What a Vet Says about Keeping Owls at Home

Owls, naturally nocturnal (active at night), are being increasingly popular as pets and attractions in tourist destinations and car free day areas. Needless to say, all those activities take place during the day. The poor owls are being exploited for photos and pride. How is this phenomenon seen through medical and animal welfare point of views?

Drh. Wita Wahyudi (DMV), a senior veterinarian who has been working with wild animals for years, said that owls that are forced to stay awake during the day are prone to stress which sometimes cannot be tolerated by their body.

"Prolonged stress can easily trigger the body to release corticosteroid, which weakens the animal's immune system hence it can get sick easily," said Wita.

Wita, who is also a member of PROFAUNA's advisory board, added "Forcing them to be active during the day, for instance by making them photo subjects, can also damage the owls' retina because their eyes are very sensitive to light. This is obviously cruel!"

Owls play an important role in their natural ecosystem, by balancing the population because they are predators. They keep the population in check, for example preventing the mice from being overpopulated and being pests. If owls are being hunted and captured from the wild, traded, and kept as pets at home, the nature's balance will surely be disturbed.

There are various reasons for people to keep owls as pets. They believe that they are doing it in the name of love, because they treat the owls 'well'.

"'Love' is the most ridiculous and absurd reason amongst all. Owners take the owls for a walk in the afternoon or rent them for photo props in car free day, where's the love in that? Truth is, owners are slowly killing the owls," stated Rosek Nursahid, PROFAUNA's founder.

Not only keeping owls at home is dangerous for the birds and disturb nature's balance, apparently it also poses a negative impact for the owners in form of zoonotic diseases (diseases that can be spread between animals and humans).

"Physical contact between human and wild animals whose health is not monitored or maintained can potentiallyenable disease transmission like the bird flu, chamydiosis, salmonellosis, toxoplasmosis, and leptospirosis," concluded Wita.

Sumber foto: pugetsoundbirds.org

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ProFauna Indonesia is an Indonesian society for the protection of
wild animals and their habitats