A young Ural owl that hatched in the Vienna zoo several months ago will be released in the wilderness where it will have a chance to grow in a new home amidst the country’s wonderful green forests.
The small Ural owl (Strix uralensis) is currently getting ready for the greatest adventure of its life as it will be released in the Durrenstein wilderness area in the Austrian state of Lower Austria after its training is done.
Native to the Ural Mountains in Russia, the little one that hatched at the Tiergarten Schonbrunn Zoo in the city of Vienna on 25th March, will be reintroduced in an area where its population is critically endangered.
Richard Zink from the Austrian Ornithological Institute of the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna explained: “The Ural owl was exterminated around 150 years ago in Austria. We have been poaching the offspring from zoos and bird stations since 2009. This is an extremely important cooperation. Together we offer human care to this endangered owl and ensure that it returns to our local forests in the long term.”
A total of 41 owls from the Vienna Zoo were relocated in the wild ever since the start of the project, which has contributed to the current 30 breeding owl pairs found in Austria’s forests.
Research Assistant at the Tiergarten Schonbrunn Zoo, Iris Starnberger said: “If we protect the owl and its forests, we also protect many other, lesser-known animal species, such as the white-backed woodpecker and the hazel grouse.”
Starnberger also added: “The owl needs old trees to nest. In areas where these are rare, nest boxes are installed. We are proud to finance the production, assembly and annual inspection of 15 pieces.”
A new owl aviary was recently opened at the zoo in February where a young breeding pair successfully raised offspring in the first year.
The young one is expected to fly through the Lower Austrian forests in a few weeks, where it will initially remain near the release site and will be fed by specialists.
According to aviary experts, the little one is expected to develop into a successful hunter by autumn and will be able to live without human assistance.
Project team members and zookeepers from the Vienna Zoo placed a small ring on the young Ural owl’s talon to ensure that it can be always identified as a “Schonbrunn” owl.
The young Ural owl at the Tiergarten Schonbrunn Zoo in Austria’s capital Vienna which is going to be released in the wilderness. The young Ural owl at the Tiergarten Schonbrunn Zoo in Austria’s capital Vienna.
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Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: James King, Agency: Newsflash
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