Management at a wildlife park in Britain have had to remove and separate a group of five African grey parrots from public view after the birds developed a habit of constantly swearing at visitors and staff of the facility.
According to CNN Travel, the five birds – Eric, Jade, Elsie, Tyson and Billy – were donated to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park in Friskney by their respective owners in the space of a week. The birds, who were quarantined together prior to being displayed in public, quickly developed a habit of hurling expletives at people.
“It just went ballistic, they were all swearing,” Steve Nichols, the facility’s chief executive, told the news platform. “We were a little concerned about the children.”
“I get called a fat t**t every time I walk past,” Nichols added.
Though most of the customers enjoyed the spectacle and also indulged the birds, management ultimately decided to separate and remove them from public view. “The visitors were giving them as much back as what they were giving to them,” Nichols said.
“They literally, within a very short period of time, started swearing at each other,” Nichols revealed. “’F**k off’ is the most common one.”
“It’s a very easy one for them to learn,” Nichols continued, saying that the parrots could hurl “anything you can think of.”
The decision was primarily taken for the sake of the park’s younger visitors, with the hope that the birds will eventually stop swearing as they’ve been separated.
“Some visitors found it funny but with kids visiting at weekends, we decided to move them,” Nichols told BBC. “I’m hoping they learn different words within colonies – but if they teach the others bad language and I end up with 250 swearing birds, I don’t know what we’ll do.”
Touted for their intelligence and ability to effortlessly impersonate human voices, African grey parrots are the largest of their species in Africa and also one of the most popular pet-birds globally. In 2018, however, the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the species as endangered.