Conservation project with Norfolk Zoo sees rare owls reintroduced to the wild

The Ural Owl in its new home. Photo: Amiens Zoo

The Ural Owl in its new home. Photo: Amiens Zoo - Credit: Amiens Zoo

A conservation project involving a Norfolk zoo will soon release four rare owls back into the wild in Bavaria.

Ural Owls in their aviary within protected Bavarian Forest. Photo: Amiens Zoo

Ural Owls in their aviary within protected Bavarian Forest. Photo: Amiens Zoo - Credit: Amiens Zoo

The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), which runs Banham Zoo and Africa Alive, has been involved in the Germany-based Ural owl reintroduction project.

In February last year, 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 – which were chosen for the reintroduction programme.

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.

Protected Bavarian Forest, home to the breeding pair or Ural Owls. Photo: Amiens Zoo

Protected Bavarian Forest, home to the breeding pair or Ural Owls. Photo: Amiens Zoo - Credit: Amiens Zoo

“We will continue to support projects such as this one to be able to make a positive difference to animals locally, nationally and globally.”

The chicks were recently transferred to an aviary within the protected Bavarian forest where they will eventually be released.

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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.

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