Popular enclusure in Edinburgh Zoo closes its doors

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By Amanda MacMillan

EDINBURGH Zoo has been forced to close down its popular parrot display to save costs.

The £350,000 Rainbow Landings enclosure allowed visitors to hold and feed dozens of Rainbow Lorikeets.

But it closed its doors earlier this month and leaves 60 colourful parrots in need of a new home.

Staff revealed their fears that it could be just one of several cost cutting measures at the zoo as it prepares to make around 50  employees redundant.

 The zoo has also seen a fall in visitor numbers by 12.5 per cent in 2010.

A spokeswoman for the zoo said: “It was a popular exhibit with visitors and helped raise important funds for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).

“The reason for the closure is that it was a resource heavy exhibit and as far as I’m aware it was not a cost-cutting exercise.”

Rainbow Landings opened three years ago and was particularly popular because it was interactive and allowed visitors to touch the tame birds and feed them pots of nectar.

The closure comes after the news that the zoo had culled two healthy, endangered Red River Hog piglets, Sammi and Becca, because they were “surplus to requirement.”

The piglets were born at the zoo last year as part of a European breeding project aimed at boosting their species’ dwindling numbers.

Darren McGarry, the zoo’s animal collection manager, said the lorikeets were being sent to several other zoos.

He said: “The exhibit will be redeveloped, but plans have not yet been confirmed.

“The Rainbow Lorikeets are currently resident at Edinburgh Zoo and will be moved to an alternative aviary in the park in the coming months.

“Some birds have been requested by other UK zoos.”

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