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Click pictures for larger image of Bandit's new home at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

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Bandit, His Habitat and the Rainforest

As told by the wonderful people at the Cleveland MetroParks Zoo.

With the ten year anniversary of the Rainforest, the education division is modifying some of our programs and areas as well.  The JungleLab area has been a classroom for the past ten years.  It was not open to the public.  This year we will be modifying this area along with the Orchid Room to become public areas.  With this change comes a challenge of housing for one of our birds, Bandit the Scarlet Macaw.  We want one component of our program to become a behavior observation area.  But what kind of habitat could enable our guests to observe the bird without access to touching or feeding him?

Who is Bandit?  He is a Scarlet Macaw that arrived at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 1987.  Bandit was donated to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo by the U S Fish and Wildlife Service.  He was confiscated with a number of other birds that were illegally removed from the wild.  Unfortunately Banditís left wing was damaged due to illegal transport, and had to be surgically removed.  He is able to climb around trees and perches but will never fly.  The estimated survival rate for birds that are illegally obtained is only about 10%.  That means 9 out of 10 birds perish during the collection and transport process.

We looked into several housing ideas for Bandit.  During the search we came upon a manufacture of large acrylic display cases.  Our original desire was to have a tree in the observation area.  The company we found, Acrylic Bird Cages of Santa Clara California and they would design us an acrylic barrier that incorporated a tree perch in the center of the habitat.  The company originally developed from a products-display and trade-show graphics group.  Acrylic Bird Cages went online to become the first electronic acrylic bird cage fabrication shop. Their thinking is more for birds and their caretakers, who no longer have to rely on cookie cutter designs and metal bars for cages.  Customers can design their own habitat displays that will accommodate the birdís need for a comfortable and unobstructed view of their surroundings.  

Eric is our contact at the company and he designed the cage to our size specifications and our birds needs.  When he heard the story of  Bandit who was to live in the enclosure, he began designing and including extra features into the habitat at no extra charge.  Our project was moved up in priority and a special section in the shop has been cleared.  He is even planning on including shipping from California to Cleveland at no charge.

  Can this story get any better, yes it can.  One of our volunteers named Shirley Kerns found out about the new housing plans for Bandit, she generously donated the money needed to pay for his new home.  Shirley is one of Bandits care takers and wanted to make a donation to the Zoo in memory of her mother Dolores Fitch.