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If you’ve been a visitor to Tayto Park, then you might have been lucky enough to hear some of the many sounds that echo throughout our Zoo! Some of our keepers’ favourites include the trumpeting of our majestic Japanese red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis) as they call in unison during mating season. Or the deep guttural call of our Amur leopards (Panthera pardus orientalis) which makes anyone stop in their tracks! Even the sound of a sudden rustling of quills from our Cape porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis) helps add to our experience while visiting the Zoo in Tayto Park.
Our keepers and visitors alike have recently been treated to a marvellous chorus of loud chirps and shrieks from our most recent addition, black-cheeked lovebirds! When looking at lovebirds, you can’t help but smile - this small, colourful species is a much-welcomed addition to our Zoo. Arriving late one evening in October, having travelled from a zoo in Denmark, 20 individuals got accustomed to their new habitat at Tayto Park. Keepers worked hard in preparation for their arrival with a new specially formulated diet was sourced, new substrate added, and the enclosure fitted with perches that were just right for their small grip. The team also added fresh planting and grass to help them settle into their new surroundings.
Black-cheeked lovebirds (Agapornis nigrigenis) are a small species of parrot, native to Zambia in Africa. They have amazing colouration with a bright green body, red bill, dark brown head and neck and a spot of orange on their throat feathers. However, this beauty comes at a price! For four decades from 1920’s, numbers in the wild have reduced dramatically due to illegal trapping of wild individuals for the pet trade. Thankfully, trapping of birds is now banned in their native country.
Unfortunately, the survival of this species still remains a concern for conservationists and wildlife lovers. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists black-cheeked lovebirds as Vulnerable due to population numbers in the wild continuing to decline rapidly. Water is essential for all animals, with black-cheeked lovebirds needing daily access to water sources. Reduced annual rainfall, possibly owing to climate change, has meant that many water bodies have dried up resulting in a smaller range of suitable habitat.
Keepers in Tayto Park zoo, however, choose to remain positive and optimistic for the future of these joyful birds. Every one of us can play a vital role in helping to reduce the effects of climate change and we will continue to educate visitors about the conservation issues facing black-cheeked lovebirds and many of the species in our zoo – but will do so with a new accompanying soundtrack!
We hope you enjoy listening to all of nature’s sounds as much as we do!