A Spectacled Owl has left the Curraghs Wildlife Park to start a new life in France, with assistance from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

The young female travelled to Chester Zoo earlier this month, in preparation for the rest of her journey to the ZooParc de Beauval in Loir-et-Cher.

The rehoming is part of the Wildlife Park’s commitment to assisting healthy breeding programmes as a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums and European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.

Tina Jauncey, Duty Manager at the park in Ballaugh, explained: ‘We have a breeding pair of Spectacled Owls in the Amazon Rainforest section of the park. Back in 2014, they successfully raised their first chick, which was eventually rehomed in Drusillas Park in Sussex to join a male as part of a breeding pair.

‘Born last year, this was the second chick the pair successfully reared themselves. We were aware ZooParc de Beauval were looking for a young female, so made arrangements to transport our chick to them. They are normally kept with their parents for 10 to 12 months, so the transfer couldn’t happen until March. It is hoped this young female will now form a healthy breeding pair with a male at ZooParc de Beauval.’

She added: ‘We are committed to assisting programmes which ensure healthy breeding and conservation of endangered species. This often means animals need to be transferred to and from the Isle of Man, and we are very grateful to the Steam Packet Company for its ongoing support and assistance with transporting animals like this Spectacled Owl.’

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is also supporting the Wildlife Park by assisting with the travel of falconer Phil Gibbons who is returning to the Island with his birds of prey to appear at the park on 8th and 9th April.

Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We’ve been pleased to support the Wildlife Park with animal transfers for many years, and understand the importance of supporting healthy breeding programmes, especially among endangered species. We’re happy to play our part in that, and also delighted to be able to help bring Phil Gibbons back to the Island; his bird of prey demonstrations are always hugely popular and well-attended.’