Nature Center educational raptor passes away

Published 1:25 pm Monday, December 12, 2022

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A long term feathered staple of the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center’s education platform has passed away.

The Nature Center on Monday announced the passing of their barred owl Guka, who had been with them for the past 17 years.

“Back when Guka was around a year old he got hit by a car, sustaining injuries that made him unreleasable back into the wild,” a news release read. “He found his forever home with us shortly after and lived the next 17 years of his life completely spoiled and loved by all nature center staff.”

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The release went on to say that over the past few weeks, Guka’s health had begun to deteriorate rapidly so nature center staff made the decision to put him to sleep in order to prevent any unnecessary suffering.

“Guka taught thousands of children in his life and instilled a love of the natural world with his unparalleled cuteness and relaxed attitude,” Monday’s release read. “We know he will be in the hearts of many and his memory will live on.”

In the wild, a barred owl’s life expectancy is 8-10 years while in captivity an owl can live near 20 years.

Guka’s enclosure will remain empty for the immediate future with the hope that another raptor will be able to join the nature center.