In the animated film “Rio,” a Spix’s Macaw named Blu flies all the way from Minnesota to Rio de Janeiro because he’s the last living male of his species and that’s where Jewel, the last living female, lives. Blu and Jewel ultimately fall in love, have a baby and the movie ends happily – with the hope that the literal lovebirds can save their species. In the real world, however, Blu would’ve been too late.
A new study by BirdLife International, a global partnership of conservation organizations that strive to conserve bird species around the world, reveals that in recent years several bird species have lost their fight for survival. And sadly, one of those species is the beautiful Spix’s Macaw. The species is now considered extinct in the wild, although some of the birds survive in breeding programs.
While the vast majority of bird extinctions in recent centuries have occurred on isolated islands, five of the eight highlighted by this study occurred in South America – four in Brazil alone – a tragic statement on the impact of deforestation in that part of the world.