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Zoo gives four hoots to German owl project




Banham Zoo has helped a project set up to reintroduce Ural Owl to a Bavarian forest.

In February 2019, the popular attraction in Kenninghall Roadpopular donated a breeding pair of Ural owls to Amiens Zoo in France. The pair have since bred, producing four chicks – two male and two females.

The four owlets were then chosen by by The Association for Landscape Management and Species Protection in Bavaria (VLAB), an organisation which runs the Ural owl reintroduction project.

One of the Ural OwlsPicture by Amiens Zoo, France.
One of the Ural OwlsPicture by Amiens Zoo, France.

The chicks were recently transferred to an aviary within the protected Bavarian forest in Germany, where they will become acclimatised to their new surroundings and start to learn how to hunt.

After a month, the door to their aviary will be opened so the owls can access the wider forest.

Gary Batters, joint managing director at the Zoological Society of East Anglia, which runs both Banham Zoo and Africa Alive!, said: "Conservation is an important part of what we do here at the Zoological Society of East Anglia and we are so proud to support the Ural owl reintroduction project.

"We will continue to support projects such as this one to be able to make a positive difference to animals locally, nationally and globally."

Ural owls were once abundant throughout the state of Bavaria, but a combination of poor forestry management practices and hunting saw the owls become locally extinct.

This will be the second time captive bred Ural Owls have been reintroduced into the wild as part of the Ural owl reintroduction project, with seven individuals already released in 2019.