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Pinioned birds at Animal Kingdom—UPDATED

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I messaged my "local" zoo (Durrell wildlife trust), re the flamingos they have and received a suprising response saying they do practice pinioning. Whilst i agree this practice seems wrong to me i will still support the place as a whole as the good work towards conservation and critically endagered animals outweigh the bad. Not saying my view is right ,it's just my view.
Thanks for your post. I’m sorry to hear that this was the answer you received, though I respect your decision to continue supporting the trust. Let’s hope that they, along with zoos more generally, move away from pinioning in the years ahead. Enquiries like yours, which show that the public is aware of the practice, will no doubt help bring about change.
 

larryz

Well-Worn Member
Premium Member
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Everyone was so happy to see the otters frolicking in the water and delightfully swimming away. Until a Killer Whale came up and ate them both.
I blame SeaWorld... damn #Blackfish.
 

FettFan

Well-Known Member
My partner and I aren’t fans of zoos (we feel sorry for the animals) but wanted to see Pandora, so we rope-dropped Animal Kingdom yesterday with the intention of bypassing all the live “exhibits” and doing the other attractions and shows. We were having a wonderful time (Flight of Passage was truly amazing), and then we made the mistake of taking a shortcut across Discovery Island, where we happened to catch sight of a vulture just sitting on the grass. We were confused as to why it wouldn’t fly away, and so we asked a cast member. She told us its wings were clipped to prevent flight, adding that it wouldn’t be able to survive if allowed to fly off. As I later found out through the wonders of Google, “clipped” is the euphemistic way of describing what they do to these birds, which is to remove parts of the wings entirely to make them permanently flightless (a procedure called pinioning). I suppose I can understand the justification in the case of endangered species that need to be kept and bred in captivity (which these vultures happened to be), but they do it also for birds that are far more numerous and really don’t need to be kept in zoos. All those flamingoes you see happily wading around? They can’t fly either.

While I realise that this is a zoo problem rather than an Animal Kingdom problem, I really wish Disney would stick to creatures of the animatronic variety rather than participate in these barbaric practices. I can’t see the magic in gawking at a hobbled bird.
That's not what clipping is. Clipping is cutting the pinfeathers short on their wings to prevent them from flying the feathers grow back completely in 3-4 months, so it has to be done at least 3-4 times a year on the birds.

I do this to my chickens all the time to to keep them from flying over the fences. It's harmless to the birds...no different from getting a haircut or manicure.



Pinioning is completely different....its the surgical removal of the pinion joint (aka the bird's "Fingers") to prevent the flight feathers from developing in the first place. Typically this is done with certain ducks (runners in particular) and swans.

It's more akin to having a cat declawed.... possibly cruel, possibly not, all depending on your own point of view.
 

FettFan

Well-Known Member
Also, it's most likely a legal requirement to pinion the birds, considering that they are all essentially invasive species that have to be contained and restricted in their movements.


Florida is kind of touchy about that sort of thing after all.


But nobody is as touchy as the Australians. Hint: Johnny Depp and former wife Amber Heard almost wound up in an Australian prison for sneaking their Yorkshire terriers into the country in defiance of the national quarantine law.
 

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
That's not what clipping is. Clipping is cutting the pinfeathers short on their wings to prevent them from flying the feathers grow back completely in 3-4 months, so it has to be done at least 3-4 times a year on the birds.

I do this to my chickens all the time to to keep them from flying over the fences. It's harmless to the birds...no different from getting a haircut or manicure.



Pinioning is completely different....its the surgical removal of the pinion joint (aka the bird's "Fingers") to prevent the flight feathers from developing in the first place. Typically this is done with certain ducks (runners in particular) and swans.

It's more akin to having a cat declawed.... possibly cruel, possibly not, all depending on your own point of view.
Also, it's most likely a legal requirement to pinion the birds, considering that they are all essentially invasive species that have to be contained and restricted in their movements.


Florida is kind of touchy about that sort of thing after all.


But nobody is as touchy as the Australians. Hint: Johnny Depp and former wife Amber Heard almost wound up in an Australian prison for sneaking their Yorkshire terriers into the country in defiance of the national quarantine law.
Please read the rest of the thread. The difference between clipping and pinioning has already been addressed, as too has the question of whether pinioning is a legal requirement (it isn’t).
 

21stamps

Well-Known Member
Also, it's most likely a legal requirement to pinion the birds, considering that they are all essentially invasive species that have to be contained and restricted in their movements.


