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90-year-old cockatoo eyes Guinness record

First Posted 06:37:00 02/21/2010

He used to have a mass of white feathers and on his head was a crest that unfolded like an umbrella. But at 90, this umbrella cockatoo swings silently in his cage, shivering even when the midday sun is up.

The cockatoo, named Arthur, may have exceeded the average lifespan of birds like him, but he has lost all his pearly white feathers and his gorgeous crest.

His custodians strive to take good care of him in the hopes that Arthur will beat the current Guinness title holder for the oldest umbrella cockatoo, which is 130 years old.

?Let us see if Arthur can beat the existing Guinness title holder,? said Giovanni Stephen Romarate, officer-in-charge of the Cebu City Zoo.

Arthur was a pet of Romarate's grandfather who lived in the town of Dalaguete, Cebu province, but his grandfather, Guillermo Canaya died at the age of 84 years old. Arthur was left in the custody of his father.

Early this year, Romarate brought Arthur to the zoo to let him live among other animals.

?I just recently brought him to the zoo because my father first hesitated because Arthur is so old he came l from my grandfather,? Romarate explained.

Arthur is the oldest of all 68 animals in the Cebu City Zoo in barangay Kalunasan, Cebu City.

Romarate said most umbrella cockatoos, also known as white-crested cockatoos, get cataracts past 40 years of age but Arthur was well taken care of by his family.

?They used to sing a duet 'My Way' and 'Matud Nila' with my lolo but his voice box was broken with old age,? Romarate explained.

Arthur can no longer speak like other parrots , neither can he fly because all his feathers are gone.

Like an old man, his blue skin is wrinkled, but he is still physically active, clinging to anywhere he can swing, posing in front of the camera and cuddling close to every human touch.

Romarate said Arthur likes to feel the heat of a human touch because he doesn't have feathers and needs the heat.

The zoo caretakers make sure that he stays under the sun because he will be shivering under the shades of the trees.

Umbrella cockatoos are native to Indonesia and are good natured, active, and very affectionate birds.

To bring Arthur's feathers, Romarate gives daily vitamin A and B and gives him more carbohydrates like cooked rice.

?Being the zoo OIC, I would like to let the people know that if we take good care for our nature (plants and animals) we can educate a lot of people and make them realize that it is important to be responsible for the environment because a lot of lives rely on the environment,? Romarate told Cebu Daily News.

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