Powerful Owl survives concussion

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Native animal organisations have gone to great lengths to get a Powerful Owl back to the wild after it presented with a head trauma in Lake Macquarie, NSW in March this year.

“We are pleased to announce that on Friday evening, the Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Services (WIRES) and Native Animal Trust Fund (NATF) were successful in releasing a Powerful Owl back to its home territory in Warners Bay,” says Audrey Koosmen, NATF President.

“The species is vulnerable to extinction here in NSW, so any efforts towards maintaining existing populations are critical,” says Koosmen.

The male Powerful Owl was in good body condition when it was brought into the care of NATF on 18 March 2014, but appeared slightly dazed and lethargic, likely as a result of concussion.

A full body examination by a local vet revealed there was a small split in the tissues of the base of the upper beak, cuts and abrasions of both the feet and legs and an aberration of his pupil. After preliminary treatment of anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and being nursed through weeks of rest by NATF, the Powerful Owl was transferred to a WIRES facility in the Southern Highlands for rehabilitation.

The Powerful Owl is the largest owl in Australasia, has an impressive wingspan of up to 1.4metres, feeds on medium-sized arboreal marsupials and requires large tracts of forest or woodland to survive.

“Large bird species like the Powerful Owl can lose significant strength when they are in long-term care and not using their muscles. They need this strength back to survive in their natural environment and travel their large home territories,” says Leanne Taylor, General Manager of WIRES.

There were some initial concerns over the owl's vision but a veterinary ophthalmologist found his retina was unaffected and there was no scarring or other physical damage to his eye.

“After being put through his paces for a few weeks in a flight aviary, the owl demonstrated he was able to find food and had recovered his strength,” says Taylor.

The Powerful owl is one of the few species where the male is larger than the female.

Media Contact: WIRES (02) 8977 3327

Media Email: [email protected]

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