Guest speakers

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Rosemary Low

Rosemary Low is a prolific author of numerous articles and books on parrots that have been translated into many languages. She was the first person to write a book about parrot conservation entitled Endangered Parrots, which was published in 1984 with a revised edition in 1994. . She is currently completing a major book on the subject entitled Parrot Conservation: A view across four Decades. Rosemary has visited 29 countries to observe parrots in the wild, especially in South America. In recent years she has been involved with, and written widely about, bird conservation projects, and has spoken at many symposiums on the subject in Europe, Australia, the USA and Brazil. Rosemary is a tireless fighter for the conservation of birds. Since raising money for the conservation of the Imperial Parrot at the first Loro Parque Convention in 1986 she has been involved in raising funds for many parrot conservation projects. Rosemary has kept parrots since 1958 and says: “We are indeed privileged to keep such breathtakingly beautiful, intelligent and sentient creatures”. These thoughts are echoed in her recent book Understanding Parrots – Cues from Nature. She has a wide experience and knowledge and is an icon worldwide in the field of Aviculture. It is a great honour for us to count with her participation on the IX International Parrot Convention. We look forward to hear her lecture.

Marcia Weinzettl

Marcia has a post-graduate degree in Wildlife Biology. She worked 26 years in ex-situ reproduction in Brazil, prioritizing always research and improvement of reproductive techniques. She has been in charge of the management of zoos and of the most important breeding centers of psittacines in Brazil where she has obtained optimal results that have been published in various media. In September 2016 she accepted the invitation of Loro Parque and Loro Parque Fundación to be their bird keeper. Since then she has adapted the breeding methodology to the current reality. She assures that the development, adaptation and application of specific methodology for each breeding situation and species, are the main way to obtain the expected results. Today she is the consultant of the Reproductive Management Program in controlled environments of the Lear's Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari). It is a threatened and an endemic species to Brazil with which, the Loro Parque Fundación, has achieved an extraordinary breeding result thanks to the knowledge in optimizing the reproductive management of this and other species in similar situations. Marcia Weinzettl has lectured in different parts of the world showing her extensive knowledge of complex tropical psittacid species of South America, outstanding among which is the management of the Hyacinth macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) or the wonderful Golden conure (Guaruba guarouba) with which she obtained a relevant number of chicks. Marcia is undoubtedly one of the international references who will provide the convention participants with valuable information. Marcia is undoubtedly a reference in the international psittacidae world, enabling congress participants to expand and share their knowledge.

Prof. Dr. Gerry M. Dorrestein

Prof. Dr. Gerry M. Dorrestein is the director of the Dutch Research Institute for Avian and Exotic Animals (NOIVBD) and the head of its diagnostic pathology laboratory. He is specialist in veterinary pathology with special expertise in avian and exotic animal diseases. In 2010 he started a special research project on the relationship between avian bornavirus and proventricular dilatation disease (PDD) in parrots. Dr. Dorrestein serves as a visiting professor of avian and reptile pathology at the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brno, Czech Republic. He is an honorary professor at the Uludag University of Bursa, Turkey. Prior to 2006, Dr. Dorrestein served as a veterinary pathologist at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands for 30 years. For the last 15 years of his tenure at the university, he was the head of the Avian, Exotic Animal and Wildlife section. Prof Dorrestein is an honorary member of the European College Zoological Medicine (ECZM), past-treasurer of the European Association of Zoo- and Wildlife Veterinarians (EAZWV). He is the author and editor of several books related to avian and exotic animal medicine. He has published over 450 scientific and veterinary papers, and he is also a well-known national and international speaker on topics related to the pathology and medicine of pet birds, zoo animals and wildlife.

