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WILDLIFE

German macaws go forth and multiply in Brazil

A pair of endangered blue macaws of the kind made famous by the hit animated "Rio" movies arrived in Brazil from Germany on Tuesday as part of a drive to ensure the bird's survival.

German macaws go forth and multiply in Brazil
Photo: Rudiger Stehn/Wikimedia Commons

The two spix's macaws — among only 92 of the birds known to exist worldwide – were shipped to Sao Paulo, a spokesman for the Chico Mendes environmental institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) said.

"They will remain isolated for a fortnight on the Sao Paulo coast before heading to a scientific breeding center in the same state," institute spokesman Joao Freire said.

"They are brother and sister, 11 months old and not yet sexually mature. The intention is to have them breed later with Brazil's 11 ararinhas (spix's macaws), said Freire.

He added that once global numbers rose to 200 "their reintroduction into nature will commence."

The macaw is one of Earth's most endangered species, with trapping having contributed to numbers plummeting over the past three decades. The last one spotted in the wild was seen in 2000.

The two main characters of the successful "Rio" films – Blu and Jewel – are spix's macaws.

Originally hailing from the Curaca region in the notheastern state of Bahia the bird has unusual feet with two claws turned forwards and two backwards.

It feeds on seeds and fruit and uses its beak to help it climb trees.

In December, ICMbio announced the first births in 14 years of two macaws at the Sao Paulo breeding center.

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ANIMALS

Swan Late: Mourning bird holds up German trains

A swan mourning the death of its companion on a German railway track held up 23 trains for almost an hour and had to be removed by firefighters using special equipment, police said.

Swan Late: Mourning bird holds up German trains
A swan sat on the tracks, mourning its companion. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Bundespolizei/Bundespolizei

The two birds had strayed onto the track area of the high-speed line between Kassel and Göttingen in central Germany “during an excursion”, according to Kassel police.

One of the birds died, likely after getting caught in the overhead power cables, said the statement on the December 23rd incident, which was made public late on Monday.

Its companion then sat beside the body in mourning, resisting attempts by officials to lure it away and temporarily closing the line to traffic.

Firefighters with special equipment were later called in and managed to lift the dead swan and its surviving companion away from the area.

Twenty-three trains were delayed for about 50 minutes while the rescue operation took place, the police statement said.

The surviving swan was unharmed and later released onto the river Fulda, it
added.

According to Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, swans try to find a mate for life.

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