The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), the charity which runs Banham Zoo in Norfolk and Africa Alive! in Suffolk, is delighted to announce its contribution to the Germany-based Ural Owl reintroduction project.
In February 2019 Banham Zoo 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.
While at Amiens Zoo, the four owlets were chosen for a reintroduction programme by The Association for Landscape Management and Species Protection in Bavaria (VLAB), an organisation which runs the Ural owl reintroduction project.
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, 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 Ural owl 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.
ZSEA’s commitment to the conservation of biodiversity was outlined in their 2019 Conservation Strategy and assisting with reintroductions – such as the Ural owl reintroduction project – is another step forward with the charity’s pledge to save species from extinction
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