Hamilton Zoo welcomes rainforest amabassadors


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2 August 2007

Hamilton Zoo has welcomed two new ambassadors for the protection and preservation of rainforests – blue and gold macaws, Mactago and Macato.

Mactago and Macato are a bonded pair and their arrival at Hamilton Zoo in late July from Dunedin Botanical Gardens signifies a first for Hamilton Zoo which has not previously hosted this species of rainforest bird. The new pair are New Zealand born with male Mactago being hatched at Dunedin Botanical Gardens while female Macato was hatched by a private aviculturalist. Mactago and Macato are now on display in Hamilton Zoo's parrot court area.

Blue and gold macaws originate from South America and while not endangered, their species is in decline predominantly due to habit destruction as a result of rainforest deforestation.

Hamilton Zoo director Stephen Standley says the arrival of Mactago and Macato signifies an exciting new addition to Hamilton Zoo's parrot court display and a platform from which to raise awareness of the need for rainforest preservation.

"Deforestation of rainforests around the world erodes the habitats of a number of species that Hamilton Zoo hosts. Hamilton Zoo is well-positioned to educate and inform visitors about the impact of deforestation on the many animal species that rely on rainforest for a food and shelter source. Mactago and Macato's presence offers zoo visitors an opportunity to see the diversity of life contained within rainforest areas and connect this with the impact of deforestation. Signage on the macaw enclosure will provide key deforestation facts.

"As well as being great ambassadors for rainforest preservation, blue and gold macaws are visually stunning with their large size, brilliant colouring and powerful hooked beaks. One endearing characteristic is their tendency to blush on their bare facial skin when they are unsure of themselves. Mactago and Macato are a very welcome addition to our parrot court."

Name: Stephen Standley
Designation: Hamilton Zoo Director
Tel (Direct): 838 6954
Mobile:  021 912 113
Fax (Direct): 838 6960
Name:  Naomi Reynolds
Designation:  Communication Advisor
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6726
Mobile:  027 413 3448
Fax (Direct): 07 838 6761
Page reviewed: 02 Aug 2007 12:00am