Owl stolen from rescue centre in Scottish Highlands

The owl is one of the largest in the world.

Police are investigating after an owl was stolen in the Highlands.

The Eurasian eagle owl was taken from his cage at the Blue Highlands Raptor Rescue and Avian Conservation Centre, the village of Brora, in Sutherland.

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An Eurasian Eagle-owl has been stolen from the Highlands. Picture: Jean-Christophe Verhaegen/AFP via Getty Images
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Police Scotland issued an appeal for information following the overnight theft on Wednesday.

The owl is considered to be one of the largest in the world and is a protected species.

It has orange eyes and distinctive feathery ear tufts and can have a wing span of up to two metres.

The centre’s director, Hadassah Broscova-Righetti, told STV News the owl – known as Maximus – had a long-standing partner, Victoria, at the centre.

“She’s been crying all night and she won’t eat,” he said.

“In 22 and-a-half years of bird rescue, this is the first time we’ve had someone even try to steal a bird from us, it’s heartbreaking.

“This is our job, we do this 24 hours a day. It’s like one of our children being stolen.”

The centre also launched a crowdfunding page to try to raise money to improve security on the premises - raising £654 in less than 24 hours.

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A post on the GoFundMe page reads: "Maximus our male Eurasian Eagle Owl, has been stolen.

"His lifelong mate of 18 years has been left in shock, traumatised.

"He would have protected her with his life.

"They had been mating, and they have a nest ready for eggs and chicks, but now she is alone.

"Buster, a juvenile herring gull who was recovering from a broken wing, in an adjacent pen is gone too.

"Two birds stolen. We urgently need your help.

"Please will you support our enhanced security measures fundraiser even with just a pound or two, so that we can fully protect our birds and their futures."

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The force said: "Police in Sutherland are appealing for information following the theft of Eurasian eagle owl from a property in Brora, Sutherland.

"Anyone with information can contact police on 101, quoting reference NE/1059/20, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

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