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Dear Parrots magazine,

National Parrot Sanctuary

BirdsFirst again visited the National Parrot ‘Sanctuary’ and Zoo near Boston, Lincs in February 2011. We first visited these premises in March 2009 and reported then on poor conditions for birds held there. Sadly, there has been little improvement for the birds since then. On the Zoo’s own figures, annual mortality of birds was just over 10% last year. We find this level of mortality totally unacceptable. While there, we saw that very few birds had access to heated accommodation. Temperatures in East Anglia can drop to well below freezing on many nights during the winter. It is therefore likely that many birds are simply freezing to death.

We found that a veterinary inspection (for the purposes of holding a zoo licence) was quite inadequate. We found the food being offered to the birds was of poor quality, being largely a sunflower and peanut based mixture, with little, if any, fresh fruit and vegetables. The mesh size in some aviaries allows wild animals, including rats, stoats and small birds, to enter and leave freely. There was evidence of rats present and we saw a small flock of wild sparrows in some flights. Wild animals should not have access to parrots’ aviaries. The zoo has no staff with any professional qualifications in any animal management discipline. There is a total lack of information on the problems of surplus ‘pet’ parrots and the sheer numbers being dumped into sanctuaries. Some of the aviaries were overcrowded and there was little or no environmental enrichment in most of the flights. Hygiene standards were poor and levels of cleanliness of food and water containers was poor. The birds are receiving minimal care at minimal cost. Despite what you might see on the site’s own website, the premises are not approved by the RSPCA. Our report has been sent to the local council and to DEFRA, which are involved in the licensing of zoo premises.

We have to conclude that, on grounds of bird welfare, these premises in their current condition, are quite unsuitable for the keeping of parrots. Mortality is likely to remain high as long as conditions for the birds are not greatly improved. Copies of the report can be obtained via email from: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. It will also be available on some websites and forums.

Greg Glendell - BirdsFirst UK




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