Image: © Zoos Victoria

Werribee Open Range Zoo Save Lives of Owl Trio

Author

The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Published

June 23, 2023 9:53 pm

Location

Werribee, Victoria, Australia

Zoos Victoria have helped to save the lives of three owlets brought to the RSPCA Koala Ward at Werribee Open Range Zoo. After a period of recovery the chicks have been safely returned to their natural habitat.

The three owlets were found by a local resident in a hollow within a felled tree on the Bellarine Peninsula, south-west of the Victorian capital, Melbourne. A wildlife carer collected the precious cargo and transported them to Werribee Open range zoo where they were cared for by expert vets.

Placed under anesthetic the rescued birds, weighing approximately 300 grams, were given a full health examination including blood tests and X-rays.

Werribee Open Range Zoo Veterinary Nurse Layla Merritt said the owlets had been left by their parents following the loss of their tree home.

“Owlets require roughly 14 weeks of care before they are strong, healthy and independent enough to leave their nest,” Ms Merritt said. “Sadly, the owlets were found abandoned, so veterinary assistance and hand-raising with a wildlife carer were essential to ensure their survival.”

Once zoo vets provided them with the all clear the owlets were moved to a wildlife carer for nine weeks of pre-release care. This carer served as a foster parent to help the chicks thrive.

“The owlets lived in a small, safe and enclosed space that simulated a tree-like hollow environment for them, where they were provided with a wild diet,” Ms Merritt said. “Once they were old enough to fledge, they were cared for in a recovery aviary to build up their strength and independence.”

Finally the chicks moved to Torquay on Victoria's southern coast in a pre-release aviary. Here they could slowly adjust to their environment before their eventual release to the wild.

In closing the zoo shared some ways that you can help wild owls to thrive.

“Before removing any old trees, take the time to inspect for hollows that may be providing important shelter and breeding opportunities for owls and other animals,” Ms Merritt said.

“If you see an owl on the ground that could be possibly injured or in distress, it’s important to keep your distance to avoid injury from their powerful talons. Please contact Wildlife Victoria or your local wildlife carer who will be able to provide expert advice.”

Owl Trio Rescued at Werribee Open Range Zoo

Image: © Zoos Victoria

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The owls are a diverse group of 200 birds which share some common traits, primarily having a nocturnal activity pattern. Meet an owl species in our fact file.

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Image: © Zoos Victoria

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