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The macaw is a tropical bird species known for its vibrant coloring. This species, which is similar to the parrot, also has a surprisingly long lifespan, which can range from 30 to 80 years. Some factors that influence the macaw's lifespan include diet, environment, and exposure to parasites and diseases. Macaws in the wild tend to live relatively short lives, and are highly endangered in many parts of the world. The lifespan of these wild macaws is largely affected by habitat destruction, climate change and threats from poachers or predators.
Exposure to unfamiliar diseases can greatly affect the macaw's lifespan. When a macaw is removed from his natural environment, he is often exposed to diseases for which he has no natural immunity. These diseases can come from both humans and animals, and are a major threat to pet macaws. While proper medical care and effective sanitation can help protect the macaw from disease, these birds are still vulnerable despite the best efforts of their owners.
In the wild, a macaw's lifespan can also be impacted by predators. This includes both natural predators, like snakes, as well as human poachers. Poaching has become such a serious problem in South America that the macaw has become the third most commonly smuggled item, after drugs and weapons. Poaching and predators not only take the life of the macaw, but may interrupt the reproduction process of disturbing his eggs or nest, resulting in a smaller population over time.
The macaw's lifespan is also affected by habitat encroachment. As the global population grows, people continuously clear land for housing, agriculture and other functions. In the tropical areas where macaws live, slash and burn farming, logging, and mining have significantly impacted the natural habitat of the macaw and other species. This prevents these birds from accessing their normal food supply, and may also leave them without an appropriate nesting ground for reproduction. Changes to the land and global climate change have also impacted the macaw's lifespan and his ability to reproduce successfully.
Even seemingly minor factors can have an impact of the macaw's lifespan. Just like humans, macaws can be negatively effected by pollution and chemicals. Captive macaws who are fed an unhealthy diet generally don't live as long as those fed a more natural, healthy diet. A diet rich in fats and human foods can be particularly harmful to the macaw, and can greatly reduce his chance of living a long life.