12.7.10

A CLOSE ENCOUNTER
OF THE FEATHERED
KIND

A baby owl had an amazing escape after it
fell from its nest in a Devon zoo - almost
landing on top of an adult lioness.

The tiny tawny owl chick landed beside Indu,
a seven year old 180 kg Asiatic lion, in
the enclosure at Paignton Zoo
Environmental Park.

Keeper Lucy Manning said: "The tawny owls
nest in a lime tree in the lion enclosure. One
day the chick just turned up on the ground.
Indu peered at it for a while but then lost
interest. I think it was too small to eat."

"We believe it got away - if she had eaten
it there would have been fluff and feathers.
It probably flew off - the bird keepers said it
was nearly ready to fledge. An adult
tawny owl was seen nearby."


Zoo staff and visitors were keen to rescue the
chick, but no one could go in while the lions
were in the paddock. Visitor Sheila Hassanien
captured the moment (above) after spotting
the two animals together through
the perimeter fence.

Ms Manning added: "The wonderful thing about
the photo is the look on the owlet's face - it
seems to be demanding food!"


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