Thomas Arndt

Thomas Arndt is a world-famous ornithologist. He founded the publishing house Arndt-Verlag and is since 1988 publisher of the trade magazine „Papageien“, one of the most renowned magazine on parrots. He is also editor of the magazine WP-Magazin and co-author of several books. His speciality within ornithology are the parrots of South and Central America as well as the pygmy parrots. He described, in addition to several new subspecies, also the new species of Hocking's Parakeet in 2006 and the Pyrrhura parvifrons and Pyrrhura dilutissima in 2008. Thomas Arndt has observed and photographed parrots worldwide in the open air like no other, and for almost 35 years he has been on the road for several months a year. His focus is not on the known species, but on the unexplored parrots and the "white spots" on the parrot map. For 15 years he has been working intensively on the systematics of the Pyrrhura taxa in the Amazon Basin and surrounding areas. Together with Prof. Michael Wink, he presented a comprehensive revision of this group of parrots in 2017. Since 2008, in collaboration with Heinz Schnitker, he has been illustrating a taxonomic series in which all parrot species and subspecies are compared. The illustrations are published in advance in the form of posters and form the basis for a comprehensive identification book of parrots.

George Olah

Dr. George Olah is a scientist and conservation geneticist, mainly working on parrots and other birds. He acquired his Master of Science degree in Zoology, at the University of Veterinary Medicine in 2006 in Hungary. After his degree he participated in many field based research projects on parrots in Central and South America including Argentina, Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia. He worked for the Tambopata Macaw Project in the Peruvian Amazon for several years, first as the leader of the research center and later as the project coordinator. He also worked in the eco-tourism industry in Peru as lodge manager for one of the largest Peruvian eco-tourist companies. When he realized that the human impacts on the habitat of parrot and macaw species were accelerating, he decided to undertake a PhD in conservation biology to enable a scientifically based evaluation of conservation management in the area. He finished that degree at the Australian National University in 2015, where subsequently he is engaged in research as a Postdoctoral Fellow.

Chris Touchton

Chris Touchton lives in Florida (USA) and has been breeding Lories since 1989. More than 30 years! She started her collection with imported adult wild birds, which were found on the marketplaces years ago, and with species kept as pets. In 1992 she began to incubate eggs, and hand feed the chicks to increase the reproductive success in cases of possible death due to lack of parental attention or attack by predators. Now she has a population of at least 300 birds (150 pairs) corresponding to 30 different Lorie species. Chris tries to recover the population of the most vulnerable and less frequent Lories to avoid their extinction in the US Aviculture. In 2005 she formulated her own diet for this specific group within the world of Psittacids, as the available commercial ones were declining in quality and were no longer up quality standards. A Lorie’s diet based on her recipe is currently being created and marketed. She helped also a brand name to develop a powdered nectar diet for Lories in collaboration with other breeder´s and zoos input and reviews. Her experience based on practice and passion for the Lories has made her a relevant breeder in her sector, inspiring many expert breeders to achieve success with the specialized nectarivorous parrots.

Dener Giovanini

Loro Parque announces the presence of another keynote international speaker at the upcoming IX International Parrot Convention: Mr. Dener Giovanini is a recognized environmentalist who received the UNEP-Sasakawa award from the United Nations in 2003 for his outstanding role in defending biodiversity. Only another Brazilian, Chico Mendes, had received this distinction previously. The creation of new strategies in social communication, the establishment of innovative and important partnerships and the excellent results achieved by the organization he founded and coordinates, RENCTAS, conferred Dener Giovanini the status of an outstanding social entrepreneur by the three largest organization in the world of social entrepreneurship: Ashoka, Avina and Schwab Foundation. RENCTAS was founded in 1999 and has produced valuable reports on sustainable use and management of wildlife in Brazil. His strategies also inspired a Case Study by Harvard University. It is a privilege to count on such distinguished speaker as Dener Giovanini, whose work is based in the country with the largest number of known mammals’ species and freshwater fishes. Brazil also has the second largest amphibian population and host the third largest bird species population in the world. Unfortunately, Brazil has also the highest number of threatened parrots in the world.

