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Blue Parrot That Inspired The Movie 'Rio' Has Officially Been Declared Extinct In The WIld

The Spix's macaw, or as most would recognize as the parrot from the animated film Rio, heads the list of first bird extinction confirmed this decade. You can read more of this story at Birdlife.org.

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    The Spix's macaw

    real life Spix's Macaw next to Rio movie version
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    This blue parrot achieved onscreen fame in 20th Century Fox's 'Rio,' Blu, a captive-raised Spix's Macaw, arrives in Brazil to mate with the last-known wild member of his species a female named Jewel. But according to our latest paper, Blu was already 11 years too late – Jewel, the last of her kind, likely perished in or around 2000.


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    The cause

    two pairs of blue parrots sitting on branch
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    The Spix's macaw is one of eight bird species, half of them in Brazil, confirmed extinct or suspected extinct in the report from BirdLife International. Deforestation is stated to be the leading cause for the Spix's macaw's disappearance from its natural habitat. 


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    The truth

    two Spix's macaws inside yellow tub
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    According to Stuart Butchart, BirdLife's chief scientist, and the paper's lead author, "Ninety percent of bird extinctions in recent centuries have been of species on islands ... 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."


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    Hope

    two Spix's macaws touching their beaks lovingly
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    A lone sighting in 2016 sparked hope the species may persist in the wild, but it is now suspected to be an escapee from captivity. If so, it is sadly highly unlikely this Blu ever found his Jewel. However, hope still persists for the Spix's. An estimated population of between 60-80 persists in captivity.

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