The Great Horned Owl that was rescued earlier this week after falling into an oil pit in Dulah has died, according to the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network.
“It is with a heavy heart that we bring you all the recent update on the oiled owl. He has passed away. He had ingested too much oil and his lungs had also suffered,” the Facebook post on Thursday stated.
Officials say they believe the owl was attempting to catch a rat that was on a covered oil pit in Dulah located in Ventura County. “This was a total accident, as these fields are wildlife-proofed, but the force of him trying to attack his prey must have compromised the cover on the pit and he fell in.”
A veterinarian found in a post-mortem exam substantial amounts of oil in his lungs and air sacs, which was determined to be the cause of death.
“We would like to send our sincerest gratitude to all the people that rescued, cared for, and supported the care of this beautiful bird, as well as the members of the public who showed keen interest in his well-being,” the International Bird Rescue stated. “Although the outcome was tragic, we are inspired by the compassion and dedication of everyone involved and the hope that this owl’s story drives us to continue to take action to protect wildlife in need. We give our sincerest thanks to IBR for giving this beautiful owl the best treatment he could get in his final days. Thank you all for your compassion for him.”