Florida is kind of touchy about that sort of thing after all.


But nobody is as touchy as the Australians. Hint: Johnny Depp and former wife Amber Heard almost wound up in an Australian prison for sneaking their Yorkshire terriers into the country in defiance of the national quarantine law.
I’d just like to take this opportunity and announce that I am in 100% Support of the hunting, and killing, of all Pythons in SoFla.

Kill. Them. All.
 

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
An update for those who are interested:

Back in December/January, I wrote to a number of Animal Kingdom zookeepers and vets whose email addresses were publicly available online. None of them responded.

In early February, I sent a message to the generic Guest Services email address, knowing it would take them some time to come back with an answer. After I phoned last week to check the status of my enquiry, they finally wrote to me earlier today. I had asked two questions: first, whether the lappet-faced vulture at the foot of the Tree of Life had been pinioned (as discussed in the first post of this thread); and second, where AK's flight-restriction policies stood more generally, especially in light of the AZA's recommendation that pinioning be phased out. My first question also referred to (and asked about) the vulture's offspring, which a CM told me had recently hatched in the park.

The reply to my first question was as follows:

"Specifically, our lappet-faced vultures came to us as a rescue after being injured in the wild. Because of this, they’re now reliant on human care and have been flight restricted since they’re unable to be released back into the wild."

This didn't tell me whether the vultures had been pinioned, and it also implied that all of the vultures were rescues, which isn't the case for the chicks that were bred at AK itself. Since my question asked directly whether these birds had been pinioned, I can only assume that the avoidance of a straightforward answer constitutes a yes.

As for my second question, the reply was even less satisfactory:

"As an Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)-accredited facility, we work closely with the organization to examine current and future animal care and management practices. We also have a strong focus on overall animal care and welfare and play a leadership role in many AZA programs."

Generic boilerplate, with nothing at all about pinioning or flight-restriction policies. Again, the logical inference is that they practise pinioning and don't want to say so in writing.

I'm disappointed but not really surprised by these vague and evasive answers. I'm still weighing up whether it's worth pushing for more details.
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
I commend your diligence at pursuing an answer to what is an important question for you.

I’m sure the stock answer you received is part of a Disney script and that level of customer service is unable to give further detail.
 

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I commend your diligence at pursuing an answer to what is an important question for you.

I’m sure the stock answer you received is part of a Disney script and that level of customer service is unable to give further detail.
Thank you!

They ostensibly contacted relevant individuals at AK before sending me that answer, which is why it's supposed to have taken them so long. But yes, I wasn't expecting much. It's a shame that the emails I sent out to specific people weren't answered. Perhaps they have a policy of ignoring such enquiries from members of the public.
 

The Empress Lilly

Well-Known Member
An update for those who are interested:

Back in December/January, I wrote to a number of Animal Kingdom zookeepers and vets whose email addresses were publicly available online. None of them responded.

In early February, I sent a message to the generic Guest Services email address, knowing it would take them some time to come back with an answer. After I phoned last week to check the status of my enquiry, they finally wrote to me earlier today. I had asked two questions: first, whether the lappet-faced vulture at the foot of the Tree of Life had been pinioned (as discussed in the first post of this thread); and second, where AK's flight-restriction policies stood more generally, especially in light of the AZA's recommendation that pinioning be phased out. My first question also referred to (and asked about) the vulture's offspring, which a CM told me had recently hatched in the park.

The reply to my first question was as follows:

"Specifically, our lappet-faced vultures came to us as a rescue after being injured in the wild. Because of this, they’re now reliant on human care and have been flight restricted since they’re unable to be released back into the wild."

This didn't tell me whether the vultures had been pinioned, and it also implied that all of the vultures were rescues, which isn't the case for the chicks that were bred at AK itself. Since my question asked directly whether these birds had been pinioned, I can only assume that the avoidance of a straightforward answer constitutes a yes.

As for my second question, the reply was even less satisfactory:

"As an Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)-accredited facility, we work closely with the organization to examine current and future animal care and management practices. We also have a strong focus on overall animal care and welfare and play a leadership role in many AZA programs."

Generic boilerplate, with nothing at all about pinioning or flight-restriction policies. Again, the logical inference is that they practise pinioning and don't want to say so in writing.

I'm disappointed but not really surprised by these vague and evasive answers. I'm still weighing up whether it's worth pushing for more details.
Trade and catching of many species is limited or outright prohibited. That's why zoo's are so eager to adopt 'rescued' animals. High prices are paid for injured, lost or stranded animals, so that a zoo can rescue them for the rest of their lives. Millions for killer whales.

