DNR investigating endangered owl shooting

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Indiana conservation officers investigating the shooting of an endangered species.

Barn Owls, like the one at Wessleman Nature Society in Evansville, are endangered in Indiana. The DNR says less than 50 breeding pairs are living in the state.

Early last week, a person living near St. Meinrad found one in rough shape.

“There was definitely one broken leg, and some minor injuries to the wings,” conservation officer Jim Hash said.

DNR officers delivered the injured owl to the Dwight R Chamberlain Raptor Center in Scottsburg, Indiana.

“They were able to determine that they owl had actually been shot,” Hash said. “You know, it’s almost 100% likely that it was with some type of shotgun.”

Now the question is who.

Barn Owls are raptors, which are illegal to chase, kill or injure in the state without a special permit.

“I’m not aware of anyone here locally that has a falconry permit for an owl,” Hash said. “There are many reasons why someone would want to kill or injure raptors.”

The DNR says it will continue to follow leads.

As for the victim, the Raptor Center says she should survive, but full recovery isn’t guaranteed, and could take several months.

The person or people found responsible could face thousands of dollars in fines.

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(This story was originally published on Feb. 12, 2018)

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