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Territory Wildlife Park Successfully Breeds Tiwi Island Masked Owl In Captivity

MUPPET may seem like any other cute hatchling at the Territory Wildlife Park but the little bird is in fact the first Tiwi Island masked owl bred in captivity.

This sub species of owl is considered endangered and is only found on Bathurst and Melville Islands off the Top End coast.

Territory Wildlife Park assistant curator, Damien Stanioch said the park was the only place in the world to hold and now breed the endangered bird of prey.

The breeding program began back in 2014 when a male was introduced to the park’s three females.

“We allowed the females to choose the male, with one showing particular interested right from the start,” Mr Stanioch said.

“To our delight, the pair laid the first of three eggs on the April 2 this year. “We felt like proud parents when the little egg hatched 39 days later.”

That first egg was of course Muppet who was removed from his enclosure and raised by Donna Jensen from the park’s Flight Deck to allow mum to spend more time with the remaining chick in the Monsoon Forest display.

The third egg didn’t hatch.

“Muppet is around 400 grams and is starting to walk a little and practice its balance,” Ms Jensen said.

“Muppet also enjoys being scratched around its beak.”

Mr Stanioch said while some may not consider Muppet to be the prettiest baby in the world, the young hatchling would soon grow into a “spectacular nocturnal predator”.

Both Muppet and the other chick are growing well on a diet of mice and chopped day old chickens.

Original article by Daily Telegraph.

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