In 2011, 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios introduced "Rio", which was directed by Brazillian-born filmmaker, Carlos Saldanha ("Ice Age: The Meltdown", and "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs). The film focuses on a domesticated spix macaw named Blu, who is sent to Rio De Janerio to mate with Jewel, the last female of his kind after learning that he was the last adult male of this endangered species of bird. However, the plight of the spix macaw is far beyond a classic Hollywood love story,for it's a real life conservation effort that has not been well known until the film's release even though a TV documentary produced by PBS in 2008 did a profile on them in a five minute segway on their plight, as well as the efforts of a Middle Eastern zoological facility to breed them in captivity in hopes to one day release them back in the wild in five years.
As of 2000, Brazillian scientists have declared the Spix macaw to be "extinct in the wild", due to years of habitat loss and illegal trapping by poachers in northeastern Brazil, where they were once found. Many of these trappings were for pet trapes in Eruope and Southeastern Asia where the birds were valued for their beauty. Meanwhile, the only living population of these endangered blue birds that are left in the world are the 83 animals that have been kept alive at five zoos in four countries.
On a side note, it's reported that Saldanha based the main character Blu off a domesticated spix macaw that lived with a Colorado family until 2002 when the family had him transfered to the Lymington Foundation in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
I believe that Mr. Saldanha does in fact have the power to make the return of the spix macaws to the forests of Brazil a reality by establishing a bird sancuary in Rio, or elsewhere if it's possible that would serve as a sanctuary for spix macaws that may one day be released in habitat that is owned by the Qatar-based Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation Reserve in northeastern Brazil. In addition, he can even build an aviary that could serve as a hospital for sick, injured and orphaned birds. If that cannot happen, then he should consider volunteering his time in Brazil and work with organizations that currently work to save endagnered and threatned birds over there if he has the chance to do so. This has been sighted with his visit to Loro Parque in Spain where he met bird experts that were involved in conservation efforts to save spix macaws and other threatned aviary speices while he was promoting Rio in 2011.
In the end, "Rio" ended up inspiring millions of people to know, love, and care about spix macaws because of it's message of perservation of endangered species and their ever shrinking habitats though it's time for the man behind this beloved film to do his part in helping these now world-famous "blue macaws".
Information on the plight of the Spix Macaw: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsKH49L6dh0
Segment on Spix Macaws in 2008 PBS Documentary (which starts at 19:02): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clujFe47_Ak&feature=related
Loro Parque's efforts to breed the spix macaw colony in their care and future plans for the endangered birds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaY-2MtoaEc&feature=related
- Director of "Rio" and co-founder of Blue Sky Studios
Hello there Mr. Saldanha
Thank you for bringing awareness to the critically endangered spix macaws with your 2011 blockbuster "Rio". As of 2000, these beautiful birds which have been made famous by your film has been declared by Brazilian scientists to be possibly "extinct in the wild" due to years of poaching for foreign pet trades and habitat loss in their northeastern Brazil range with 83 of these rare animals currently be kept in captivity in four countries (Qatar, Brazil, Germany, and Spain).
We believe that you should consider to do more to save and protect spix macaws and other endangered birds by establishing a bird sanctuary and aviary rehabilitation facility in Brazil. The ideal sanctuary and rehabilitation facility would not only serve as a home to animals that may one day be released back into the wild, but also, serve as a rehabilitation center for sick, injured, and orphaned birds who are in need of being rescued and rehabilitated. Meanwhile, the non-releasable animals that have been rescued by the facility can serve as ambassadors to their species.
If you don't think that this possible, then you should consider to volunteering your time working with organizations that aim at saving endangered and threatened birds and their habitats. At the same time if you choose to take this path, then, you could educate the Brazilian public about conservation and the importance of protecting endangered species and their habitats at the same time.
Anyways, thank you once again for bringing awareness to saving endangered birds in Brazil with your 2011 film.
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