KOWHAI PARK AVIARY
I amexcited about the Esplanade Wildbase Recovery centre going ahead in the near future with funding support from various quarters. (Tribune June 25).I am especially pleased that the aviary/ bird complex is moving away from the draconian zoo philosophy to more of a rehab centre with the animals being released back to the wild on recovery. So, I wanted to bring up a conversation about the Feilding aviary in Kowhai Park where I often wander with my elderly dad. I understand from the Manawatu District Council, that there are talks regarding possible upgrades to this complex. Both its native and exotic bird aviaries need a major overhaul to expand the enclosures to enable reasonable flight and to improve the environments.I find the exotic bird aviary depressing, especially for the bigger, inquisitive white parrots living in these dismal, barren small enclosures. Concerning is the native ‘Alpine Parrots’ enclosure where I have witnessed on numerous occasions, the pair of kea clearly displaying signs of stress – made obvious by their repetitive pacing back and forth and peering obsessively up though their netted prison to the open sky above. Their ridiculously small enclosure may meet the ‘minimum’ welfare guidelines but it is clear to see that it falls far short of ensuring any real flight opportunity.
These South Island alpine birds are highly intelligent, and according to the Kea Conservation Trust, ‘‘have an insatiable curiosity, therefore need high levels of variability and novelty in their captive environment’’. They are strong flight birds, known to fly several kilometres in a matter of minutes. Justification for keeping these special native birds captive cannot be argued on educational grounds because there is no information outside the enclosures for people to learn about them anyway. I dislike seeing most animals in captivity, especially strong flight birds, for just the purpose of ‘Public Display’’. If the council cannot substantially improve and enlarge the kea’s environment, then perhaps they should be re-homed via the ‘Kea Conservation Trust’ to a sanctuary where they can at least spread their wings. Why the need to keep tui or wood pigeons (unless permanently injured) in captivity here given they are a common fixture in our backyards and park spaces?I hope the park aviary will have the makeover that the birds deserve and that the people and businesses in Feilding will dig deep in their pockets to make it happen.
Jenny Doyle Terrace End
Caged kea in Feilding’s Kowhai Park aviary.
Photo: GRANT MATTHEW/FAIRFAX NZ