Photos courtesy of Wildlife Learning Center
The remarkable owl named Zeus has had a harrowing journey since being found blind and emaciated on the front porch of a house in central California.
Following his discovery, he was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center, where he was nursed back to health and diagnosed with a slew of ophthalmological conditions, including conjunctivitis, corneal degeneration, endotheliopathy, anterior uveitis and capsular cataracts. The star-like flecks in his eyes are specifically caused by fibrin and blood pigment clots.
Although he's otherwise healthy and pain-free, Zeus has only 10 percent of his vision, meaning it's virtually impossible for him to hunt and survive alone in the wild.
Luckily, after he was deemed non-releasable by the veterinarians at the rehab clinic, he was offered a "lifetime home" at the Wildlife Learning Center, a wildlife sanctuary and educational center just north of Los Angeles in Sylmar, California.
Biologists and staff at the center are understandably smitten with this starry-eyed avian, and they feel that "it’s not just a responsibility to care for him, but also a privilege."
As a nocturnal animal, Zeus is most active at night and spends his days snoozing atop a hollowed tree trunk in the center's gift shop. Because he's so still and peaceful, visitors often don't notice he's there until a staff member points him out.
He may be calm and diminutive, but his caretakers say he has a distinctly curious personality and nature that has inspired many people over the years.
"It’s remarkable that Zeus’ disability brings so much awareness, sensitivity, and concern, for not just screech owls, but all types of wildlife, as well as the environment we share," David Riherd, co-founder of the Wildlife Learning Center, explains in an email. "Zeus is truly an ambassador for wildlife."
Follow the Wildlife Learning Center on Facebook for more updates, and if you would like to contribute to the long-term care of Zeus and other displaced animals, consider donating to the center's GoFundMe campaign.
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