Wednesday 22 March 2023

Eagle owl which terrorised Purmerend faces ‘life’ in captivity

Eagle owlThe eagle owl which terrorised the Dutch town of Purmerend earlier this year is to remain in captivity for the rest of its life, local paper Noordhollands Dagblad said at the weekend.

The risk that the bird will continue to attack people if it is released is too great, the local authority is quoted as saying in a briefing for councillors.

The owl was caught in mid-March after officials issued a special permit for its capture. They have now asked for government permission to keep the bird in captivity, the paper said.

The owl attacked dozens of people in the town, north of Amsterdam, and generated newspaper headlines around the world. Several people needed hospital treatment for wounds to their heads during its five-week reign of terror, and the council recommended people carry umbrellas as protection.

Experts at the bird sanctuary where the eagle owl has been placed say it is a young male in good health and with strong eyesight. They have also concluded the bird was born in captivity and is used to people.

No ring

The bird is not ringed or chipped and no clue has been found as to where the bird  came from. Eagle owls can have a wingspan of almost two metres when fully grown and it may have been released into the wild by its owner, the council briefing said.

Even if it is released a long way from civilization, the bird is likely to return to places where people live, the council quotes the experts as saying. The sanctuary would like to keep the owl but does not have a zoo licence. It has now applied for one, the paper said.

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