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Rescued Pueo Put to Sleep

February 27, 2017, 9:47 AM HST
* Updated February 27, 12:40 PM
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Biologists from the Division of Forestry and Wildlife decided to euthanize a young pueo that was rescued from a roadside on the north shore of Oʻahu and flown to the to the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center at Kapa‘au last week.

Authorities say they decided to put the animal to sleep to prevent continued suffering, as it would likely require pain medication for the rest of its life.

Injured pueo flies Hawaiian Airlines to Kona for treatment. DLNR courtesy photo.

The Hawaiian short-eared owl, named Sunshine by the 7-year-old girl who helped to rescue it, had suffered a broken wing and was flown to the Hawaiʻi Wildlife Center with the hopes it would heal enough to either allow its release back into the wild or to be used for educational purposes at a zoo.

Pueo are listed by DLNR as endangered on the island of Oʻahu, but are not considered endangered on the neighbor islands.

“These are tough decisions but we always consider what is best for the animal’s long-term survival and quality of life,” said Afsheen Siddiqi, a DOFAW biologist. After the rehab experts at the wildlife center thoroughly evaluated Sunshine’s broken wing, it was determined the bird could not be released back into the wild and that it would likely require pain medication for the rest of its life. “As painful and heartbreaking as this is for the people who rescued this bird, the DOCARE officer who transported it, the staff at Aloha Animal Hospital who cared for it, the rehabilitators at Hawai‘i Wildlife Center and for all of us; we know this was the right decision,” Siddiqi added.

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DLNR/DOFAW plans to initiate a population study of pueo later this year on O‘ahu to get a better idea of their numbers, range, and available habitat in the hopes to better manage and understand this species.

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