Menkit Prince, Uki
Thirty years all alone, in a cage, with no enrichment. By day, parked under a shelter by a busy main road. At night, on weekends and public holidays, locked away in a hot, dark car workshop with toxic fumes from chemicals. Alone, forgotten, ignored, a cockatoo named Toyota no longer sings or even talks.
Cockatoos are intelligent, hilarious, playful, exuberant, sometimes enraged, but always needing interaction. Youtube videos show this native Australian bird even dancing wildly to rock music or Elvis or sometimes just imitating dogs barking. But not Toyota.
If you approach his cage he rapidly moves up the cage using his beak and claws to the highest perch as if the approach of a human being strikes terror to his heart. Has he become distrustful of humans who lock him away from everything that is natural for a bird?
It’s possible he has never flown and certainly could not fly in his 1m x 1m x 2m cage. Water is in a rusty metallic container. His diet appears to be chopped carrot, celery and grain with an occasional banksia flower on the floor. His ‘toy’ an old phone book– no swing or mirror.
Murwillumbah is a depressing place to drive through knowing Toyota is suffering needlessly. He could be in a sanctuary or an aviary with other cockatoos, have a varied diet and clean water, feel the rain wash his feathers and the sun warm his body – or maybe have some privacy in a quiet enclosed area. Is it asking too much to have these basic needs met?
Many people have tried for years to get this bird out of this depressing situation. An online petition has over 7,400 signatures.
If you drive by the Hayes Toyota car showroom opposite Budd Park, Murwillumbah, please send up a prayer that his life will get better before his 100-year lifespan ends.