We are saddened to share the news of barred owl Errol’s passing.
On Sunday, Wild Florida keepers noticed that Errol seemed “off” behaviorally. Since Errol had not been interested in food Saturday or Sunday, his keepers contacted our veterinary team about this change. A comprehensive exam was scheduled for the following day.
Upon examination, our staff learned that Errol was in poor body condition and had severe, life-threatening anemia. After much discussion between our veterinary staff and animal department, we made the difficult but compassionate decision to euthanize him and prevent further suffering.
We do not currently have any evidence as to what caused Errol’s health to deteriorate. Tests have been sent to a pathology lab to hopefully learn more. Errol’s weight was normal just a month ago. He showed no signs of illness at that time, meaning his condition declined rapidly.
“Birds are very good at hiding illnesses or weaknesses,” said Dr. Trevor Zachariah, the Zoo’s head veterinarian. “This can often make it difficult for us to recognize something is wrong until the animal can no longer hide it.”
Errol was donated to the Zoo in 2007 from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after he was confiscated on the West coast of Florida. While we do not know Errol’s exact age, we do know that he was an adult when he came to the Zoo, making him at least 14 years old. Barred owls have a lifespan of up to 18 years old in their natural range.
You may remember that Errol lived in the Paws On section of the Zoo before moving to Wild Florida in 2017. Wild Florida keepers described him as calm and patient, and he loved getting “pampered” as keepers preened his feathers.
“He was a really sweet boy and we all absolutely adored him,” said keeper Micaela McPherson. “When we used to take him on walks, he was pretty curious and would get quite chatty over by the monkey habitats and it was so cute.”
This is a tough loss—especially for Errol’s keepers—and we ask that you keep our Zoo community in your thoughts at this time.