Its parents tried to help in the wild, but ultimately it took a team of vets at an Australian zoo to save the injured bird.
The endangered Carnaby’s Cockatoo was found shot in western Australia with bullet fragments left in its severely fractured wing.
“Found on a private property, the young bird was on the ground and unable to fly,” the Perth Zoo said in a statement July 7. “His parents kept vigil in a nearby tree, coming to ground occasionally to dutifully feed him – heart breaking, right?!”
The bird was brought into Perth Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital.
Metal fragments from the shot gun pellet needed to be removed and the wing needed orthopaedic repair. But the zoo’s acting senior veterinarian, Alisa Wallace, remains hopeful the youngster will survive.
But it won’t be simple for the bird.
“It will be a long road to recovery,” the zoo said in a statement. “The bird will likely spend up to one year at a specialist rehabilitation facility, building up his strength, muscle mass and having flight lessons to ensure he has all the necessary skills and functions to survive back out in the wild.”
The bird’s story isn’t all that unique.
The zoo says it treats about 300 wild black cockatoos every year. They tend to be hit by vehicles or illegally shot.
The aim is to get as many back out to the wild as possible, but not all make it.
Carnaby’s Cockatoos don’t have an easy life.
They have a very low rate of reproduction, according to the zoo, which means the population cannot quickly replace the large number of birds shot by farmers.
They are also threatened by habitat destruction
Cutting down trees destroys the cockatoos’ nesting sites.
And, the pretty birds are also sought after as pets on the black market. Even though poaching is illegal, chicks and eggs are scooped up from nests and nesting hollows, the zoo explained.
In addition to rehabilitation, the Perth Zoo is researching the health of wild black cockatoos including monitoring them in the wild.