Wookie, the beloved Barn Owl wildlife ambassador for the Hungry Owl Project died of age related causes on July 28th 2013. He was 13 years old.
Wookie came to the Hungry Owl Project though WildCare, Marin County's wildlife hospital. Someone had found him as a chick and decided to keep him as a pet. Unfortunately, this meant that he was unlikely to survive in the wild since he had been raised with humans from a very young age. After they decided they couldn't care for him as a pet anymore, he was turned over to WildCare and thus came to the Hungry Owl Project.
Fortunately for Wookie, he knew no other life than one in captivity and he accepted it with grace. His work as a Wildlife Ambassador for the Hungry Owl Project has had an immeasurable impact on thousands of people. Wookie was the star of countless Hungry Owl Project educational presentations over the past 10 plus years. It would be one thing for HOP volunteers to get up and talk about the dangers of rodenticides and the importance of working alongside our natural world, but the message would be carried across tenfold when Wookie would come out. There's nothing quite like the effect that a live owl has on an audience. He truly was an ambassador for wildlife - the invaluable lesson, as beloved naturalist and pioneer environmental educator Mrs. Terwilliger would say, "what you learn to love, you will want to protect".
We are grateful to have been able to work with such a majestic creature and are deeply saddened by this loss. We would like to imagine that Wookie is flying free now, floating over the meadows each night under a moonlit sky, fiercely screaming out into the night. Thank you for the wonder.
If anyone has any messages for Wookie, stories or fond memories, please feel free to share in the comments below.