Too much of a Birden!

Bowdleflode News No. 29 – October 2020

Swearing parrots separated!

Five foul-mouthed African grey parrots have been separated at a Lincolnshire zoo after learning to swear. The parrots – named Billy, Elsie, Eric, Jade and Tyson are believed to be a bad influence on each other.

They joined the park’s colony of 200 other grey parrots in the summer, but soon after, they started encouraging each other. Steve Nichols, CEO of the wildlife park, comments “We are quite used to parrots swearing, but we’ve never had five at the same time. Most parrots clam up outside, but for some reason these five relish it”.

The parrots have since been split up and distributed to different areas of the park so they don’t “set each other off”. There were no complaints, but they were separated for the sake of young visitors and in the hopes they would pick up natural calls from the other African greys. Visitors have thought it highly amusing and it brings a smile to a really hard year.

The park is also home to Chico the parrot, who made recent headlines after learning to sing a range of pop songs, including Beyonce’s If I Were a Boy.

A plea from Sir David Attenborough

World leaders have been warned by Sir David Attenborough at a virtual UN event held in September.  As 65 heads of state and government, including the UK’s, signed a global pledge to reverse losses in the natural world by 2030, Sir David addressed the leaders and stated they had a chance to make a difference.  A recent BBC documentary, presented by Sir David, issued a stark warning about the extinction crisis and its effects.

Last year, a UN report found that around one million species are now threatened with extinction – hunting, habitat destruction and other human activities are pushing a rich array of animals closer to the edge of oblivion.  Human intrusion on the habitats of wild animals is also increasing risks of outbreaks of new diseases.

During the virtual event, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a commitment to protect an extra 400,000 hectares of countryside to support the recovery of nature.  He made promises that the government will increase the amount of protected land in the UK from 26% at present to 30% by the end of the decade.

Spots of hope –  good news for South African cheetahs

There’s roughly only about 7,100 remaining cheetahs in the world and South Africa is home to about 1,300.  It’s also the only country in the world with significant cheetah population growth, thanks largely to a metapopulation which has almost doubled the population of cheetahs in less than nine years.

The program works by nurturing several populations of the cat in mostly private game reserves, and swapping cheetahs between these sites to boost the gene pool.

The Cheetah Metapopulation Project recognizes that small cheetah populations may be physically secure in several small reserves, but the likelihood of inbreeding remains high if they are kept separated behind fences.  By swapping animals between participating reserves, the trust helps private and state wildlife custodians manage overpopulation and underpopulation on their land and also identify new areas of suitable cheetah habitat.  Most importantly, swapping animals reduces the risk of inbreeding among closely related animals.

When the project began in 2011, there were 217 cheetahs scattered between 41 reserves.  Now there are 419 spread across 60 reserves — more than a third of South Africa’s total cheetah population.


Bowdleflode of the Month



Created by Saron in Eagles Class, Castle Hill Primary, Chessington, Surrey, UK

This month our Bowdleflode feature has been created by Saron in Eagles Class at Castle Hill Primary in Chessington, south of London!  FERRIN is part-giraffe and the back is a leopard with turtledove wings.  They stand tall at 2.5 metres and weigh an almighty 180kg!  You can find them in rainforests where they will eat leaves and small mammals to survive.  They are energetic creatures and always keep their eyes open for food!⠀Thank you Saron for your fabulous creature! ? ? ?⠀