Safari Niagara to welcome new feathered friend

Fort Erie residents can look forward to greeting a new resident at Safari Niagara.

Merlin, a colourful macaw who served as the mascot for the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, will soon be calling Stevensville home.

Merlin’s move comes after the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted his well-being. As Dr. Kim Peacock, Merlin’s veterinarian, explained, the lack of “visitor interaction” caused by the pandemic led to signs of stress and depression in the social bird.

Macaws thrive on interaction and exploration, and the change in routine took a toll on Merlin’s health.

To ensure Merlin’s happiness and well-being, the Nova Scotia museum decided to rehome him at a facility that could provide a more stimulating environment. Safari Niagara, a certified zoo focused on animal welfare, perfectly fit the bill.

“We are excited that Merlin will become part of a family of macaws at Safari Niagara, spending each day in a lush, secure, and stimulating environment,” said Laura Bennett, Director of Nova Scotia Museums.

Safari Niagara is eager to welcome Merlin and offer him the opportunity to socialize with other birds.

“[We] are looking forward to getting to know Merlin,” said Lana Borg, Animal Care Manager at Safari Niagara. “Our team works collaboratively to safeguard the health and wellness of our animals, and this influences how we care for our rehomed parrot population. Merlin [will have] the opportunity to engage with other macaws and exhibit natural wild behaviours.”

Merlin, a hybrid rainbow macaw hatched in captivity in 2002, arrived at the museum in 2006.

At 22 years old, he still has a long life ahead of him, with the average macaw lifespan being 85 years.

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