The Breeding Centre of Loro Parque Foundation


From the world’s most comprehensive parrot collection (see Watchbird Vol. 32 No. 1) has grown a conservation organisation of immense importance worldwide. The Loro Parque Foundation (LPF) was founded in 1994 as a non-profi t, non-governmental organisation to assist the conservation of threatened and endangered parrots. At that time 95 species out of the approximate total of 330 were at risk of extinction. Since then LPF has directed the equivalent of about $2.7 million to save species and their habitats.
How this has been achieved will be the subject of my third article. In this article I will describe how the parrots themselves have been responsible for raising much of this funding. Approximately US$560,000 has already been allocated for conservation projects in 2005.
It all started in 1994 when ownership of all the parrots in Loro Parque, Tenerife, and in the breeding centre were transferred to the Foundation. This was an enormous commitment that has probably benefi ted parrot conservation more than any other single act. One of its major sources of income is derived from the sale of the young raised in the Foundation’s breeding centre. It had been the ambition of Wolfgang Kiessling, founder of the park and president of the Foundation, that it should have the finest parrotbreeding facility in the world. Opened in 1998, the new facility is located a few kilometres south of Loro Parque, 200m (650ft)above sea level.

Covering an area of 30,000 sq metres (7.4 acres) it houses approximately 2,600 parrots; the number can vary by 300 either way according to the time of year. At the end of 2004 they represented the unprecedented total of exactly 350 species and sub-species. the young birds that are maturing, are like a Noah’s Ark of parrots. Virtually all parrots known in aviculture are here, some represented by multi-generations going back at least to the 1980s. Exceptions include four Australian species that are not held legally outside their native country: the three smallest lorikeets and the Glossy Cockatoo.

In the breeding facility two distinct sections house parrots from different environments. One area is covered (high above the aviaries) in black mesh. This blocks out 50% of sunlight and is used to house species from rainforest; they need a darker and more humid environment. The second area has a ceiling of a light blue nylon mesh, suitable for housing parrots from more open areas, such as the Australian outback.

The first priority is that the parrots should be kept in pleasant conditions. I must say that many people would like to live in such agreeable surroundings! The theme of dense planting, palm trees and fl owering shrubs, which characterises the park, is repeated here. One walks into a pleasant airy and green atmosphere of rows of aviaries, divided by banana plants, Scheffl era trees, flowering lilies and many other plants that provide a visual barrier between breeding pairs, plus shade and shelter. It is like a garden city, with the houses replaced by aviaries. In all there are about 1,200 aviaries and suspended cages, the latter being in the minority.