George the Cockatoo back home
GEORGE, the sulphur-crested cockatoo snatched from a Lismore family by maverick animal liberationists nine days ago, has been rescued.
The bird-snatchers succumbed to public pressure last Friday evening, allowing friends of theirs to return the 34-year-old pet to the distraught Gaudron family.
The friends ‘finally convinced’ the misguided activists to let them take George back after reading in The Northern Star that there was no chance of survival if the pet was returned to the wild.
The bird-snatchers had taken George leaving a manifesto-style note stating he would be ‘rehabilitated’ and returned to the wild at no cost to the Gaudrons – except for the ‘inevitable cost to (their) karma’.
Experts warned that the 34-year-old pet was already 14 years past his life expectancy in the wild and rehabilitation would be virtually impossible. They also warned of the risk of introducing diseases into the wild bird population.
Ron Gaudron’s daughter, Rebecca, received the phone call on Friday afternoon from the rescuers asking for their address.
They told Ms Gaudron the bird-nappers were ‘nice people’, but ‘realised they had got it wrong this time’.
“They described them as ‘idiots’ who had done it before but ‘didn’t mean to hurt anyone’,” she said.
Mr Gaudron’s wife, Colleen, said George was a little worse for wear, but basically in good shape.
“He’d lost weight and a few feathers, but he wasn’t too bad,” she. “He was pretty unsettled and I imagine he was probably keeping them awake at night.
“We didn’t get much sleep on Friday night. George kept squawking every time we tried to go to bed.
“Ron stayed up late with him and managed to sneak off to bed about 1am.”
Ron Gaudron was holding back tears and struggling for words as he thanked the rescuers for returning his old mate of 34 years.
“When I first saw that letter I thought that’s it, he’s gone, he’s dead. I honestly thought he was dead,” said the president of the local Ulysses motorcycle club (see story above).
“I can’t tell you how good it is to see him again.”
A dishevelled George appeared to feel the same as he showed off for the camera, obviously enjoying all the attention.
“As soon as I walked in and saw the cage I knew he was back,” Mr Gaudron said.
“I took him down on the grass and just talked to him for about an hour. He’s still a bit edgy and keeps hiding his food, but he’s getting there.”
The Gaudrons held an impromptu party as family members arrived to celebrate on Friday night.
“When I rang my eldest bloke in Queensland and told him I could hear the kids in the background cheering,” Mr Gaudron said. “My mum was really happy too.
“I just want to thank everyone for the support. One bloke – I forget his name, but he knows who he is – said I could come and talk to his parrot any time. He understood.
“We’re going to build him a new aviary, one we can lock and one that can’t be moved.”