At Gentleshaw, we have rescues from many places, we are sometimes contacted by zoos to see if we could take on surplus animals which have over-bred. Some of the rescues are very sad, Raccoons kept alone in 4ft square kennels, monkeys kept on chains, kinkajous from a Zoo which had closed down. Although these stories are sad, and seeing the scars on some of the animals , both physical and mental is upsetting the saddest stories are of the dozens of 'exotic' pets and numerous amount of birds of prey, whose owners had simply got bored of them.
People sometimes arrive with animals, excusing themselves by saying. "I didn't know they lived that long", "I didn't know they grew that big" or the old favourite, "I didn't think it would bite". All of these are reasons people give for no longer wanting their animals and birds. An excuse for a family that wanted to get rid of an eagle owl they had kept for 15 years was that they were having the garden re-landscaped and didn't want an aviary in it!
Sometimes however, we even get people refusing to acknowledge that the bird or animal is theirs at all, "it's a friends, no I don't know where they live, no, I don't know their name". In situations such as this, our first and foremost thought is for the animal, so we would rather take in an unwanted raptor and ensure it is given the care and attention it needs and deserves, rather than risk the consequences to the animal if we try to get the truth. It is alas, not unheard of, for people to kill and dump an animal rather than own up to neglect, which is something we simply cannot risk happening.
There is, happily, an opposite side to this, which is the countless caring and warm-hearted people willing to help re-home such cases. One such case is the story of BOO, the European Eagle Owl.
Boo came to us late in 2006. This large owl was just 12 months old and
Gentleshaw was already his 5th home.
Gentleshaws' chairman and his family, the Bookers, Very kindly gave
Boo a forever home where he lives in a large aviary.