Fears for rare parrots stolen in raid

DOZENS of rare parrots bundled into sacks during a raid at a Suffolk breeding centre could die as a result, it was warned last night.Almost 50 Amazon parrots , worth up to £1,000 each, were snatched during the break-in, which experts say is one of the biggest such incidents to hit aviary owners across the UK over the past few years.

DOZENS of rare parrots bundled into sacks during a raid at a Suffolk breeding centre could die as a result, it was warned last night.

Almost 50 Amazon parrots , worth up to £1,000 each, were snatched during the break-in, which experts say is one of the biggest such incidents to hit aviary owners across the UK over the past few years.

The devastated owners of the stolen birds, who run their operation from a village just outside Bury, are now offering a reward for information.

Police have also warned other Suffolk breeders and collectors to be on their guard against further thefts by the gang, which detectives believe deliberately targeted the village aviary to sell the valuable green and yellow birds on.


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The “cruel and callous” theft happened between 8am on Friday and 8am the next morning and

John Hayward, the Parrot Society's national theft register co-ordinator, said the raiders knew what they were doing.

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But he insisted the burglary would harm the birds. “These birds are endangered species and it is not their individual value which is of concern. It is the welfare of the birds which is of primary concern and the loss to the breeding programme,” he said.

“For someone to break into a large aviary like this and take so many birds is extremely traumatic for the birds. I am in no doubt many of the birds would not survive the experience of being bundled into sacks and carted away.

“In any event they won't be receiving the correct diets and as particularly sensitive animals this will have a serious effect on them. This recent theft is one of the largest we have seen for a number of years.”

Mr Hayward also said a reward would be offered to anyone with information on the whereabouts of the birds or for information which leads to the arrest of the thieves.

In total, 46 Amazon parrots and one cockatoo - worth £1,000 - were taken in the burglary from the aviary, where they were part of a breeding programme.

The owner, who did not want to be named, is one of an estimated 4,000 parrot fanciers in the UK. She said: “It is very upsetting. It is a particularly distressing loss because we have no idea where they have gone.”

Amazon parrots are known as affectionate pets, which mimic the sounds around them including speech.

Witnesses or anyone with information about what has happened to the birds should call Pc Stuart Dolan at Ixworth Police on 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Mr Hayward urged anybody who is offered a parrot in suspicious circumstances to call him on 07802 404929 or the police.

will.clarke@eadt.co.uk

FACTFILE

n Some species of Amazon parrot are so numerous they shot in South America as pests while others are on the verge of extinction.

n Premium prices are paid for species which are better at talking although the international trade in parrots is banned meaning pet birds are only available from breeders in the UK.

n Some research has suggested Amazons are as intelligent as human babies, monkeys and dolphins with the ability to talk in context and differentiate between colours and shapes.

n Amazons require interaction with other birds or people and display a range of emotions.

n The birds live for 40 to 60 years with the current record held by one individual which lived to 119.

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