Oakland Zoo Unveils New “Progressive Design” Aviary Exhibit

A macaw enjoying his new, progressive exhibit at Oakland Zoo

This progressively-designed aviary gives these highly-intelligent animals as much choice and control over their environment as possible

Oakland Zoo has unveiled a brand-new aviary exhibit designed to encourage species-specific, natural behaviors in the birds housed within. The exhibit took several months to design and build, with architects and zookeepers consulting extensively with field experts in avian behavior and physiology.

The Zoo’s four macaws have been moved into the exhibit, which is 219,000 cubic feet – substantially larger than their old exhibit, which was 1,800 cubic feet. Two curassow were also added to the exhibit, a new species to the Zoo. The macaws and curassow were chosen to share the exhibit as they are both native to the same general area of South America and inhabit different layers of the rainforest. Curassow are ground-dwellers while macaws remain higher above.

“This progressively-designed aviary gives these highly-intelligent animals as much choice and control over their environment as possible, which is important to their mental and physical well-being. It also provides a platform to talk about the extreme challenges of keeping parrots as pets, the exotic pet trade, and how choices we make can affect populations in the wild. This exhibit is one of best examples I’ve seen of giving former pet parrots, as our parrots at Oakland Zoo are, the best possible future,” Leslie Storer, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo.

Traditionally and generally speaking, captive macaws are exhibited standing on perches and then moved into large cages at nighttime. Most often they are not given the opportunity to fly. This new, expansive and…

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