Burrowing owls returned to wild in Alberta

Biologists have returned 20 burrowing owls to the wild in southeastern Alberta. Credit: The Wilder Institute

Biologists have returned 20 burrowing owls to the wild in southeastern Alberta. The owls were taken from their nests last winter and raised at the Calgary Zoo to help recover the species, considered a species at risk in Canada. The government estimates Canada’s population of burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) have plummeted to fewer than 500 breeding pairs due to habitat loss, climate change and other factors. The youngest owlets in a clutch face steep chances of survival, prompting biologists at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo to gather them and raise them in captivity.

“If people are part of the cause of a decline, it means we can also be part of the cause of a solution,” Graham Dixon-MacCallum, a conservation research population ecologist with the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo, told the CBC.

Read more from the CBC.