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Swedes protest Pippi parrot's 'death sentence'

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Swedes protest Pippi parrot's 'death sentence'
Douglas the parrot. Photo: Erika Oldberg/TT
15:52 CEST+02:00
Swedes are rallying to save a parrot made famous from one of the Pippi Longstocking movies from being put down – with even the actress who played Pippi herself intervening on its behalf.

Alicia Vikander, Alexander Skarsgård or Joel Kinnaman who? The Swedish actor on everyone's lips this week is Douglas, the feathery movie star who could die if he doesn't find a new home.

He first staked his claim to fame in 1970, when he starred in 'Pippi Longstocking on the Seven Seas' based on the novels by Sweden's most famous children's author Astrid Lindgren.

The now-retired actor, an Ara macaw called Douglas, has been spending his autumn years at Malmö's reptile centre in southern Sweden, sharing a 3.3 square metre cage with his partner Gojan.

But the Swedish Board of Agriculture demands that the cage should be at least 30 square metres (which is bigger than most one-room apartments available in Stockholm).

"And I don't have a cage that large," Frank Madsen, zoo keeper at Malmö Reptile Centre, told the regional Kvällsposten tabloid, saying that he hopes the bird can instead be moved to a new home.

If not, he may be put down, according to an application sent to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, which would need to give its permission to let the exotic bird stay in a private home.

Douglas' potentially tragic fate has had Swedes rallying in support of the popular parrot.

"Things you shouldn't tell your Pippi-loving child if you want to have a good day: Pippi's parrot risks being put down," wrote one Swede on Twitter.

"What's the logic in that the Board of Agriculture would rather see the parrot being put down than letting it stay in a cage smaller than 30 square metres?" asked another.

Even his former co-star Inger Nilsson, who played the determined red-head Pippi herself in the 1970s movies, got involved in the debate.

"I hope there is someone who will take mercy on him. Someone who likes birds and has a bigger cage. It would be great if it were in a bigger house so he could fly around freely," she told Kvällsposten.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has said it is trying to find a solution.

"We don't want the bird to end up in a place where it's not happy or being treated badly," a spokesperson, Björn-Axel Beier, told the Skånska Dagbladet newspaper on Friday.

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