It’s been seven years since burrowing owl Trooper first took on the role of ambassador for his species. Now it’s time to give one-year-old Potter his turn.
To celebrate Trooper’s retirement from his public role with the Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre (SBOIC), the centre threw him a party as part of their major fundraiser on Saturday night at the Moose Jaw Exhibition Grounds. Trooper is an elderly owl at quite a mature age and has passed the life expectancy of wild burrowing owls.
“We thought it was time he retired and get to sit back and relax and earn some free mice for a change,” said SBOIC owl co-ordinator Lori Johnson. “His role won’t really change all that much. He’ll still be at the centre. He just won’t be out travelling or making public appearances anymore. He’s going to make all his fans come to him now.”
A crowd of 190 people came out to celebrate Trooper’s retirement and support the SBOIC in their 12th annual fundraiser. Johnson said all of the funds raised go into the care and feeding of the 10 owls at the SBOIC and to support the educational Owls on Tour program. The program, which Trooper participated in, teaches people about burrowing owls by travelling to schools.
“(We) promote the idea of conserving a very iconic prairie species through ecotourism, through stewardship. That’s an important message to get out,” said Johnson. “So not only do we do these evenings to help generate some income for the centre and the birds, but also to kind of show our appreciation for our supporters and it allows us to keep getting our message out there regardless.”
For more information, see an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.