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VIDEO: Rare Owl Doesn’t Give Two Hoots That He’s Supposed To Be Extinct 

Breeding program means endangered birds can be released back into the wild.  

VIENNA, Austria – The Vienna Zoo has created a new 127-square-meter aviary for an extinct species of owl in an effort to bring their population back into control.

Forty-one owls that hatched in the Austrian zoo have already moved into their new home and their population is now stable.

Kuehnapfel Jonas, the video journalist at Vienna Zoo, said entrance fees and donations funded the exhibition cost of 180,000 Euros ($218,791). The Association of Friends of the Zoo supported the building with 3,000 Euros ($3,646).

“Despite its large size, the aviary is nearly invisible because of the carefully placed girders and the slender net,” said Jonas.

Jonas has been working for the Vienna Zoo since January 2018. He has a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in Journalism and Communication Studies from the University of Vienna and a Master of Arts in Journalism and New Media from FHWien of WKW (The University of Applied Sciences for Management & Communication).

He said the offspring of the owls living in the aviary will eventually be reintroduced into the wild.

Owls standing in its new large aviary at Schonbrunn zoo, in Vienna, in Austria. (Zoo Vienna Schonbrunn/Clipzilla)

“The aviary was perfectly integrated into the forest,” Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck, zoo director, Vienna Zoo. “Locust trunks were placed between the trees as natural supports for the net. The black net is barely visible, and you have the feeling that you are watching the fascinating owls in the middle of the forest.”

In 2019, Owl and Birds of Prey Rescue Station, Haringsee, run by Four Paws since 2016, was able to help 1,851 animals. Where possible, all the young owls and birds of prey were raised by foster parents of their species and 90 percent were released back into the wild.

The sanctuary is the only care unit in Austria where young bird foundlings are raised by foster mothers of the same bird species, in other words, in a natural family group. In this way, the harmful consequences of hand-rearing can be avoided.

Forty-one owls that hatched in the Austrian zoo have already moved into their new home. (Daniel Zupanc/Clipzilla)

European pond terrapins, bats, hares, hedgehogs, and other small mammals are also frequent patients at the sanctuary where they are cared for by experts and, when possible, released back into nature.

The team at the zoo helps with the rehabilitation (including offering first aid) and the release of owls and birds of prey. Animals that can no longer be released into the wild for health reasons find a lifelong home here in an animal-friendly, species-appropriate environment.

(Edited by Ritaban Misra and Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar)