range countries. A particular emphasis was placed on promoting conservation in mega-diversity countries such as Brazil. The AZA describes a CAP as "committee designed to help coordinate the conservation and scientific activities of AZA institutions working in specific geographical regions of the world." 

As the Chair of the Brazil Conservation Action Partnership was responsible for the development and implementation of numerous international training and educational programs, staff exchanges, support for field conservation and research. Was responsible for implementing numerous innovative training and conservation initiatives and helping to facilitate the efforts of AZA institutions in Brazilian conservation. 

  • Zoo Biology and Management Course (1997), S„o Paulo, Brazil. This was a two-week intensive course in zoo biology and management designed for directors, curators and managers of zoos in developing countries. The course was developed in collaboration with the Brazilian Zoo Association and the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo Conservation and Research Center (Front Royal, VA). A number of US zoological institutions provided both staff and financial assistance. 

  • Zoo Veterinary Medicine Course, Belo Horizonte, Brazil. This was a one-week training course for zoo veterinarians in developing countries. Dr. Richard Cambre, the former Chief Veterinarian of the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo (Washington, DC) designed the course that included participation from numerous US zoological institutions. Funding for the course was provided by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service International Program Grant and the AZA Brazil Conservation Action Partnership (BCAP), in collaboration with the Brazilian Zoo Association (SZB). 

  • Studbook & Small Population Management Course, Brasilia, Brazil. A one-week course taught by AZA instructors. This course was funded through US Zoos and the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Natural Renewable Resources (IBAMA). This course brought together an invited group of participants who were working with Brazilian endangered species in captivity, to be trained in small population management theory and its applications. It included training in studbook software. 

  • Rural Schoolhouse Program: The rural schoolhouse program was initiated to support the Spix's Macaw Field Program. Funding raised from private donors and zoological organizations to purchase materials for the building of a rural schoolhouse in the region Two schoolhouses have been built and expanded. 

  • Other projects and programs to be listed soon...

Other Completed Projects:

  • 2001: Small Population Management Workshop for Aviculturists, Houston, Texas.  Organized a one-day workshop to provide interest aviculturists with a basic overview of studbooks and small population management for captive-breeding programs. This was a one-day, intensive workshop that combined lectures with a computer lab environment that included basic training in SPARKS (a studbook program), with lectures on genetics and demographics of a population. 

  • 2005: Development of an Introductory Course in Aviculture "Aviculture: the Art & Science of Birdkeeping©" This course was developed over a two year period as a basic introductory course for aviculturists, from the new pet bird owner to the long time bird breeder. It is an full-day, 6-hour lecture course that covers a broad range of topics from the history of aviculture basic avian biology, conservation, legislation, taxonomy, behavior and basic husbandry. A certificate of completion will be awarded to course participants.

  • 2005: "Principles of Small Population Management for the Aviculturist©  Course". This is a 2 hour lecture which describes the importance of managing small populations in captivity, both genetically and demographically, to ensure viable and healthy populations for the future.  This course is designed to provide the private aviculturist with the tools to help them in the management of small populations of birds in captivity.

Current Projects:

  • Aviandata.com website development. This is a major project to provide private sector aviculturists with an information network to establish cooperative for managed captive breeding programs in the private sector based on studbooks and small population management principles. 

  • Other projects include writing on avicultural and conservation topics & the development of more advanced education and training programs  in aviculture. 


© Copyright 2008 Natasha Schischakin  All Rights Reserved


Rara Avis    Consulting, Inc.

Natasha Schischakin

Seminars & Lectures

Rare Bird Notes ...