There are no more blue macaws in the wild, making me hate humans even more.
A report from CNN detailed the extinction from the rainforests of the spectacular Spix’s macaw, which inspired the 20th Century Fox movie Rio, about a rather neurotic blue macaw stolen from his home in Brazil and ending up in Minnesota.
One of eight bird species, half of them in Brazil, the Spix’s macaw was confirmed extinct or suspected extinct according to the report from BirdLife International, citing deforestation of their habitat as the main culprit.
The study added that for the first time, extinctions on the mainland are outpacing those on the islands.
“Ninety percent of bird extinctions in recent centuries have been of species on islands,” said Stuart Butchart, BirdLife’s chief scientist and the paper’s lead author.
“However, our results confirm that there is a growing wave of extinctions sweeping across the continents, driven mainly by habitat loss and degradation from unsustainable agriculture and logging.”
The extinction occurs when animals do not have places to roost and raise their young; or some are killed in the process while clearing out trees.
CNN added that in the 2011 song-laden movie, Blu the male macaw is sent all the way back to Brazil along with his owner from Minnesota to try and repopulate their species with the last female of their kind, Jewel.
But with recent data, the movie is estimated to be “11 years too late,” according to CNN, because Jewel would have been dead in 2000.
But while it’s dismal information for conservationists (and all other animals in the rainforest’s food chain disrupted by the absence of these macaws, really) there is still a small measure of hope: there are still some of the brilliant blue birds alive in captivity.
The report found that there are still 60 to 80 Spix’s macaws alive in captivity scattered all over the world.