The zoos then present this method of acquisition as their being an animal shelter...

Although sometimes the lines between zoo, shelter and reserve are quite blurred indeed.
 

larryz

Well-Worn Member
Premium Member
An update for those who are interested:

Back in December/January, I wrote to a number of Animal Kingdom zookeepers and vets whose email addresses were publicly available online. None of them responded.

In early February, I sent a message to the generic Guest Services email address, knowing it would take them some time to come back with an answer. After I phoned last week to check the status of my enquiry, they finally wrote to me earlier today. I had asked two questions: first, whether the lappet-faced vulture at the foot of the Tree of Life had been pinioned (as discussed in the first post of this thread); and second, where AK's flight-restriction policies stood more generally, especially in light of the AZA's recommendation that pinioning be phased out. My first question also referred to (and asked about) the vulture's offspring, which a CM told me had recently hatched in the park.

The reply to my first question was as follows:

"Specifically, our lappet-faced vultures came to us as a rescue after being injured in the wild. Because of this, they’re now reliant on human care and have been flight restricted since they’re unable to be released back into the wild."

This didn't tell me whether the vultures had been pinioned, and it also implied that all of the vultures were rescues, which isn't the case for the chicks that were bred at AK itself. Since my question asked directly whether these birds had been pinioned, I can only assume that the avoidance of a straightforward answer constitutes a yes.

As for my second question, the reply was even less satisfactory:

"As an Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)-accredited facility, we work closely with the organization to examine current and future animal care and management practices. We also have a strong focus on overall animal care and welfare and play a leadership role in many AZA programs."

Generic boilerplate, with nothing at all about pinioning or flight-restriction policies. Again, the logical inference is that they practise pinioning and don't want to say so in writing.

I'm disappointed but not really surprised by these vague and evasive answers. I'm still weighing up whether it's worth pushing for more details.
Pray, provide PETA's position on the propriety of pinioning prominent predatory pigeons...
 

J_Carioca

Well-Known Member
An update for those who are interested:

Back in December/January, I wrote to a number of Animal Kingdom zookeepers and vets whose email addresses were publicly available online. None of them responded.

In early February, I sent a message to the generic Guest Services email address, knowing it would take them some time to come back with an answer. After I phoned last week to check the status of my enquiry, they finally wrote to me earlier today. I had asked two questions: first, whether the lappet-faced vulture at the foot of the Tree of Life had been pinioned (as discussed in the first post of this thread); and second, where AK's flight-restriction policies stood more generally, especially in light of the AZA's recommendation that pinioning be phased out. My first question also referred to (and asked about) the vulture's offspring, which a CM told me had recently hatched in the park.

The reply to my first question was as follows:

"Specifically, our lappet-faced vultures came to us as a rescue after being injured in the wild. Because of this, they’re now reliant on human care and have been flight restricted since they’re unable to be released back into the wild."

This didn't tell me whether the vultures had been pinioned, and it also implied that all of the vultures were rescues, which isn't the case for the chicks that were bred at AK itself. Since my question asked directly whether these birds had been pinioned, I can only assume that the avoidance of a straightforward answer constitutes a yes.

As for my second question, the reply was even less satisfactory:

"As an Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)-accredited facility, we work closely with the organization to examine current and future animal care and management practices. We also have a strong focus on overall animal care and welfare and play a leadership role in many AZA programs."

Generic boilerplate, with nothing at all about pinioning or flight-restriction policies. Again, the logical inference is that they practise pinioning and don't want to say so in writing.

I'm disappointed but not really surprised by these vague and evasive answers. I'm still weighing up whether it's worth pushing for more details.
I really appreciate you posting this and, more importantly, pursuing the issue in the first place.

I remember spending the last night of my honeymoon in AK Lodge and looking out and wondering about the pelicans that were in the watering hole at the back of Jambo House. I then went down and asked one of the CMs and got the answer. It upset me a lot. I really feel that WDW makes great efforts to take care of the animals they have, and I am very supportive of the Disney Conservation Fund's work. Overall I can justify AK to myself based on their conservation-related activities. But pinioning a bird does not sit well with me at all. It's one thing to keep an animal in captivity but another to permanently deprive it of one of its most basic behaviours.

I would be totally willing to send a letter to AK asking for their policy on pinioning.
 
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