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Thread: To Help a Rare Brazilian Parrot, Start With a Crossbow and Rappelling Beekeepers

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    Post To Help a Rare Brazilian Parrot, Start With a Crossbow and Rappelling Beekeepers

    To Help a Rare Brazilian Parrot, Start With a Crossbow and Rappelling Beekeepers

    A conservation team wanted to know if removing killer bees would make life easier for Learís macaw.

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    MAXIMO CARDOSO HAD NEVER USED a crossbow before, but he was intuitively able to assemble the Barnett Raptor FX, a model typically marketed for deer hunting. The field guide also displayed natural marksmanship. So it was agreed: He would be the one to launch the poison.
    At the base of a sheer rock face amid dry scrub in Bahia, Brazil, decked out in a beekeeping suit, Cardoso took aim at a 45-degree angle, the crossbow loaded with bolts modified to carry glass vials of insecticide. He was targeting small cavities in the red sandstone above that held nests of invasive Africanized honeybees. Depending on the size of the hive and difficulty of shot, it took anywhere from a single bolt to as many as nine for each of 52 hives. Two or three hits usually weakened a hive enough to allow the teamís work to continue.

    Over the following days, the team, with members from five countries, checked the activity of the hives with binoculars and walked the base of the cliff looking for dead bees. If the coast was clear, a pair of expert climbers, also wearing protective bee equipment, rappelled to the cavities from above to inspect them. One used a smoker to pacify the remaining bees while the other further treated the hives with insecticide if necessary. Eventually they were able to chip out the honeycomb by hand, all while dangling several stories in the air


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    https://www.atlasobscura.com/article...he-lears-macaw
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