Perth Zoo’s eye-catching Western Ground Parrot mural to raise awareness of critically endangered bird


Hilton artist Brenton See. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d472901
Hilton artist Brenton See. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d472901

AN EYE-CATCHING mural has been painted at Perth Zoo to raise awareness of a critically endangered bird.

Hilton artist Brenton See has completed a mural of the Western Ground Parrot as part of his Endemic Birds of Western Australia Project.

The parrot inspired the project because there are less than 150 of them in the world, located in the Cape Arid National Park and Nuytsland Nature Reserve, both in the state’s southeast.

Perth Zoo was a logical place for the mural because it runs a breeding program for the parrot.

See said he had been painting murals for about three years and felt comfortable taking on the project.

“I recently heard about the number of the Western Ground Parrot getting to a critical number so I thought ‘how can I use what I do to educate people’,” he said.

“Even the name of the bird next to the mural will encourage people to do their research and maybe it will raise awareness to get people to realise that we do need to watch out because we do have a lot of animals that are critically low in numbers.”

The Western Ground Parrot is the third mural that See has painted, with the project to take in 18 different murals.

“I’m travelling all around WA and painting them where they can be found and the reason behind that is if the birds do get to critically low numbers, where would you go to find them?” he said.

“It’s a good way for tourists; they can do a trek from the top of WA all the way to Albany.

“I’ve done two so far, so I’m trying to do some crowd funding because it’s not the cheapest thing to do.”

Perth Zoo Australian fauna supervisor Arthur Ferguson said high-tech CCTV cameras and microphones monitor the zoo’s two Western Ground Parrots, as part of the breeding program.

“We are trying to learn as much as we can about the unique behaviours of the Western Ground Parrots, they are an incredibly elusive species and hard to monitor in the field,” he said.

“Being as critically endangered as they are, we have a dedicated facility which is off limits to the public and it’s set up purely to encourage the birds to breed and learn about their behaviours so unfortunately they aren’t on display.

“The first birds were brought in 2009, they are a unique species and there has been very little done on their husbandry requirements so that has presented a number of challenges.

“We’ve come a long way and we believe we are close to being successful.”

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