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Zoo's Risky Strategy For Profane Parrots

A few years ago, a zoo in Britain went viral for its five foul-mouthed parrots that wouldn’t stop swearing. Now, three more birds at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park have developed the same bad habit - and zoo staffers have devised a risky plan to curb their bad behaviour.

African gray parrot
African gray parrot | Pixabay

“We’ve put eight really, really offensive, swearing parrots with 92 non-swearing ones,” Steve Nichols, the park’s chief executive, told CNN.

By integrating the birds with expletive tendencies into the larger flock of well-behaved parrots, they hope the group’s good manners will rub off on the trouble-makers. OGN reckons that sounds rather optimistic - don't you get the distinct feeling that this plan just isn't going to end well? Particularly, says The Times, as the park has admitted the profanity cannot be entirely eliminated, as "once it's in their vocabulary, it’s usually there for good".

Profanities started at the turn of the millennium, when five African gray parrots were donated to the wildlife park in eastern England. The five bad-mouthed birds seemed to be egging each other on, prompting staffers to separate them and send each one to a different area of the zoo.

But, as it turns out, isolation wasn’t enough to solve the problem. Three newly donated birds have now developed a tendency to squawk expletives. This time, rather than keeping them separate, zookeepers have decided to 'hide' the swearing by placing them with a larger flock; management have their fingers crossed that good manners triumphs over bad language.

“People think parrots are loud birds, but they talk quite quietly,” Nichols told the BBC “I’m hoping, above the general noise of the flock, the swearing will be drowned out.”

The trouble with donated parrots is, of course, that you don't know where they have been. Apparently, about 30 parrots have come from truck depots or people's kitchens, as they are rather talented at making the sound of microwaves pinging and of trucks reversing.

What if the eight foul language miscreants corrupt the entire flock? “We could end up with 100 swearing parrots on our hands,” Nichols tells BBC News. “Only time will tell.”

In the meantime, as a sensible precaution, the zoo has put up large signs alerting guests that they might hear bad language.

OGN will keep you updated.


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