Tony Silva

We are thrilled to announce our next speaker who is worldwide known in the parrot world. The first edition of his book Psittaculture was and still remains the bedside book of many parrot keepers in any country of the world. Tony Silva became mesmerized by parrots at the age of 10 when he started visiting a pet store that exhibited a Blue and Gold (Ara ararauna) and a Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao). He was told that macaws mated in the air and would not breed in captivity. That concept seemed incredible and sparked an interest that resulted in him acquiring his first big parrot by the age of 16. Soon the number of species and individuals grew and by 1978 Tony had achieved the first US breeding of the Slender-billed Conure (Enicognathus leptorhynchus). Tony´s curiosity, early success and interest led to more species being acquired and in travels to the Caribbean and South America to study parrots in the wild, as direct observations in the field were considered key to achieving success in captivity. Tony´s first significant field studies were conducted in Argentina during the 1980s, when weight and growth gains of hand-reared young Amazona aestiva were compared to young being reared in the wild by their parents. Tony has kept and bred in his private collection or during his tenure as Curator at Loro Parque 82% of all parrot species. His breeding achievements includes the Spix´s Macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii), this while working with various individuals and government agencies to establish the Spix´s Macaw recovery program—a project that has helped save this species from extinction. During his aviculture career spanning more than four decades, Tony has had hundreds of articles published. These have appeared in English, Spanish, French, Czech, German, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian and other languages. Tony has lectured on parrots in all continents and has had seven books published. Tony just recently completed co-authoring a paper naming and description a new member of the genus of Amazon: The Blue-winged Amazon (Amazona gomezgarzai), native to Mexico. Today, this prolific author hosts and manages a large breeding zoo stock in South Florida. The facility allows him to continue to expand on his vast knowledge base.

Volker Seidl

Volker Seidl was born in the former German Democratic Republic, he studied architecture and runs his own architecture firm. At the age of 25, he began to breed 3 pairs of parakeets, which in 1990 became 10 pairs. In addition, he obtained the reproduction of 2 pairs of the Cuban Amazon (Amazona leucocephala). After the fall of the Berlin Wall, and as a result of his breeding successes, he began to expand his breeding centre. In 1993 he built 140 indoor aviaries with access to the outside, and completed his centre with a hand-reared breeding station, a kitchen and quarantine rooms. Volker Seidl has a special devotion to the management and breeding of Amazons. He hosts and manages, together with his wife Ina Seidl, 14 species and subspecies of amazons in his centre. Each of these species shares aviary with at least 3 pairs to ensure genetic diversity. The highlight is the breeding of the Brazilian Amazon (Amazona brasiliensis) and the Charao Amazon (Amazona pretrei). Both species have been successfully bred for more than 10 years, exceeding the fertilization rate of 85%. He has published in many specialist bird magazines and passes on his knowledge through lectures to other breeders.

Erica Pacífico

We are pleased to announce speaker at the IX International Parrot Convention. Erica is a Brazilian Biologist with specialization in Wildlife Management and a Master’s Degree in Zoology. She has worked in Zoos, specialized bird breeding conservation centers and as a consultant on environmental impact studies based on avifauna. Currently, she is a PhD Student from the Conservation Biology Department in Doñana Biological Station, C.S.I.C. together with the Pablo de Olavide University (Spain), in collaboration with the Avian Genetics and Molecular Evolution Lab from São Paulo University (Brazil). Her PhD research is on the dynamics of the remaining Lear’s Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) population, using a multidisciplinary approach with molecular tools, ecological modeling, stable isotope analysis and indices of breeding success. She is also coordinating the Lear ́s Macaw Breeding Biology Monitoring Project, without interruption since 2008 in the Caatinga (Brazilian tropical dry forest) in northeast Brazil. This brilliant field, ex-situ and laboratory scientist, will present us the present and the immediate future of this species in Brazil.

Anil Garg

Our next speaker comes from India and is a reputable breeder and avian expert. Anil Garg's passion began at the age of six. Since its first breeding achievement, his enthusiasm has grown and he now houses an extensive and varied collection of exotic parrots in its two large breeding facilities situated in Bangalore and Calcutta. Among his most personally treasured achievements are his regular successful breeding of the Hawk-headed Parrots and that of his beloved Palm Cockatoos. The Palms have proven to be his biggest challenge to date and success was only achieved after numerous failed attempts. Anil is also a founding member and secretary of the Avian Society of India (ASI). The ASI represents the first society of its kind in India and aims to not only share and spread knowledge, but also to bring breeders together under the umbrella of a national organisation that represents aviculture and aviculturists from the ground level up. Away from the birds, Anil runs several companies, across a number of fields, among them, software companies along with businesses in both the confectionary and fertilizer manufacturing industries. You will undoubtedly be fascinated by the interesting presentation of Indian aviculture by Anil Garg.

