Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Barang, May 12:
The spotted owlet chicks rescued from the holy neem tree identified as the daru for Lord Jagannath at Kharipadia in Jagatsinghpur district in Odisha recently would be released to their natural habitat after they learn to fly, authorities at the Nandankanan zoo, where they have been kept, said.
The triplets will be back to their world as soon as they are able to fly, the principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) and Nandankanan zoological park authorities said.
Veterinary experts Dr Nalinikanta Mohanty and Dr Sarat Kumar Sahu conducted preliminary examination on the three rescued owlet chicks soon after they reached the Nandankanan zoo an hour before midnight on Saturday.
“The chicks were administered anti-stress injections as they were in a state of shock due to the noise and crowd surrounding the holy tree from where they were rescued,” Nandankanan zoo authorities said.
The spotted owlets are a protected species under the Wildlife (Protection) Act and are around three months old. They haven’t yet learnt to fly and search for food. They have been kept in the quarantine unit of the veterinary department of the zoo. They are doing well. Besides, their food intake and excretion process are normal, veterinary department sources said.
“The owlet chicks will be kept under supervision for another month or so. After four months, the chicks are normally able to fly. We would set them free after that,” a zoo official said.
On the other hand, wildlife experts have raised concerns over the safety of the caged owlets.
“The birds suffer from diarrhoea due to extreme heat wave conditions as a result of which they perish. Besides, ready-made food and captivity would make them dependent. It would be difficult for them to fend for themselves and learn self-defence techniques when they are released to the wild. Getting acclimatised with the alien world would be another area of concern. They should be kept in enclosures in a natural habitat for easy adaptation,” said an expert on birds.