Blue macaws, one of rarest birds in the world, lost their home in Brazil after a fire broke out in a sanctuary, which housed 15% of their global population.

São Francisco do Perigara, a cattle ranch and bird sanctuary spanning over 61,000 acres in Mato Grosso state, was home to between 700 and 1,000 blue macaws. The fire, which has been raging on since Aug. 1, has reportedly wiped out more than 70% of the farm's vegetation, and the well-being of the birds is now in doubt.

"It is an unprecedented disaster," Ana Maria Barreto, the owner of the ranch, told CNN. "It is very sad to see decades of my family work, years taking care and preserving nature, for this to happen."

A study published in 2018 in Birdlife International, a global partnership of conservation organizations that aim to conserve bird species around the world, revealed the blue macaws lost their fight for survival and had gone extinct in the wild. A few, however, survived through breeding programs.

According to Arara Azul Institute, which advocates for environmental conservation, the total world tally of blue macaws now stands at 6,500 birds. Neiva Guedes, president of the institute, told CNN most of the birds may have winged their way to a safer location, but will possibly face food scarcity upon returning.

"They can manage to escape fires because they fly, but soon they will run out of food, and that is what we think will affect them most," Guedes said.

Blue macaws survive on fruits and nuts, which would have burned due to the forest fire, Guedes said.

Fire officials said although they managed to contain the fire near the macaws' nesting areas, there still looms a fear of re-ignition amid the existing high temperature and parched conditions. "Every day is a surprise," Mato Grosso do Sul Fire Department Sergeant Rogério Perdigão told CNN. "We cannot say that we won, because that is not how it works, but we will continue the battle."

The sanctuary is located in Pantanal, between Brazil's two states -- Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. Consisting of more than 37 million acres, the conservation facility is recognized by UNESCO for its rich biodiversity. The surrounding area, however, has repeatedly been the target of fires intending to clear trees and create pasture land.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree banning fires in Pantanal for 120 days following pressures from international investors calling for a crackdown on the destruction, threatening to divest from Brazilian companies otherwise, according to an August report by CNN. However, records held by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research show there were 3,121 reported fires in the region in the first two weeks of August, up from a total 1,690 for the entire month in the previous year.

An illegal fire set by a farmer to clear his land spreads through the Amazon rainforest in Para state An illegal fire set by a farmer to clear his land spreads through the Amazon rainforest in Para state Photo: AFPTV / Florian PLAUCHEUR