Adelaide Zoo’s fugitive owl Oscar has been found safe and well after escaping the premises earlier this week.
To the ancient Greeks owls were symbols of wisdom, so it was fitting that the creature turned up inside the University of Adelaide grounds on Thursday evening.
The zoo said its “eagle-eyed keeper Amelia” was the one who spotted Oscar.
“He was found sitting in a fiddlewood tree by the cloisters of Adelaide University having a doze in the late afternoon sun,” Adelaide Zoo’s Nicholas Bishop said.
Mr Bishop said Oscar left a trail of sightings during his time at large, which helped keepers eventually locate him before they were able to swoop.
“We’d been at the River Torrens yesterday until midnight,” Mr Bishop said.
“We also had a posting on Facebook of a definite shot of him on an air-conditioning unit on one of the engineering buildings in the uni.
“We got together there this morning to have a look around and we thought ‘we know that he’s an owl and he’ll roost up during the day’, so we decided that we would just stay vigilant and try and get some rest and catch up on some sleep.”
Just as he was about to resume the search this afternoon, Mr Bishop got word that Oscar had been spotted.
What then followed was a delicate operation in which one of Oscar’s keepers climbed halfway up the tree to retrieve him.
“Because Oscar had been flying around and had a bit of appetite on him, he came down to a lower branch where we were able to secure him,” Mr Bishop said.
The sooty owl disappeared on Monday following a routine show at the zoo.
The zoo said its recovery team had been “out in force” trying to find Oscar since he flew the coop.
“As soon as he got back to the aviary, he had a big drink of water,” it said.
Mr Bishop said Oscar would be checked by vets before returning to the public stage.
The zoo thanked members of the public for their help during the search for Oscar.