By Zane' Olivier
Shamwari Veterinary Nurse
On the 2nd of February 2012, the Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre received a three month old giant eagle owl from a small owl rehabilitation farm near Grahamstown. The owner of the farm rehabilitates spotted eagle owls and barn owls. The giant eagle owl is the largest owl in Africa and will sometimes prey on other eagle owls, it concerned the owner that he might injure the smaller owls on his farm.
At first the owl was very scared and we had to force feed him as he wouldn’t eat on his own, but soon he relaxed and started feeding by himself. We placed him in our aviary enclosure which had enough room for him to fly around in and grow to his full potential. We gave him large pieces of meat supplemented with a calcium vitamin and mineral powder, but soon went on to feeding him a more natural diet, frozen day old chicks and mice. He even proved to us that he could fend for himself by catching a small house sparrow right in front of us.
As the winter was approaching, we started increasing his food and kept a close eye on him, and when the cold weather started warming up, we decided the time was right to release him. We opened the gate of his enclosure on the 29th of September 2012 and after only five minutes he flew out. We wish our owl friend all the best and wouldn't be surprised if he's perched on one of the trees on Shamwari Game Reserve.
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