Last night was the much-anticipated return to the wild for this beautiful stygian owl. He came to us mid September with a fractured leg and was clearly suffering from lack of nutrition.
(photo credit Mark Cockram)
He was rescued by the students, staff and parents of Trial Farm Government School in Orange Walk.
(Stygian in the tree at the school on the day of rescue - photo credit Ms Nazira Romero)
We transported him to Animal Medical Centre where Dr Philip DeShield performed skilful surgery to pin the leg.
(the fractured leg)
(xray of the pinned leg)
In our experience, stygians are exceptionally high-stress in captivity, and we had to take considerable care handling and medicating him to avoid causing stress-releated conditions.
(Oscar and Monika carefully feeding the Stygian)
It has been difficult rehab for us, and the danger of him developing a fatal fungal lung infection has never been far from our minds.
(Dr Sophie and Dr Gemma removing the pin)
(The healed leg)
(gratuitous eye shot!)
All in all it was a text-book rehab, from pin, to pin removal, to hunting and flight conditioning, to re-release back in Orange Walk.
As always it takes a small army and a small fortune to get to that stage. Thank you to:
Trial Farm School and especially Principal Romero for the care taken over his rescue
Belize Forest Department for their rapid response to secure the owl
Dr Philip De Shield of Animal Medical Centre for his fabulous skill in surgery
Dr Sophie Herbert and Dr Gemma Cockram for the pin removal and aftercare
All of the dedicated BBR volunteers and staff for their care during his rehab
Mark Cockram for the amazing stress-free photos
Jonathan Urbina for driving all the way to Orange Walk to do the release on 4th November
Our donors and sponsors for their continued support, without which we would not have been able to afford the $862 it took to transport, feed, fix and rehabilitate this particular bird (thank you WRMD for the fabulous 'expenses' app!)
Finally, thank you Mr Stygian for making a full and perfect recovery!