Cyprus Mail

Caged baby owl rescued from dumpster

By Evie Andreou

A baby Cyprus scops owl, which was found on Saturday around noon dumped in a rubbish bin in the Acropolis area of Nicosia while still in its cage, is safely at the Game and Fauna service’s wildlife rehabilitation centre, volunteers said on Monday.

According to the NGO Cyprus Voice for Animals (CVA), they were notified on Saturday by a volunteer of another group, CAT PAWS, who said a neighbour of hers had found the bird in a trash can. It was still in its cage.

The CVA volunteer who wished to remain anonymous told the Cyprus Mail he then contacted BirdLife Cyprus to try and find someone who could provide expertise and take it in temporarily.

“The bird is very young, and cannot fly since its feathers have not developed yet,” said the man a lecturer at the University of Cyprus, who temporarily took it in.

He told the Cyprus Mail that the bird must have fallen from its nest and been picked up by someone who took it home and put it in a cage.

He said officers from the game and fauna service collected it on Monday and said they would take it to the wild life rehabilitation centre.

“They told me that they usually take in two to three scop owls per year,” the lecturer said.

The way the bird was dumped, baffled and angered animal lovers.

“The Cyprus scops owl is an endemic protected subspecies. It’s madness how it was thrown in the trash can like that,” said Tassos Shialis, Campaigns Manager at BirdLife Cyprus.

“The point is who and why dumped it like that? They could have notified relevant services to collect it,” added the CVA volunteer.

Petros Anagiotos, an official at the game and fauna service, also thought the bird might have fallen from a nest.

“But it is not easy to take care of young scops owls as they need special care. You need to know how to feed them, because they don’t just eat food put in front of them. Who ever decided to keep the bird, most probably did not know what they signed up for,” Anagiotos said.

He added that keeping wildlife species as pets is illegal and fines could reach €17,000.

According to the game and fauna service, it is only permissible to catch a wildlife species when in its natural habitat only when injured and cannot fly, run or move or in case the younger ones risk being snatched by predators.

In the event any member of the public finds an injured or sick wildlife they should contact the game and fauna service.

Nicosia 22867786, 22867779, 22867897, 22662428, 22664606, 99445697, Limassol 25343800, 25351614, 99445728, Larnaca 24805128, 24805102, 99634325, 99522700, 99542774, 99614629 and Paphos 26306211, 99445679, 99445291.

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