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Dear Parrots magazine,

National Parrot Zoo

I am writing in addition to the letters written by David Woodbury and Greg Glendell in last months Parrot’s Magazine regarding the National Parrot Sanctuary.

I will not repeat their valid information. My comments come from experience and hands on working with parrots.

Rehabilitation of an ex-pet parrot takes time and a lot of care. A new inmate takes time and care to introduce into an established colony of parrots. You cannot take an ex-pet parrot into your care today and introduce it into an established colony aviary tomorrow, if you wish to guarantee it’s survival. It appears this is the procedure at NPS according to comments by some who have placed their parrots into its care.

Changing home and carer is extremely stressful for parrots. Those at NPS are mostly ex-pets, and many ex-pet parrots are not suitable for aviary life, as they do not adjust. They crave human contact. It is obvious from photographs and comments from visitors that there are, sadly, many parrots at NPS in that category.

In photographs taken there, we see parrots which are plucked, some look wing-clipped and are therefore not suitable for outside aviary life. They should not be subjected to the elements until they are fully feathered and fully flighted, and provided they are suitable subjects for aviary life. Ex-pet parrots can take up to three years to fully acclimatise, given the right conditions, so it does not surprise me that the death rate at NPS is so high. This death rate, gives great cause for concern, in fact I am horrified this situation has not been fully investigated. Personally, I think it is cruel to subject ex-pet parrots to temperatures near to freezing and below, as many of them have been use to central heating in warm homes. Last winter, and the previous winter, we had some of the coldest days and nights on record. NPS does not have heated indoor accommodation for all the parrots in their care. Heated accommodation in winter months is one of the most important basic requirements for parrot welfare. Like many others who are concerned for parrot welfare, I have also expressed concern for the parrots at NPS for the past two winters.

Wide aviary weld mesh, which allows wild birds easy access to feed and contaminate, shows a total lack of knowledge and care for the wellbeing of parrots. There is also a lack of perching, which creates huge stress for the parrots, forcing them to cling on to wire mesh, which is totally unacceptable. In winter, when temperatures are at freezing and below, those poor creatures, which have no choice but to cling to wire, end up with frost bite at best, and at worse, freezing to death. There is a lack of aviary enrichment, which is a basic requirement, especially for ex-pet parrots that have been use to toys to occupy their intelligent minds. Basic hygiene and basic parrot needs are not met. Everything about this establishment looks unsatisfactory and I feel sorry for any parrot, which has ended up at NPS. One has to ask why the AWA ‘Duty of Care’ law has not been enforced.

David Woodbury and Greg Glendell covered the frustration we all feel about the lack of interest from East Lindsey District Council. It is extremely frustrating that a specialist avian veterinary surgeon has not been instructed to inspect NPS and report on the findings. The RSPCA have inspected NPS several times, and I have been informed in writing, by an RSPCA Inspector at Head Office, that the RSPCA no longer refer any parrots to NPS, and they do not recommend this establishment. According to Mr Nichols, NPS is RSPCA recommended, which is not true.

This may not sit well with many readers, but I would rather have my parrot euthanased rather than subject it to what NPS offers. Anyone who is prepared to pay the fees required to leave their parrots at NPS should think very, very carefully about the future welfare of their birds. Look at the photographs taken at NPS, read the report by Birds First. Several dedicated parrot keepers, including myself, have tried hard to fight for better care and conditions at NPS, but to date, we have failed, which deeply saddens me as it is the parrots that suffer. These creatures did not ask to be in captivity. Their quality of life and life span is governed by the people who are in charge of their care, in this case NPS.

Pam Fryer - by email



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