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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Parrots find Christmas sanctuary

IT TAKES endless patience to hand-rear a parrot ...

But thankfully that’s a quality found in abundance at the Wetheriggs Zoo and Animal Sanctuary, near Penrith, thanks to its staff and volunteers.

Several weeks ago, RSPCA inspectors arrived with a batch of 11 baby parrots which had been seized as part of an investigation in the north west.

Two were suffering from a wasting disease and died shortly after they arrived.

But the remaining nine parrots – a green-winged macaw, six African greys, a hawkhead parrot, and a white-capped pionus – have all gone from strength to strength, and are now colourful, curious and healthy juveniles.

Terry Bowes, from the sanctuary, said: “The birds are all now doing really well.

“They’ve all been hand-reared here. Our workers have used syringes to feed them, and doing that job you have to be very careful otherwise you can cause big problems.

“They have had to be fed every two to three hours, but not through the night. Thankfully we have some great volunteers here, and the birds have now all got to the stage of wanting to be independent.”

The zoo and sanctuary cares for a wide range of animals, which include Shetland ponies, alpacas, rhea, reptiles, amphibians and birds of prey.

The full-time staff at Wetheriggs are all trained in animal management and care. The sanctuary has recently built a new enclosure in its tropical house to accommodate an increasing number of exotic pets as owners struggle to meet the costs of providing the specialist care that they need.

Staff at animal sanctuaries across Cumbria have been working over the Christmas break to look after lost or abandoned animals.

The RSPCA said this Christmas and New Year was set to be their “worst in living memory” in terms of neglect and cruelty cases.

Since 2007 and the start of the global financial crisis, the RSPCA has experienced a 65 per cent increase in the number of animals abandoned and a 23.5 per cent rise in cruelty convictions.



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