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Concern over care of caged birds

Dry dish: no water in the parrot enclosure near Camden (Photograph supplied)

Caged birds are allegedly neglected at the Botanical Gardens, according to two members of the public who claimed parrots and peacocks have been left without water.

Maintenance of the enclosures near Camden has come under fire on several occasions, with the SPCA fielding complaints as early as 2010.

Deborah Masters, a former animal welfare officer, said she and a friend had contacted Jonathan Nisbett, the Government vet, to intervene when they found the birds with no water.

“These containers are large, and for them to be bone dry, how long have these poor birds been without water?” she said, describing the parrots and peacocks as looking “dehydrated and stressed” — and saying she had fielded several complaints over the cages during her tenure with the SPCA.

“Two months ago, I saw a macaw in there with no water and rats in his enclosure, eating his food. I don’t blame the staff at Parks. I think it’s a question for management. These animals don’t deserve to be treated like this.”

Another member of the public, Cindy Miller, said she refused to go to the enclosures any more, or take visitors there.

“I’ve had two issues in the last several years. I adopted a duck that was left starving in there, and a couple of years later I saw lovebirds in there with no food, trying to forage, with rats in the cage.

“It’s crazy that you can have animals starving just by Camden, which is the Premier’s official residence. It’s happened a lot of times. Back in 2012 they had a load of chickens dead in there, and then dead ducks in 2013.

“If you’re not going to take care of them, don’t have them. I don’t know how they’re allowed to have them. If it was something I’d done, I would be forbidden from keeping animals.”

However, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of the Environment assured that the birds’ needs were met “seven days a week by a specially assigned member of the Department of Parks team”.

The ministry knew of the complaints, and the spokeswoman said such reports were taken “very seriously”.

“An investigation by a member of the ministry’s veterinary team found the birds were not neglected,” she said. “The team will collaborate with Department of Parks employees to ensure the birds continue to be looked after appropriately.”