The public is being reminded to leave wildlife alone after Conservation Officers (COs) say they seized baby owls from a West Boundary home.
Kyle Bueckert, lead CO at Grand Forks’ Conservation Services Office, said a man in the Rock Creek area found two Great Horned owlets on the ground in May. Believing the birds were in poor shape, the man took them into his home without notifying the wildlife officials.
The man kept the birds for two months, hand-feeding them in a well-meaning but misguided attempt to ready them for their eventual re-release into the wild. Bueckert said the man was fined $345 under the Wildlife Act for unlawful possession of live wildlife, adding that he should have immediately notified authorities through the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline.
“A lot of people will come across young-of-the-year from some type of critter and they believe in a lot of instances that taking them into their homes and then not telling wildlife officials is a good idea. But it isn’t,” Bueckert said.
Reiterating that the man’s intentions were good, Bueckert said he’d gone about the rescue in precisely the wrong way. The man had been hand-feeding the birds, effectively “taking the wild out of the wildlife,” he continued.
That kind of interaction leaves wildlife dangerously over-familiar with humans, on the one hand, while stunting their natural hunting skills, on the other, Buekckert explained.
The birds, taken from the man’s home July 2, were moved to a wildlife rehabilitation facility, where Bueckert said they received proper care.
“All’s well that ends well,” he said.
Call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or #7277 on the TELUS Mobility Network if you come across wildlife you believe to be in genuine danger. Use the same numbers if you see or have information about illegal garbage dumping, poaching, illegal open burning and release of chemicals or sewage, according to the BC Government’s website.
Bueckert said the man who took the owlets has paid his fine, having learned a valuable lesson.