Look Who's Back

Smoky the Owl was given a second lease on life Wednesday night when he was set free to roam the Santa Monica Mountains.

It was just two months ago when Smoky was rescued after suffering burns in the Sayre Fire in Sylmar.  

After much loving and tender care given by volunteers at the Valley Wildlife the beast was released back into the wild Wednesday night along Kanan Dume Road in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Valley Wildlife volunteer Brenda Varvarigos said people in the neighborhood were happy to add “Smoky” to their community since they have been suffering through a ground squirrel overpopulation.

Valley Wildlife, a non profit all volunteer based organization that relies on donations in order to operate, responded to questions about the owl. Visit the organization's Web site for information or send an e-mail to valleywildlife@aim.com.

Why was Smoky not released back to Sylmar?

Smoky's old territory was carefully evaluated by us and his territory was completely burnt leaving the prey base at none. If Smoky were taken back there he would likely starve or be forced to hunt closer inland where he might get shot or poisoned.

Where was Smoky released?

Smoky was released on a private 10 mile ranch near Kanan Dume. The ranch is free from rat poisons and pesticides and the prey is plentiful.

What if there are already great horned owl's in his new territory?

Due to the abundant prey base, Smoky will not be pushed out by local owl's. The area is large enough to accommodate 5 breeding pairs.

Why was Smoky released at night?

Owl's are nocturnal and are completely in-active during the day.

What will Smoky eat?

Great horned owl's have a large variety of prey in their natural diets. They eat skunks, squirrels, rabbits, rats, water fowl, and other small mammals.  The ranch has a ground squirrel overload so smoky will serve as natural rodent control.

How long will Smoky live?

Great horned owl's can live 50 years. Sadly, most don't make it to their 5th Birthday due to rodenticides. When people poison the rats, they also poison the predators.  The predator that eats the poisoned rat suffers the same fate as the rat. NO poisons are safe, regardless of what the pest control "experts" tell you.

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