Friday 18 June 2010

The owl and the pussycat

18 June 2010

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 Asiatic lion, in the lion 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.

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

The picture was taken by a visitor to the zoo.

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