Lifestyle Pets Stunning Blue Macaw Species that Inspired Kids' Movie' Rio' Extinct From Wild In the film, the bright blue birds save their endangered species By Kelli Bender Kelli Bender Kelli Bender is the Pets Editor for PEOPLE Digital and PEOPLE magazine. She has been with the PEOPLE brand for more than eight years, working as a writer/producer across PEOPLE's Lifestyle, Features, and Entertainment verticals before taking on her current role. Kelli is also an editor on PEOPLE's Stories to Make You Smile and serves as an editorial lead on PEOPLE's World's Cutest Rescue Dog Contest and Pet Product Awards. Before joining PEOPLE, Kelli helped AOL and Whalerock launch a pet lifestyle site called PawNation. She is a pet parent to a cat named Wallace, and her professional and personal devotion to animals has taken her to three dog weddings ... so far. People Editorial Guidelines Published on September 10, 2018 04:50 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: PATRICK PLEUL/AFP/Getty The Spix’s Macaw, better known as Blu to Rio fans, has been wiped out. According to CBS News, a new study by BirdLife International has found that the parrot species, which inspired the main bird characters of the animated movie Rio, is extinct from the wild. Some of the birds still live in captivity, but the brilliantly colored fliers are no longer found in their natural habitat. This sad news is made even more tragic by the plot of Rio, which imagined a happier ending for the birds. In the film the main characters, Blu and Jewel, both the last of their species, find each other and have a baby, helping to keep their kind alive. 20th Century Fox Based on the study by the conservation group, seven other bird species were listed as likely extinct as well, reports Abc.net. Five of the species now missing from the world came from the mainland of South America, highlighting how widespread deforestation across the continent is affecting animals and nature. While the news may seem abrupt to some, this upsetting conclusion was reached by BirdLife International after years of exhaustive research. “The last known individual [Spix’s macaw] in the wild disappeared in 2001, but searches have been ongoing since then and it is only now that we feel confident enough to classify it as extinct in the wild,” the study’s co-author Stuart Butchart told Abc.net. RELATED VIDEO: Stunning, Rare Albino Orangutan Rescued in Indonesia The one silver lining for the Spix’s macaw is the animals’ ability to survive in captivity. Conservationists are working on a way to build up a population and release some of the birds into the wild. Even if these efforts work, conservationists working on this study say the decline of these species should be seen as a serious sign of the planet’s ailing health.