Rare parrot's flight of fantasy halted by villagers
A zoo is caring for a large rare parrot which had been spotted in various parts of the surrounding area over the past two months.
The scarlet macaw had been seen around the West Country before a group of people captured it.
It is being taken care of at Tropiquaria Zoo at Washford Cross, Watchet, Somerset after sightings at Sherborne in Dorset, and various places in Somerset including Portishead, Hinkley Point nuclear power station and the village of Stogumber.
Finally a group of people from the village of Shurton captured it late on Thursday night.
Tropiquaria zoological director Chris Moiser said: "As a result of a couple of telephone calls during the week it was decided that if the team caught the bird they would bring it to Tropiquaria because of the difficulties of housing such a large parrot.
"Although we are pleased to be playing host to such a beautiful bird it does present certain legal problems that mean that we cannot put it on show.
"Scarlet macaws are an endangered species, and as such one must be in possession of certain paperwork in order to show them to the public. It is also necessary that the bird is uniquely marked so that the paperwork applies directly to the bird. Defra normally interpret this as the bird either having a ring on its leg with certain markings on it, or a micro-chip implant. This bird has neither, and as such cannot be bought, sold, or exhibited to the public.
"Despite this there are ways in which this bird could be in somebody's private lawful possession and, as the bird is worth about £1,500, we will clearly be discussing this with anyone that claims it.
"In the event of the bird not being claimed we already have one offer of a home for it, and The Parrot Society are currently looking at the possibility of integrating it into a breeding programme.
"At present though, with it being the holiday season, we do have to wait a few weeks to see if it is claimed, because we could well have an owner away with a caretaker keeper not sure what to do, or even if it is part of a group, as to whether one is missing.
"We also have the possibility that there may be more out there. Although we have only sightings of one, it did seem to cover a distance of 50 miles in one day, which, whilst possible, is unlikely. So if anybody thinks they see one do let Tropiquaria know."
The zoo is currently open daily and can be contacted on 01984 640688.