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Who-Who is Balthazar?

Thursday, October 10 2019 2:53 PM
By Julia Stafford

We are extremely excited to introduce the newest mysterious addition to Tanganyika Wildlife Park. He's wise, he's feathered, and he's got all the owltitude. Who-who could it be? 

Meet the mysterious Balthazar. He is a 3.5 year-old Eurasian Eagle Owl. 

Balthazar arrived at Tanganyika about two months ago with the intention to be used to help educate the public. Therefore, he is currently in training to become an ambassador animal. The presence of animal ambassadors is a a huge contributing factor to our mission to connect and preserve. They provide an up-close, one-of-a-kind learning experience that allows guests to connect with the animal and is likely to have a lasting impact or spark an interest in nautre and wildlife as a whole. Our ambassadors are representatives for nature and wildlife conservation. 

Balthazar is working with keepers to become an ambassador representing nature and wildlife who will eventually touch hundreds and hundres of lives. His primary keeper, Sarah, has been training with him on a daily basis as he builds his trust in her. She says that her first focus was making sure that he was comfortable enough to be an ambassador. 

"We accomplished that goal in a month - very quickly," she said. "Now, we've begun flight training. We are starting with small hops to the glove and he's doing really well!" 

Balthazar has even made a couple local news appearances alongside Sarah and Tanganyika's assistant director, Matt. 

See his latest news visit here: Newstalk: Tanganyika's Asian Eagle Owl

Eurasian Eagle Owls are considered by most to be the largest species of owl based on wingspan. Similar to our native Great Horned Owl, they have camoflauge/plumage and tufts of feathers on their head. However, Eurasian Eagle Owls are larger and have bright orange eyes instead of yellow eyes like Great Horned Owls. People often mistake the feather tufts on their head as ears, but they are not ears. The tufts are just feathers that help break up the round shape of the owl's head so they blend in better with the trees they live in. 

Balthazar is not on public exhibit and there is not a consitent time that he will be out with keepers. But the hope is that he will start coming out more and more as an ambassador. With his off-season training upon him, he will likely be seen out in the Park often next season! 

Special thanks to bird keeper Sarah for providing some great information about Balthazar!

 


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