I find myself talking about and giving updates on the newest Animal Ambassadors quite often. I've realized that I need to highlight some of the old true blue Ambassadors much more than I have. So today I'm going to talk about Zoe, the red lored Amazon parrot.
She has been with Animal Wonders since it's inception. Augusto and I decided to start Animal Wonders when we still lived in California. It was 2007 when the decision was made, we were moving back to my hometown of Potomac and we were going to pursue our dream of bringing animal education to western Montana. It was a long shot, but we both felt that it was just going to work out, some way some how. We already had a house full of rescued animals, about 10-20, I can't recall exactly. We were both working at animal facilities full time and educating crowds of Californians about the wonders of wildlife and nature. What was missing was being able to rescue more displaced exotic animals. This was a big driving factor in our decision to start our own organization. So many educational outreaches use exotic animals, purchase those animals from breeders. We wanted to take in and house the displaced animals that had fallen victim to impulse buys and other sad stories. So that's when we really started to open our home to the displaced souls of the amazing Ambassadors to be!
Zoe came to us a few months before we made the move to MT. She was purchased by a woman who already owned a large macaw, whom she loved. When she saw baby Zoe, she couldn't resist. She brought her home and intended to love her, unfortunately the macaw became aggressive with jealousy. Instead of making the arrangements to satisfy the birds, she decided she just couldn't keep Zoe. She was trying to sell Zoe on Craigslist for a drastically reduced price and Animal Wonders was worried that Zoe would end up in a home that didn't truly love her, they just thought she was a good deal. After hearing what Zoe would become if she came to live at Animal Wonders, the woman was happy to send her on her way. Zoe was distraught that her "mother" was no longer around, she pined for her and resisted bonding with Augusto and I. But after several weeks she learned how to cope with her new surroundings and started to settle in. She learned to eat a balanced diet and even enjoyed trying new foods! She also was quick to pick up on the training game. She learned her first few behaviors in just a few days. This is when she learned to shake her head "no" and how to fall backward when "shot" with a fake gun. She also started learning other subtle things, like: stepping up, playing with toys, climbing a rope, what no means, listening, crating, touching and clipping wings and toes, and all around communication with a human. She was perfect.
A few months later, Zoe was joined in the bird area by Chongo, a lilac crowned Amazon parrot. He was completely different than Zoe, but he took to her like gum to the bottom of a table. Zoe was content to have human interaction and was indifferent to Chongo, but she tolerated him sleeping on the perch closest to her enclosure at night. Since then they have formed a friendship and enjoy each others company, from a safe distance.
Zoe absolutely loves going out to presentations! We were worried that she might be overwhelmed at first, but she was a shining start. She reveled in the spotlight and hammed it up whenever the audience laughed, cooed, and clapped at her fun and interesting behaviors. She has been a constant entertainer and educator since Animal Wonders very first show. Thank you Zoe for being as wonderful as you are. I'm looking forward to spending the next 50+ years in your company.