Monday, July 21, 2014

One of Two Rare Blue Parrots That Inspired 'Rio' Dies

Presley, a 40-year old blue Spix's macaw, passed away last month, leaving just one "wild-borne" left in existence.

While there's been no official confirmation from the film's producer s Blue Sky Studios, Presley is believed to have inspired the 2011 computer-animated musical-adventure comedy "Rio."

In the movie Rio, the macaw travels back to his hometown of Brazil to search for the other remaining blue Spix's macaw, which happens to be a female of course! The film's director Carlos Saldanha stated he hoped Rio would draw attention to the importance of parrot conservation efforts. Rio received generally favorable reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 72% rating based on 142 reviews.

Presley was discovered in the early 1970s after being smuggled from Brazil to Colorado. The parrot refuge and breeding facility Lymington Foundation purchased Presley, taking him under their wing (pun intended).

Current estimates suggest that there are around 100 of blue Spix's macaws in various refuges and bird shelters throughout the world. Presley, however, was one of two wild-borne blue Spix's macaws. The species' dwindling numbers is a warning sign that extinction may come if conservation efforts are not taken. Reports suggest the last sighting of a blue Spix's macaw occurred back in 2000 -- nearly a decade and a half ago.

According to Doha News, artificial insemination could help the threatened species propagate and their population numbers improve. With such a low number of blue Spix's macaws left in existence, however, conservationist must use caution to ensure they aren't promoting breeding within family lines.

So, what's to blame for the ever-dwindling population numbers of the blue Spix's macaw? Several factors are to blame, the most damaging being deforestation. Brazil is constantly eating away at its rich tropical landscape. Unfortunately, this landscape is the home of a number of rare animals, including dozens of threatened parrot species such as the blue Spix's macaw.

Another element that's contributed to the species' decline is the presence of honeybees taking over its habitat. As the honeybees continue to disperse and percolate into new areas, parrots and other birds are forced out of their homes.
"To us, Presley is a symbol of the best and worst in mankind," read a statement announcing the blue Spix's macaw’s death from the foundation. "The love, care, concern and effort to help and preserve [on one side], with the greed, selfishness, and lack of concern for the animal world on the other side."

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