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Cayman Turtle Centre’s volunteer, Josie Bush has been very busy trying out new ways to feed the 11 indigenous Cayman parrots – eight from Grand Cayman and three of the smaller species of Cayman Brac Parrots. The parrots are part of Cayman Turtle Centre’s Captive Breeding program, which has been instrumental in breeding rescue parrots within the facility, and then releasing them into the wild.
Josie was interested in behavioral enrichment which helps engage the parrots in activities to keep them active and interested, before they are released, she said. “Instead of putting fruits and vegetables in a bowl I’m putting them on a skewer,” she said. Ms Bush said she got the idea for the “Kebab” after seeing some pictures of parrots with toys on the internet. “I thought: ‘Instead of toys let’s put fruit and vegetables on a skewer,’” she said.
Recycling is always good for the environment, of course, and so when there was a problem with unsightly wild vines growing around the pond, Josie thought up another great idea to help enrich the parrots by using the vines rather than throwing them away: “What I did is grab a bunch of vines, separate them equally into eight pieces and rolled it up into a ball, and then there was a hibiscus flower underneath the ball so that the parrot will have to think of a way of eating the flower; they would have to tear the ball up to get to the flower, so it’s a nice way for them to use their claws.
Always passionate about making the park look even better, Josie recently decided to donate some rare banana orchids – Cayman’s national flower – from her back garden to the Blue Hole Nature Trail: “I’ve collected six banana orchids and I asked one of my friends to help me. When the orchids bloom the nature trail will look beautiful and people will enjoy them,” Josie said.