Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Rehabilitation Centre Excursion, February

On February 20th over thirty people gathered at Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Rehabilitation Centre to see first hand how their operation works. This was a follow up to our first meeting of the year in which Zara Kiveli and Chris Phillips had explained the plight of Cockatoos and told us what the Centre is doing to alleviate the situation.

The rehabilitation centre is located on Mills Road East and occupied the premises previously held by the Cohunu Wildlife Centre. After providing us with a welcome cup of tea or coffee, Chris took us on a tour of part of the 30 acre property.

We passed through the kangaroo enclosure – a legacy from Cohunu – and Chris explained that these kangaroos were a problem because they are too numerous and have degraded their environment.

DRB members at Kaarakin

DRB members at Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Rehabilitation Centre, February 2011. Photo: Arthur Conacher

We proceeded to the Dingo enclosure where we were introduced to Glenn Dewhurst and his family, who were responsible for establishing the Cockatoo Rehabilitation Program. Two dingoes bounded up to greet us, with the female giving an imitation of the barking she has heard from the Alsatians on the property.

After a brief look at some Gouldian finches in an aviary we continued to the cockatoo aviaries. Chris explained that some cockatoos were unable to fly or were imprinted on humans and incapable of surviving in the wild. These birds can therefore never be released. Some would be used for educational purposes and some for breeding.

Other birds had less contact with their keepers and were being prepared for release. These birds were in ‘flight aviaries’ where they had sufficient room to fly and develop the fitness required for survival once released. Often these birds were released together as they recognised each other and would form a flock.

There is a huge amount of work and planning going on to improve the degraded site and develop better facilities for rehabilitation of the cockatoos. Any volunteers who are able to help on a regular basis would be welcomed gratefully. Please contact Chris Phillips on 9390 2288. If you see a bird in trouble please call the Cockatoo Rehabilitation Centre on 0417 988 872. We thank Chris for giving up his time to show us the wonderful work that is being done which will help to give these wonderful birds a brighter future.

Judy du Plessis