The Laro Parque Foundation


the Laro Parque Foundation \!J-lhas been fortunate enough to engage Dr. David Waugh as its scientific Director. Many will recall that Waugh was for 12 years Education Officer at Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust and he has also carried out field work in many areas. Such experience will be invaluable in enabling the Foundation to spend its funds shrewdly in the field of conservation.

On a recent visit to Laro Parque, I met the people responsible for its day to day operation. Roger Sweeney, then Curator, is well known for his informative writings, and the birds at Laro Parque have achieved remarkable success in the short time he has been in charge. Sweeney, who worked in the United Kingdom before going to the Philippines to gain experience, escorted me through the impressive offexhibit breeding facility. The whole layout is clearly designed to give the occupants confidence. The wire enclosures have good height to them to avoid any dominance hy the keepers. They also contain a planted screen of palms between the units which gives privacy to each pair of birds. The servicing walkways are wide giving a real feeling of space. High above the vast expanse is a secured netting which excludes unwanted birds from entering. It also cuts clown on wind penetration and provides tranquillity.

Feeding the units is easily carried out and there is a sprinkler enabling the inhabitants to bathe. Stainless steel feeding bowls reflect the high standard of cleanliness.

atural wood for perches is unavailable in Tenerife as many forest fires have have resulted in restrictions on wood gathering. Because of this, imported sawed wood is used.

Having visited parrot collections on several continents and having made my first visit to Laro Parque in 1984, I am in no doubt that in their pursuit of excellence, they are very successful. The beautiful climate in Tenerife must make it the envy of all bird keepers. There is sunshine most clays and seldom a frost-what could be better' There is a resident staff of veterinarians who have up to date equipment. Visiting consultants include a respected long time f iend of mine, Susan Clubb, D.V.M., from the United States who, together with her husband Kevin, specializes in psittacines (of which they have a large collection). Dr. Clubb visits three times a year. Andrew Greenwood, M.A., Vet. M.B., M.R.C.V.S., another exotic animal consultant, visits several times a year. Greenwood is part of the International Zoo Veterinary Group and has many creatures (mammals and fish) as well as parrots to care for. Another wonderful member of their medical staff is Helga Gerlach, DR MED VET HABJL. She is a faculty member of the Institute of Avian Diseases, at the Sudwig-Maximilians - Iniversity, Munich, Germany.

This large avian collection has the ve1y best professionals to monitor the health and well being of the birds. It was refreshing to see nest boxes being removed after the breeding season for repairs and sterilization by the flame of a blow torch.

Whilst I was visiting the breeding unit, a member of the Canary Islands Director of Soivre (the Spanish branch of CITES) was in attendance to witness and log the handing of young parrots being carried out by Pedro, Roger Sweeney's assistant. The enclosed census is strictly adhered to and even in late October 1995, nestlings were still being monitored. I was impressed that 90% of the parrots were being parent raised. Sweeney is well aware of the importance of parent reared stock as he has expressed how erratic imprinted stock can he.

The pairing of parrots is given great attention, several birds are released into a large enclosure approximately 46 ft. long, 12 ft. wide and 16 ft. high.

mall units have been constructed inside this spacious aviary and once two birds have paired off and claim a unit, they can he removed to their separate breeding unit. This way, the ideal self-selection has been achieved.

Close by, a truly giant aviary with impressive clear span roof trusses i" provided for young macaws to fly in large flocks. This unit will surely develop young macaws in mind and body.