The Owl Rescue Centre situated in Hartbeespoort has done incredible conservation work with South Africa’s owl population. Members of this non profit organisation work tirelessly to rescue, rehabilitate and release any owl that comes into their care.

Recently, a team from the Owl Rescue Centre took four barn owlets under their wing. A woman had called to inform the NPO about a nest that had fallen out of a palm tree on the property.

“While picking them up the lady at the residence said there was a fourth one but he had died and they had thrown him in the dustbin. So I asked rather if we could take him back to the sanctuary and bury him, her young son fetched him in a plastic packet and put him on the back of the Land Rover,” wrote the Owl Centre in a Facebook post.

The rescued trio of owls. Credit: Facebook / Owl Rescue Centre

They returned to the Centre, hydrated and stabilized the three youngsters, then went to fetch an old towel to bury the fourth owl in.

“I always bury owls in a towel or old t-shirt, just seems ungracious to just place them in a grave without being wrapped up,” they continued.

It was at this moment that things took an unexpected turn for the rescuers.

“I take the little guy out the packet and as I place him on the towel, his leg moves… and miraculously he’s alive. Ice cold, emaciated but still alive. Placed him in a brooder box, got his body temperature up, hydrated him and this morning is as hungry as a bear. We named him Simba from The Lion King where Rafiki says ‘Simba, he’s alive’.”

Simba. (Source: Facebook/Owl Rescue Centre)
He’s back. (Source: Facebook/Owl Rescue Centre)

The Owl Rescue Centre was created by husband and wife duo Brendan and Danelle Murray, after realising that there was a rapid decline in owl numbers and that owls had become one of the most common wildlife casualties brought into veterinary practices.

The Centre is based at Hartbeespoort in the North West province, and now takes in more than a thousand owls every year through their rescue efforts. According to their website, they rehabilitate and release 200-250 Spotted Eagle owls, 100-150 Barn owls and 80-100 other owl species each year.

The owls are rehabilitated and when they can survive on their own in the wild, are released in the sanctuary – a farm which is located within a 12 000-hectare conservancy.

The Owl Rescue Centre is a registered non-profit company and permitted rehabilitation facility concerned with the well-being of all owl species and wildlife in Southern Africa. They work to protect and rescue owls that are in danger and rehabilitate and care for owls that have been injured, are sick, poisoned or orphaned and then release them back into their natural environment using specifically researched release methods. They are also involved in various conservation projects to decrease the high mortality rate of owl species.

The Centre has been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are completely out of rescue funds. If you would like to donate to the Owl Rescue Centre to help support their cause, here are their details:

Owl Rescue Centre NPC
Nedbank Current account
Account number: 103 081 9580
Branch: 198 765
Reference: Go do what you do best

You can also donate building materials or safety gear they need, such as wood, mesh, wire, gum poles, steel, concrete mix, climbing rope, harnesses, descenders and ascenders, as well as a variety of other items. Please contact them for more details on [email protected]

You can also ‘adopt’ an owl, meaning you sponsor his / her rehabilitation costs at their facilities. You will receive a high-resolution photograph and Adoption Certificate to print and frame.

Visit their website HERE for more information.

Picture/s: Facebook/Owl Rescue Centre

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