Expressing his love for wildlife with a paintbrush, Western Australian artist Brenton See has created a mural for one of Australia’s rarest birds at Perth Zoo.
There are less than 150 Western Ground Parrots remaining in the wild and Perth Zoo are working closely with Parks and Wildlife WA and community group, Friends of the Western Ground Parrot, to save this species from extinction.
Brenton volunteered his time and talent to paint a mural of the parrots in the Perth Zoo grounds as part of his endemic bird project.
“I’m just doing what I can with my art to raise awareness, I donated my time for free here,” Brenton said.
“It’s something that is really important to me.”
As part of his project, Brenton is painting murals of 17 endemic bird species, at the locations where they can be found.
With Western Ground Parrots being so rare, Brenton decided to paint at Perth Zoo, where a captive breeding program is trying to be established to save them parrots from extinction.
Arthur Ferguson, Perth Zoo’s Australian Fauna Supervisor, leads the program at the Zoo with a team of keepers. “We’ve certainly come a long way since the program started and we do believe we are getting very close to being able to breed the birds successfully now,” Arthur said.
Recently the team observed positive mating behaviour from male parrot Joy and female parrot, Fifi. A clutch of eggs has been laid and being artificially incubated by the Perth Zoo team.
With little known or recorded about this elusive species, Arthur’s team have been using CCTV monitoring to observe the aviaries, allowing them to gain a better understanding of the parrots without causing disturbance. The CCTV has captured some of the first ever seen images of a female Western Ground Parrot sitting on a nest.
As well as the high definition cameras, the setup includes microphone recording devices as well so the team can begin to interpret the birds calling. A noise that few people on the planet have ever heard.
“By working out what the birds require, we have a better chance of encouraging breeding,” Arthur said.
Brenton said he felt honoured to be able to paint his mural where there is work happening behind the scenes to save the Western Ground Parrot.
“It’s in Perth Zoo’s hands to help bring them back,” Brenton said.
Melissa Leo, Media and Communications Officer, Perth Zoo