Following denials by EcoSolutions' Jonathan Haw of abuse and owl mutilation at the Alexandra roll out of the City of Joburg's Owl Box Project, the Owl Rescue Centre has come out to confirm they in fact are often called up to address and rescue these owls.
Director and Founder of the Owl Rescue Centre, Brendan Murray responded to 702's John Robbie:
We aren't at war with EcoSolutions, we're just against the project whereby they just released those owls in Alex. But not only in Alex, but the way they've handled the project and the way that the owls are sold off in these projects. If you can release owls out in Alex and it works, it would be a lovely idea, but the unfortunate thing is when those owls get injured and killed, we're the organisation that gets called to come and fetch those owls. It's an ongoing problem. We've been dealing with EcoSolutions for the last two years now and we've been telling them about all these calls we've been getting about injured owls.
When asked why the SPCA doesn't receive similar 'owl rescue' calls, proving abuse of said owls by residents in Alex, Murray responded with:
They're in a little bit of denial at the moment. There was an issue on the 16th of September where an owl was picked up with its legs cut off at a school in Alex and on their (EcoSolutions) Facebook page and in the media, they deny that an owl was picked up. We've got a letter from Isabel Wentzel, sent on the same day - she's the National Senior Inspector at the NSPCA - confirming that the Sandton SPCA had in fact picked up that owl.
There have meanwhile also been reports that the Owl Rescue Centre is operating while unlicensed:
We've been blocked from getting a permit in Gauteng and we're actually moving to the North West at the end of this month, we've applied for permits there and so far, it looks okay. To clarify - we do work under another rehab centre clinic which is legal.
This article first appeared on 702 : Owl Battles: Who Has Alex's Residents Best Interest At Heart?