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Blog Posted in avatar   Meghan Laughlin's Blog

College student petitions former 'Ice Age' director to save endangered birds from 'Rio'

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By Meghan Laughlin
Posted Oct 17, 2012 in Environment
Hello, today i will be interviewing a college student Jenna about her petition to save endangered birds from the movie Rio. She is well informed and I am happy to interview her. (note this is my first one i have done) You can check out the Petition here: change.org/petitions. I feel this is a good cause. She is asking The Director Carlos Saldanha to help out with saving these Birds, which is why she is Petitioning him.
Before the movie came out did you already know about the birds being endangered?
Jenna: "Yes I did a little bit from a PBS documentary that profiled a Middle Eastern facility that was working to save these endangered birds through a captive breeding program that was established there with hopes of releasing a small flock of them back into the wilds of northeastern Brazil by 2013. However, it was the movie "Rio" that got me motivated to learn more about these beautiful birds."
Do you think the movie did a good job in telling a little about the birds?
Jenna: "Although the movie is fiction, I do believe the movie did a good job introducing young people to taking responsibility for the environment and bringing some sort of awareness about a formerly least known species of parrot that hardly got any press release when it was first declared "extinct-in-the-wild" over a decade ago. Yet, the spix macaw is now famously referred to as the "blue macaw" in the film but it does encourage the preservation of endangered birds and their ever shrinking habitats."
Has there been anything done to protect them after the movie came out?
Jenna: "I have not heard much about protection efforts since Rio came out although in recent years, the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation Reserve in Qatar has bought some land in Brazil that would serve as a possible sanctuary for the spix macaw when the first flock of birds are released back into Brazil."
That's Good. Is there anything about the birds you want people to know about?
Jenna: "The public needs to know that there are only 83 birds that remain in the world and can only be found in zoos in four countries which are Brazil, Germany, Qatar, and Spain). But they can still do their part in ensuring their protection in the wild once the first flock gets a chanced to be released as well as other birds too.
These birds became endangered because of habitat loss, and foreign pet trades in Europe and Southeastern Asia and have been declared "extinct-in-the-wild" since 2000."
When did you start this petition?
Jenna: "I started it back in July after I began to felt that the director, Carlos Saldanha, should do more to help the Spix macaw and other endangered birds in his native Brazil than just make movies about them because, by him being out there making a difference for these birds whether if he chooses to work to establish a bird sanctuary for them or just volunteering his time working with organizations that aim at saving endangered birds and their habitats.
Just look at James Cameron, he made a movie that focused on both environmental and human rights issues and now, he is heavily involved with both causes and plans to donate all profits made from his future films to charities that work towards helping the environment. I think by him being out there, he is in fact playing a very strong role in helping endangered birds in Brazil by ensuring that they would have a place that is free from the threat of poachers and loggers while an on-site rehab center for them would help rehabilitate birds that are sick, orphaned, or wounded and are in great need. And birds that cannot be released can spend the rest of their lives there as being ambassadors for their species and educate the public at the same time."
Good Point. How many have already signed do you know?
Jenna: "Right now, about 155 people worldwide have signed the petition but it needs 9,000 in order to meet it's goal of about 10,000 signatures, so every single signature counts."
That is good so far. Where can people learn more about them so that they can help?
Jenna: "They can visit the Loro Parque Foundation website to learn more what is currently being done to save these endangered birds as well as donate to the organization to support their efforts in doing so. For those who are seeking to do a project on them, Al Wabra's Wildlife Preservation Reserve's website has a very nice fact sheet about them. Loro Parque Foundation: loroparque-fundacion.org"
Is there anything else you want the public to know about them?
Jenna: "My message to the public would be is that if you love this movie and you love birds, then, get involved in making a difference for Spix macaws and other birds elsewhere."
Thank you Very much Jenna!
I hope that by reading this interview you the reader will have an idea on what Jenna is doing to help these birds.

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