The staff at the Fun Jungle children’s zoo at Kibbutz Beit Zera in the Jordan Valley were stunned to discover when they came to work this week that 31 rare and valuable parrots had been stolen from their cages, Israel Hayom reported. In addition, the safe in the zoo office had been broken into and all the money and valuables stolen. Eventually, the parrots were located in the PA and a complex operation was organized to retrieve them.
“We were in shock,” Shaul Stein, a kibbutz member and the owner of the zoo, told Israel Hayom. “The burglars did a professional job but they packed the parrots cruelly into tiny cages and left behind signs of a struggle, feathers and blood. I filed a complaint with the police, which launched an investigation, but I knew that I had to act fast because my parrots were in mortal danger.”
When Stein was a boy, he was dedicated to the kibbutz’s small petting zoo, which later turned into a small, commercial zoo, with the parrots as a central featured attraction.
“They’re large parrots: Australian cockatoo, and Macaws from South America, to name two out of a large group of rare and valuable parrots,” Stein explained.
Stein’s other occupation is as the Kibbutz security coordinator, and in both his capacities he is connected with security forces, police, and bird merchants. Many of his acquaintances in the two fields volunteered to help locate and retrieve the parrots. “We were sure they were taken to the PA territories,” said Stein, “and locating them was not a small feat.”
It took 18 hours to retrieve 22 out of the 31 stolen parrots. The rest have perished in the hands of the thieves. The returning parrots are being looked after by a veterinarian, and are being surrounded with warmth and love by Stein, his staff, and the kibbutz children, “Just in time for Chol Ha’Mo’ed and the thousands of visitors we’re expecting,” Stein said.