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Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Real Rio

I've never seen the movie Rio.  I hear plenty about it, however, every time the visitors to our zoo see a macaw or cockatoo.  "There's the bird from Rio!", the parents will exclaim, pointing out a blue-and-gold macaw casually chewing apart its perch. 

Sadly, it is not.  They'll probably never see the bird from Rio.  In another few years, I doubt that anyone will.

The blue birds from Rio are Spix's macaws.  Only about one hundred remain in the world, many a part of a tightly regulated breeding program, with others still likely tucked away in the aviaries of private collectors.  The species has vanished in the wild due to habitat loss and illegal collection for the pet trade.  In recent decades, the invasion of Africanized "Killer" bees, which compete with the macaws for the tree cavities in which they nest, have proven another dire challenge.

While I get a little irate at every bluish psittacine being "Rio" (just like I'm sure aquarists get sick of every red fish being "Nemo"), I do appreciate the sentiment that went into the movie.  Director Carlos Saldanha made the film in part to increase awareness of the plight of the critically endangered bird.  The story is fictional, however, but when reaching and educating the public, sometimes the larger story is the more important part.

While the movie has a happy ending, it's to be seen how the real story will end.

I don't have any Spix's macaw pictures of my own... you'll have to make due with this Hyacinth... or Google.

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