Robert North

Our next speaker invites us to travel through Australia to get to know its incredible parrots. Robert North is based in Brisbane, Australia, and has for over 60 years been a keen aviculturist caring, for and breeding everything from racing pigeons to finches and soft bills. For the past two decades he has focused on the extraordinary variety of Australian parrots. While he confesses he is “still learning” about these both comic and complex birds, each with their own character, he continues to study, video and photograph them with meticulous attention to detail. Roberts first job was as a photographer and television news cameraman, and he brings this craft to the world of birds. He has been guest speaker at bird conferences in Taiwan and India, and his photographs have been published in magazines and online around the world. His philosophy both in life and towards aviculture has always remained the same- set a standard, be observant, and never stop asking questions. “With birds you’re always learning,” he says. “And you meet people from all nationalities and all walks of life. We all enjoy the same passion and love of birds.”

Maikel Cañizares

Maikel Cañizares comes from Cuba and is deeply committed to conservation of fauna. Maikel Cañizares Morera graduated in Biology in 1998 and worked on conservation projects in protected areas of Central Cuba. He was director of the ecological reserve “Lomas de Banao” where he completed his Master's degree in Ecological Studies on the Conga hutia, a species of rodent endemic to Cuba. He is a researcher at the Institute of ecology and systematics in Havana and has specialized in ecology, management and conservation of forest birds, with emphasis on the conservation and management of Cuban psittacines. On these subjects he has published numerous scientific articles as well as chapters in books and in national and international journals. He is a scientific advisor at the National Forestry Directorate for Cuban Wildlife Policy and is currently President of the Cuban Society of Zoology. From his university studies, he was aware of the conservation problems that affect the Cuban fauna, specifically the psittacides. In 1998 he began his work on the management and conservation of the two species of Cuban parrots and he has worked for the conservation of these species in Cuba for 20 years. He has designed and implemented different models of nesting boxes for parrots that are successfully used in various Cuban locations and has collaborated with other conservation projects in Panama, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. His work has always been linked to local communities, aware that they are a key element in biodiversity conservation. His conservation work linked to birds and communities has always been solved with enthusiasm and practical solutions. Experiences, that he will share with us in the next international congress of Loro Parque.

DRA. AUGUSTE VON BAYERN

Dr. Auguste von Bayern is a zoologist who seeks to understand how animals, in particular parrots and crows, think and is interested in revealing how intelligence evolves. Her research interests comprise socio-cognitive abilities as well as flexible problem-solving skills and vocal learning abilities of these birds. She leads the Comparative Cognition Research Group at the Max-Planck-Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen (Germany), which since 2014 runs a research station in the Loro Parque on Tenerife in collaboration the Loro Parque Foundation (LPF), where she and her team investigate the cognitive abilities of different parrot species comparatively. Auguste has been fascinated by wild animals and animal behavior since childhood, studied biology in Munich and then graduated in Zoology at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. After completing her PhD on the social intelligence of jackdaws at the University of Cambridge, she became a postdoc at University of Oxford where she studied flexible tool-related cognitive abilities of New Caledonian crows, the famous habitually tool-using crow species, before turning her scientific. Auguste is keenly interested in conservation of endangered wildlife and environmental protection. She is chair of the Förderkreis Biotopia e.V., an initiative for an international Life Sciences platform in Munich, Bavaria, which will raise awareness for environmental issues and biodiversity conservation and which will enthuse people, particularly children for nature and life sciences.

Dra. Anastasia Krasheninnikova

Dr. Anastasia Krasheninnikova is a behavioural biologist, mainly working on animal cognition and communication. She acquired her Master of Science degree in Biology, at the University of Hamburg in 2010 in Germany, where she also obtained her PhD degree in 2014. Her research is focussed on the evolution of cognitive skills, where she is particularly interested in whether, and if so, how, animal cognition is influenced by different socio- ecological aspects. During her studies at the Behavioural Ecology Lab in Hamburg, she travelled to and worked in different zoos and research facilities around Europe. Her projects also included investigations on free-ranging populations of invasive parrot species in Germany and Spain. Since 2015 she is a postdoctoral researcher and lab coordinator at the Max-Planck Comparative Cognition Research Group (CCRG) headed by Dr Auguste von Bayern. The CCRG is a research station associated with the Max-Planck-Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, close to Munich, Germany, which is run jointly with the Loro Parque Fundación and focuses on comparative cognition research. Here Anastasia continues investigating how brains evolve in adaptation to their socio-ecological environments. Her research focus on comparative approach implies investigating the evolutionary history of cognition not only in different parrot species but more broadly across different taxa. Thus, more recently her research also involves projects on cognition and communication as well as animal welfare in cetaceans.

