George, the 34-year-old silver crested cockatoo was kidnapped from his East Lismore home by animal liberationists last weekend.
George, the 34-year-old silver crested cockatoo was kidnapped from his East Lismore home by animal liberationists last weekend.

George the cockatoo won't survive

AS MEDIA interest increases, there is still no sign of George, the 34 year-old cockatoo kidnapped from the Gaudron family in Lismore by animal liberationists last weekend as reported in Wednesday’s Northern Star.

The group left a manifesto-style note claiming George would ‘soon be free to live as it chooses’ – an act that has attracted unanimous condemnation on The Northern Star’s website.

Fears for George’s future have intensified as experts confirm there is virtually no chance of successfully ‘rehabilitating’ or returning him to the wild.

Lismore vet Richard Creed said birds kept from birth ‘imprint’ their carers as family in the first few weeks of life.

“This is why wildlife carers have to be super careful. It is an innate behaviour” Dr Creed said.

“Though cockatoos can live to 80 years of age in captivity, their life span in the wild is only 20 years, so this bird would’ve died 14 years ago anyway.

“While I’m not a huge fan of caged birds, this one was probably perfectly happy in that environment.

“After 34 years these people would be devastated, and so would the bird.

“It’s very sad for the family, sad for the bird – and sad for the misguided idiots who took it.”

Dr Michael Pyne, senior vet at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Hospital, warned the would-be-liberators that releasing domestic birds into the wild carried a ‘real risk of spreading diseases into the wild bird population.

George’s ‘dad’, Ron Gaudron, was still struggling with the loss yesterday as he prepared for the Ulysses Club’s Christmas Toy Run this weekend. “I had to tell my mum last night. She was pretty upset,” he said.

“The police told me they had a report of a cockatoo in a car between Lismore and Casino on Wednesday but nothing has come of it.”



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