Bye bye birdie: Rio star goes extinct

CBC Kids News
Story by CBC Kids News • 2018-09-07 15:33

Scientists say the bird made famous by the movie Rio is extinct

If you saw the movie Rio, you’ll remember the main characters, Blu and Jewel.

In the film, they are the last known birds of their kind, called the Spix’s macaw.

(20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios/YouTube)

You likely won't ever see a real one in the wild.

That’s because scientists believe this specific bird has gone extinct, along with three others:

What do we know about the Spix’s macaw?

Its scientific name is Cyanopsitta spixii — that’s why it’s called the Spix’s macaw.

According to Stuart Butchart at BirdLife international, for 150 years, no one knew where these birds came from.

They simply lived in captivity, like zoos.

About 30 years ago, the birds were discovered in northern Brazil.

a map showing Canada and Brazil

Over time, they were captured by trappers, who capture rare, wild animals because they are valuable.

The last known Spix’s macaw was seen in 2000, said Butchart.

Why did it go extinct?

Stuart Butchart explained two main causes: habitat loss and degradation.

That means that the area in which the Spix’s macaw lived was destroyed, as farms were built across South America.

Also, the bird was so rare to begin with, people were capturing them and selling them for large sums of money.

Is it really gone forever?

There are still some Spix’s macaws living in captivity, said Stuart Butchart, and there’s a program to try and increase the population.

If it’s successful, they could release them in the wild one day.

Species at risk in Canada:

Three endangered animals: polar bear, beluga whale, plains bison

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