Dr. José L. Tella

Our next speaker stands out for doing advanced field research with parrots. Dr. José L. Tella graduated in Biology (1992) and obtained his PhD degree (1996) at the University of Barcelona. He currently works as a research Professor at the Doñana Biological Station (Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas), in Seville, Spain, from where he directs a research group dedicated mainly to the study and conservation of birds. His research is conducted in several countries, having carried out 60 field expeditions spread over all continents, although he focuses mainly on the Neotropical region. For the past 15 years, he has focused on the study of psittacines, addressing topics that cover the expansion of invasive psittacines and their impact on native species, the factors that cause the extinction of psittacines in their natural environments (mainly habitat transformations and their capture for the pet market), and the ecological role they play in nature. His field work has combined them with the maintenance of up to a hundred species of psittacines in captivity, for research purposes. This close contact with parrots in controlled environments has allowed him to undertake experimental research, and to better understand the behaviour of this important group within birds and to propose new hypotheses and research in nature. His privileged vision and knowledge of parrots allows us to better understand the role of these birds in nature.

Luis Ortiz Catedral

Luis Ortiz-Catedral is a Lecturer in Environmental Science and Ecology at the Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand. Luis studies the biology and conservation of Cyanoramphus parakeets since 2004 and has developed translocation protocols for these since 2010. His research focuses on developing monitoring methods for small populations on islands. More recently his research has expanded to include Iguanas and Snakes in the Galapagos Islands.

Nuhacet Fernández Gallardo

Within the field of veterinary medicine, Psittaciformes require a high degree of specialization, since they comprise a great variety of species. Veterinarians must know the peculiarities of each one to assist them correctly. This discipline has been developed step by step by our next speaker: Nuhacet Fernández Gallardo. From a young age, Nuhacet showed an interest in birds and seize each opportunity to visit the Loro Parque. This early contact with parrots helped him to find his calling. He studied at the Veterinarian University of Las Palmas, where he specialized in exotic avian medicine. Since 2010 he is a veterinarian of Loro Parque where he assists more than thousand birds every year. Thanks to this experience he specialized in avian endoscopy, paediatric veterinary medicine, reproduction and preventive medicine. His works with Lear´s and Spix macaws are remarkable. Nuhacet is also an active field researcher. The information gathered from observing and photographing parrots in nature on several continents, enable him to better understand the needs of parrots. In his own collection, he keeps African and Amazonian parrots. Being a reference in veterinary medicine, he participates as a speaker in different national and international conferences, where he stands out remarkably for his capacity of communication explaining complex veterinary processes in a simple and pleasant way.

Rafael Zamora

He has been passionate about nature since a young age. While studying Biology at the University of La Laguna, Tenerife, he created his own bird breeding laboratory where he handles more than 500 species, among them also reptiles and small mammals. This experience was essential in order to get a research grant from the University of La Laguna and Loro Parque Fundación. He studied the behaviour of Spix`s macaws during two years, and become part of the specialist staff of Loro Parque and Loro Parque Fundación. Throughout his career he specialised in Zoology, he worked as ornithologist and curator at Loro Parque Fundación, as well as advisor for different international breeding projects of endangered species. Recognized as an outstanding international speaker, he has lectured in prestigious conventions in Europe, Central and South America, Asia and Oceania. He is author of several scripts for nature documentaries, and he also participates regularly in interviews and environmental talks on various radio and television programs. In addition, he is a frequent writer of articles specialized in Psittacidae, nature and ornithology. His articles on breeding and conservation are published in the five continents. His expertise of birds in the wild, as well as in controlled environments is a powerful tool for controlling the ex and in-situ projects of Loro Parque Fundación, where Rafael Zamora currently holds the position of Scientific Director.