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In April, a fledgling Great Horned Owl was rescued by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) and was brought to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation (SWF), a local non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife, for care. Normally, the fledgling would have been left alone and its parents would continue to look after it and feed it until it could fly and hunt on its own.
However, due to its proximity to danger, found near a chemical processing plant west of Cedar City, UDWR decided it would be best to get it to the SWF. In June, the owl was ready to be released back into its natural habitat. The released happened during the Summer Solstice Event at the Parowan Gap, adding to the symbolism and spiritual nature it holds for many. The owl was released in front of the ancient petroglyphs that show an early depiction of a Great Horned Owl.
The Family Support Center of Southwestern Utah felt that releasing the rehabilitated owl was very symbolic of their service in the community. The Family Support Center Director, Connie Sowards stated, “Our goal is to help individuals and families during times of crisis, strengthening them and their families so they can succeed. Most people can relate on a personal level to the owl who needed some tender care and support until he could return to his natural habitat with renewed strength and skill.” The symbolic act of releasing the owl was a moving and memorable experience for all the participants.