The rare parrots smuggled to the UK in the petrol tank of a car

  • Watch Grace Pascoe's report.

Incredibly rare parrots smuggled into the UK in the petrol tank of a car are now getting settled into their new home in Cornwall.

Bright blue Lear's macaws are an endangered breed of parrot and there are only 12 of them in the UK.

The birds had previously been living in Leeds, but have now been re-homed by Paradise Park, in Hayle.

The sanctuary's curator David Woolcock said three birds were initially confiscated by Customs after being smuggled into the UK in the petrol tank of a car.

There were initially just three birds but they have since bred and so there are now 12 living in Cornwall.

A pair of Lear's Macaws enjoying their new home in Hayle Credit: Alison Hales
Paradise Park & the World Parrot Trust have worked together to create a suitable new aviary Credit: Alison Hales

Mr Woolcock said: "They were then placed at a bird garden in Leeds and they’ve been there ever since.

"Unfortunately the bird garden in Leeds has had to close down so customs were looking for a good home for the birds and asked us if we would take them on, which we were delighted to do."

Mr Woolcock said housing 12 of the birds is "no mean feat" and the sanctuary had to build a large new aviary to accommodate them.

It is the first time the parrots have ever been on display to the public.

This is the first time Lear's Macaws have been on display to the public in the UK Credit: Alison Hales

As the only birds of their kind in the UK, their preservation is critical.

David said: "They’re incredibly rare, they come from north eastern Brazil and they’re unusual for parrots in as much as they nest not in trees but in cliffs and that’s one of the reasons they’re so rare in the wild."