The story of David Gammond from Al Azizia Birds Kingdom. PART I

June 16th, 2015 | by LubosTomiska
The story of David Gammond from Al Azizia Birds Kingdom. PART I
ZOOs and birdparks
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My experience’s and relationship with animals and birds in general started a when I was 6 years old being brought up by parents who were both very passionate about parrots, parakeets, lories, reptiles and smaller rodents. From a very early age I was responsible for helping out with the cleaning and feeding as both my parents had full time jobs. My knowledge grew over the years and I was hand raising birds at the age of 9 alongside my father Mr Mike Gammond. My experience at this age shaped my future, having hand reared Umbrella cockatoos, Chattering and Black Capped Lorries, Iligers macaws, Swainsons and Dusky lories and African Congo and Timneh Greys.

Alongside of all the birds we also had Guinea pigs, like most children, Russian and Syrian hamsters, Degu’s one Reticulated Python and Indonesian Boa constrictor , as well as two German hunting dogs and a fish pond. All this in a 3 bed end of terrace house with approx. ¾ of an acre of Garden and a Attic conversion for the snakes.

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David Gammond with two black cockatoos

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Most if not all of our holidays were taken up visiting different Zoo’s and bird gardens in the uk as well as private collections, where I would meet passionate breeders of all types of Parrots. These included, Len Hill the penguin millionaire from bird world, Gerald Durrell from Jersey zoo, Mr Stuart Muir (Shaldon wildlife trust & Curator of Newquay Zoo, an authority on Golden lion Tamarins, active conservationist and artist). All this by the age of 14 gave me a long term goal to work within the industry.

READ  Four Lear’s Macaw chicks raised at São Paulo ZOO

Most of my teenage years were similar to most in the 80’s and early 90’s – skate boarding, girls, music, and working in hospitality. I spent a couple of weeks a year helping my father and Rosemary Low at the Loro Parque in Tenerife as a general helper.

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Pesquests are one of the parrot species bred in Al Azizia Bird Kingdom

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In 1991, my first real experience came when I joined them both again at the breeding station (Roca Negra) at Palmitos Park, Gran Canaria, to assist with breeding and hand raising of all the bird stock. This was a massive turning point for me and under the tutelage of Rosemary and Mike I had the opportunity to work with some of the rarest parrots and soft bills to date.

After two years at Palmitos I returned to the UK and became a Asst Head keeper at a private Zoo in Charlwood – Gatwick Zoo and Aviaries. I had a diverse collection of animals under my care including Ruffed and Ring tailed lemurs, Capuchin Monkeys, Marmosets, cotton topped tamarins , Otters, penguins, Macaws, Maribou Storks, Mere Cats and a large ornamental Lake with Flamingos and other various wild fowl. This kept me busy for three years, before I took the decision to put myself through college and study Animal Science and husbandry at Higher national diploma. Whilst at college I worked in an animal rescue charity, focussing on dog rehabilitation and rehoming, and a small private bird collection focusing on import and export of birds and breeding.

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The Bahrain Story

After 20 years of working in Bahrain my father decided to retire and requested I come out to manage the collection. In 2011 there was unrest in Bahrain and the private collection had to be moved for safety reasons.

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My father had built the collection over this time for the owner Mr Abdul Aziz Kanoo who shared the same passion for parrots as my father. He was the first to breed Hyacinth macaws and Palm cockatoos in Bahrain and possibly the Middle East in the mid 90’s. The collection was moved and the decision to open a park and gardens to public was made. Myself, my wife Julie and my family relocated to Bahrain early in 2013 to work on the project to prepare for its opening this included, facilitating the build of the café interior, re landscaping the aviaries and planting where possible, some structural changes and resolution of water issues to be able to provide the birds with adequate shower facilities and to look at the impact the public would have on the birds and there breeding and make the necessary changes to provide the best possibly environment for the stock.

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Young cockatoos bred in Al Azizia

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Al Azizia Birds Kingdom

Amwaj is a collection of islands built on reclaimed land and was the idea and project of Mr Saud Kanoo the son of Abdul Aziz my father’s employer, which took over 8 years to complete.

We employ 13 members of staff from Nepal, Bangladesh and the Philippines 10 keepers and 3 for café giftshop and entrance most of which have worked at the previous site, and my foreman who has 18 years working with my father.

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Birds Kingdom Occupies 2500 square meters of land next to a lagoon and houses Bahrain’s largest and only collection of rare and endangered birds that is able to be viewed by the public. We operate a café (Nest-café), play area and gift shop on site. The facility is largely one of leisure and education (for school groups) alongside our breeding stock. We are the only breeding facility of its kind in Bahrain. We have been breeding now for two years with this year being our most successful.

READ  Rare Lear’s macaw hatched in São Paulo ZOO

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Young Red-tailed Cockatoo from Al Azizia Birds Kingdom

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We have 50 aviaries that house the parrots , macaws etc with varying dimensions and 3 large walkthrough planted aviaries that house a variety of fruit pigeons, doves and ground birds (each aviary is 12m high, 13m length, 20 m width at mid height and is shaped like a crown, see image). This aviary has been planted to provide shade nesting sites and houses the three varietys of Crown pigeons, Turacos, Luzon bleeding hearts, Nicobars, Emerald ground doves, Superb fruit doves, Red knobs , Rulruls, California quail, Bulbuls , Torres straight pigeons , Bruces pigeons, Yellow bellied pigeons, Imperial pigeons to name a few all of which have settled and are breeding well. With our recent arrivals (baby Luzon’s) (Scheepmakers Crowned and Victoria crowned pigeons) there are also a variety of mutations and pure white Emerald ground doves that have arrived.

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READ THE SECOND PART OF THIS ARTICLE TOMORROW!!

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DON'T MISS

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: The story of David Gammond from Al Azizia Birds Kingdom. PART II | Parrots Daily News

  2. Pingback: Al Azizia Bird Kingdom - Bhrain » Africa & Middle East - General

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