Thursday, 31 May 2012

Rare cockatoo still missing from zoo

A red-tailed black cockatoo is still missing from Sydney's Taronga Zoo, two days after it escaped.

Five of the rare birds flew off after they were spooked by sea eagles during an open-air show on Monday afternoon.

Four have been recaptured and keepers are confident the last one will soon be found and rejoin its mates in their enclosure.

A zoo spokesman says the cockatoos were easily recaptured.

'The keepers just go out and give the sign for feeding and they come down,' he said.

The birds were part of a public display at the zoo on Monday afternoon when a group of predatory sea eagles crashed the show.

'They saw them and said, Oh my God, it's an eagle, I'm out of here,'' the spokesman said.

'They just moved away from the threat. They did the right thing. If I thought I was being hunted by sea eagles I'd move areas too.'

He said the first bird was found near the zoo on Tuesday morning and another was spotted near Allambie, in Sydney's northern beaches, later that day.

The two others were caught at nearby Manly on Wednesday after tip-offs from the public.

He said the birds, which are not critically endangered but are under pressure from loss of habitat, regarded the zoo as their home and were happy to be back.

He said the zoo had only ever lost two birds from its popular open-air shows since 1997.

The runaways would rejoin the troupe for upcoming shows, he said.

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