WHO WANTS FRED DEAD?
By SHAN GOODWIN
HE'S loud, attention-seeking and speaks in a thick Aussie accent. And he has wings.
Now Fred, the sulphurcrested cockatoo, is in the middle of a nasty neighbourhood dispute.
His Brunswick Heads owners, Dawn and Neville Chapman and their son Richard, have received hate mail, signed 'Local residents', telling them it is immoral to keep a large bird captive.
The writers have threatened to contact animal protection agencies if the Chapmans don't set Fred free.
But the Chapmans say they have been advised by wildlife carers that Fred, having been in domestic care all his life, would not survive in the wild.
National Parks and Wildlife Service officers yesterday told The Northern Star that was a valid arguement.
"We love Fred. This is his home and we are his family," Mr Chapman said.
The letter says the Chapman's have no right to treat an animal in such a way.
It says: "The crys (sic) of help your cockatoo constantly makes is distressing . . . especially since (it) is confined in its prison . . . would someone answer your calls for help? You did not choose the circumstances of your birth, neither did Fred."
Mr Chapman said Fred can stretch his wings easily in his cage. In fact, he comes out regularly and hates going far from it.
Lawrence Orel, from the NPWS, said sulphurcrested cockatoos were one of a number of species of wildlife that people were allowed to keep as a pet without a licence.
He said cockatoos have a loud calling screech whether in the wild or captivity. Cages must be of adequate size for the bird to move freely.
Fred is believed to be about 25 and Richard is his primary carer.