The Controversial Return of the Extinct Little Blue Macaw

The Controversial Return of the Extinct Little Blue Macaw
Image by Martin Kukla from Pixabay

Who hasn’t seen the adorable animated movie Rio? The one about the blue macaw parrot named Blu, who flies to Rio de Janeiro to meet the last living female of his species, Jewel. Eventually, they meet, fall in love, reproduce, and save their species from extinction.

Unfortunately, this is not how the story unfolds in real life. Did you know that in the previous 250 years, 571 species have been confirmed extinct? The little blue macaw parrot, also known as the Spix’s macaw, has been extinct in the wild since 2000. 

The main reason for the extinction was mass deforestation, which led to them losing their natural habitat. 

The little blue macaw is native to Brazil, which is a problematic area in this regard. According to BBC News, a total of 4,281 sq miles of rainforest disappeared from 2019 to 2020.

Did you know that tropical rainforests are home to half of the world’s plants and animals? If we are not mindful of our lifestyle and habits, there will be severe consequences on various plant and animal species worldwide. 

The good news is that 52 little blue macaw parrots who were bred in captivity were brought back to Brazil in hopes of being reintroduced into the wild in the near future. Those were 26 males and 26 females. 

The return is possible thanks to the German-based Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP). However, there’s a controversy surrounding ACTP due to the lack of transparency regarding the funding.

Martin Guth, the founder of ACTP, has been under investigation due to possible involvement with the illegal wildlife trade. There are also accusations of laundering money for European organized crime. 

Upon digging further, reporters found that Guth has spent time in prison for kidnapping and extortion. Guth responded only by saying he prefers to keep his personal life and his projects separate from each other.

The troubling question comes down to whether we should turn our back on who breeds and reintroduces these birds. Or should we ask more questions about the motives behind the organizations that do so?

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