As the father of a 3-year-old, it's safe to say that I've seen the animated film "Rio" more times than I care to count. Dreamworks did a great job of taking an entertaining story and weaving in the real-life themes of trafficking in exotic birds and the decimation of wild populations. That may seem like heavy stuff — and it is — but it's a credit to the creators that you walk away more informed and smiling.
Jesse Eisenberg, best known for his portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in the movie "The Social Network," voiced the lead blue macaw in "Rio" (and the upcoming sequel) and is now fronting a campaign to save exotic birds on behalf of the Human Society of the United States, or HSUS.
“If an animal’s natural home is in the wild, then chances are, that’s where it belongs,” Eisenberg states in a new PSA. “Unfortunately, the demand for these intelligent, complex creatures — whether captive-bred or wild-caught — is decimating the wild parrot species.”
He adds: “Although Blue is a much loved pet, he has no idea what it's like to be a bird. He doesn’t even know how to fly. It’s only when he gets a taste of the wild that he discovers his true self and how he ended up in a cage.”
Adam Parascandola, director of animal cruelty investigations for HSUS, said in a press release, “We are grateful to Jesse Eisenberg for helping us to raise awareness of the growing problem of unwanted captive birds in this country. Parrots are highly intelligent, social, and long-lived animals whose complex needs cannot be met by most owners, which is why so many are abandoned.”
HSUS offers five different ways to help parrots and other birds:
1. Support local bird rescues or shelters.
2. If you have a pet bird, treat it right.
3. Think twice before buying a bird. Research and never buy a bird from a pet store or online.
4. Support rescue efforts by animal welfare organizations.
5. Pledge to protect wildlife by not supporting the wildlife trade.
Check out the PSA below: