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Barn Owl Trapped in Toilet Saved by Volunteers

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A barn owl was saved after being trapped inside a toilet at Junction City Pond in Oregon. According to the Cascades Raptor Center, which helped rescue the owl, a fisherman first discovered the animal trapped inside the bottom of the vault toilet.

Executive Director Louise Shimmel explained that this isn’t an unusual occurrence and owls have been trapped in toilets all over the nation. Some species think the vents on the toilets look like a good place to nest, but after they enter the toilet they can quickly become stuck. Shimmel said, “It looks like a very attractive cavity for cavity nesters.” Shimmel added, “It’s just a really stressful thing for them. It’s as if they landed in the middle of a toxic lake.” Volunteers reached into the toilet to retrieve the owl. The story, shared on the organization’s Facebook page, has received thousands of likes and shares. Shimmel hopes the attention raises awareness about the problem and encourages people to check outdoor toilets for wildlife before using them.

Shimmel also said that installing screens over toilet vents can help prevent this from happening again. The Teton Raptor Center in Wyoming has a ‘Poo-Poo Project’ that works to install screens at vault toilets throughout the United States. Shimmel said the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is now working to bring those screens to Junction City Pond. The barn owl was ultimately released back into the wild.