Owlproject.org visited St Andrew’s School for Girls on May 18, as part of their Owl Release Programme.
This time it was a sweet ending to a bitter beginning for a Spotted Eagle owl (Bubo africanus).
The Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Clinic treated the female Spotted Eagle owl for trichomoniasis.
Owlproject.org places owls in the release programme for 21 days.
They install release pens at schools to engage with and educate children about owls.
According to the organisation, schools are ideal release sites because there are large grounds and owl food sources. It is also quiet at night.
Jordan-Michael Hardey from the Owlsproject.org said the programme also helps owls adapt to their new environment.
“The learners at St Andrew’s School for Girls have the opportunity to feed and monitor the owl.
“We had senior and junior learners joining an educational talk about the importance of owls in our environment.
They received valuable input on how to formulate a sustainable future.
“Owls are extremely important in our environment,” he said.
The school thanked the organisation for entrusting them with her and for its efforts in educating communities about the importance of owls in the environment.
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“Owls are the best solution in combating rodent problems, and as an EcoSchool, we urge our community to not use rodenticides.
Not only are the poisons causing painful deaths to rodents, but the owls are affected by secondary poisoning when they eat the poisoned rodents,” said the school’s marketer Brandon Townsend.
Hardey added, rat poison is not rat poison, it is just poison.
He said contacting non-toxic rodent control organisations such as EcoSolutions is the best alternative to assist with a rodent problem.
“Spotted Eagle owl breeding season is around the corner.
“During this time, juvenile owls spend a few days on the ground in gardens and common areas while they hone their hunting skills.
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“It is best practice not to pick up or rescue them if they don’t need to be. If there is a cause for concern for these young owls, contact your local SPCA.
“SPCAs have a list of accredited wildlife facilities that can help,” said Hardey.
St Andrews thanked their sponsors for making the event possible, International Owl Centre, SPCA, Sage Foundation, Woodoc, Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital, and Hatch.
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