News Flash

Watershed Heroes

Posted on: June 30, 2023

A dwindling species...

Winky, a northern spotted owl

Like the eagles, ravens, and other animals at the Zoo, Winky was injured in the wild and is unable to be released. Places like the Sequoia Park Zoo provide a home for non-releasable wildlife and an opportunity for guests to learn about these amazing animals. Old-growth redwoods provide sanctuary and refuge for threatened animals, like the northern spotted owl. Spotted owls seek shelter deep in the ancient moss-covered forests, which have become fragmented by human development. In the late 1980s, scientists noticed that populations of the spotted owl were plummeting. The barred owl, a more aggressive eastern species, began to move in. Competition for nesting sites is fierce between the spotted owl and the barred owl.  Barred owls are generalists which can feed and breed in scrubbier second-growth forests. Barred owls can produce more chicks more often than spotted owls, and these home turf conflicts are crowding out the native species. Despite protections, wild spotted owl numbers continue to decline.

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