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Blue-throated Macaws

Parrots magazine 148 - May 2010

Parent rearing: the way forward

Laney Rickman talks to Pauline James

Texas parrot enthusiast Laney Rickman has been on a mission for the past decade, and will be for the rest of her life. She wants to leave as a legacy, a viable captive flock of Blue-throated Macaws that will remain forever in safe hands, to ensure that this species never becomes extinct.

When asked why she chose this path in life she replies, “In the words of Eric Clapton: I don’t know, but if I don’t do it, who will?” This was Eric’s famous response when he was being interviewed for a music documentary, and was asked why he had made it his personal mission, ‘to save The Blues in its purist form.’

Here Laney tells her awe-inspiring story, with all the highs and lows that it has entailed, as she works with her husband Jack 24/7, to ‘Save her Blues’ and make a real difference.

I first became aware of the plight of the Blue-throated Macaw when I volunteered to help out at Houston Zoo, between 1992-1993. A friend had introduced me to parrots by giving me a young Half-moon Conure back in 1990, and Luna was such a pleasure, that I set out to educate myself about psittacines.

It was at Houston, while working with their team of professionals, that I became whole-heartedly convinced of the importance of parent-rearing to produce viable birds for whole-species continuity in captivity. By viable, I mean captive-bred parrots that have the same cultural identity and speak the same language, as their wild counterparts.

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