Smuggler's tale ends in birth of cockatoo chick at Cornwall's Paradise Park
Greedily the chick guzzles from the spoon as David Woolcock gently tips milk into the tiny bird's open beak.
The baby red-tailed black cockatoo recently hatched at Cornwall's Paradise Park and is being hand-reared.
The infant's parents, originally from Australia, have been together for many years but have not managed to raise any chicks for themselves, often breaking the eggs soon after laying. So Mr Woolcock, curator at the park, in Hayle, took an egg and hatched it in an incubator.
He said: "We are really pleased to have bred this species of cockatoo for the first time. The little chick is very active and its long fluffy yellow feathers make it very endearing." The parents came to the park after being smuggled into the UK as eggs and hatched in secret. They were concealed in a specially made vest, survived unbroken during the flight from the other side of the world and then successfully hatched in an incubator.
All the birds were later confiscated and placed with European bird gardens and zoos. They could not be returned to Australia because they were tame, due to being hand-reared, and the risk of disease being introduced.
Paradise Park took four of the birds, one of which was particularly friendly and has been trained to fly in the park's summer season Free Flying Bird Show.