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Dear Parrots magazine,

Lost their freedom forever

It was marvellous to read Mr Steven’s kind comments about the articles and Paradise Park, thank you very much indeed. In response to the comment about my use of the phrase, “the smuggled birds have lost their freedom forever” with reference to the article about Red-tailed Black Cockatoos I would like to comment:

Whilst Paradise Park is indeed a collection that proudly presents a captive collection of birds to the public there is no doubt in our minds that no matter how hard we try to give the birds the best possible life in captivity, it is just that, captivity.

With the best will in the world it can never be possible to truly replicate the conditions that a wild bird should enjoy within a captive environment. These include the freedom to choose to fly and forage over vast areas, the freedom to sit in the sun wherever it chooses and the freedom to choose a partner and to reproduce with them. All these things and many more are no longer within the birds’ control. The wild can be fraught with dangers and everyday struggles but that is nature at work and exactly what these amazing creatures have evolved to cope with.

During our free-flying bird shows we deliberately use the phrase, “the smuggled birds have lost their freedom forever” to point out the very real and sad truth that bird smugglers may get caught and imprisoned for a while but they are eventually released back from where they came. The same, sadly, cannot be said for the vast majority of the birds the smugglers choose to remove from the wild – they have lost their freedom forever.

All we can now do is to make their captive lives as pleasant as possible and at the same time use them as ambassadors to raise awareness and to stimulate action to keep their wild counterparts where they truly belong, flying free.

David Woolcock, curator, Paradise Park, Hayle, Cornwall




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