Photo: Birdworld. The yellow-crested cockatoo has six subspecies including the citron-crested (pictured), and all are threatened in the wild due to illegal trapping and habitat loss

BIRDWORLD IN SURREY has completed the first instalment of new homes for its resident citron-crested (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata) and yellow-crested cockatoos (C. sulphurea).

The development, which began last December, is the first of several new larger aviaries to be built at the 26-acre park in Farnham, with the aim to educate and raise awareness of the decline of the Critically Endangered yellow-crested cockatoos in the wild. Recent figures estimate that there are fewer than 3,000 wild individuals left in their native habitat due to illegal trapping and habitat loss.

The new aviaries and continuing development will help protect the captive-bred populations, and allow the park to take part in a number of conservation initiatives, including a captive breeding programme.

Staff will collect genetic analysis of the individual cockatoos at Birdworld, as well as DNA samples of each cockatoo’s beak, crest, wing, tail length and weight. The data will be assessed for the origins of the birds in captivity,  and will assist worldwide conservation efforts to help establish viable captive populations of the six subspecies of the yellow-crested cockatoo.

The park will continue to increase awareness among visitors and raise funds for this species through its Birdworld Conservation Fund. 

Curator Duncan Bolton said: “With these new aviaries we hope to continue to inform our visitors of the birds’ plight and support conservation actions across the region.”

The next step for the zoo is to build at least five extra units, which will recreate the cockatoo’s native habitat in Indonesia. These will house other pairs of both citron-crested and yellow-crested cockatoos, which are to be moved in the next phase of the development.

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