Photo Credit: Sarah Kempen / JWVH

The Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital recently took in a poisoned Barn Owl and saved its life, but they wish to impress on people the detrimental effects of using poisons.


Johannesburg, South Africa (26 March 2021) – Tony Kinsella found a sickly Barn Owl and quickly reached out to the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital. The team took the own in and performed several medical procedures to get the owl stable and on the road to recovery.

“This Barn owl (Tyto alba) was brought into our hospital when it was found grounded and in a weakened state. A clinical examination and blood tests confirmed rodenticide toxicity, most likely due to it consuming a rat that had ingested rat poison.

Initially very anaemic and in urgent need of a blood transfusion, Dr K collected blood from a friendly chicken, which was then transfused into the owl over a period of four hours. The antidote to the poison, vitamin K, was also given 4x per day until his red cell count had stabilised (starting PCV of 18, dropping to 12, and within 4 days of treatment and the transfusion, rising to 28).

Within a week, this owl has gained 100g and is eating on his own. The chicken only needed to give 4ml of blood and is back to being a free-range chicken again, showing no ill effects.

Despite what marketing pitches suggest, there is NO safe rat poison that doesn’t cause secondary poisoning. Humane rat traps are the best solution to ensure that secondary predators are not impacted by rodent poisons.”

We have mentioned this several times on our website. We hope to keep spreading the message that poisons are disastrous not only for their intended victims but also for any wildlife indirectly harmed. This story is yet another reminder of how bad poisons are.

If you know of someone still using poisons, ask them to please look into alternative methods such as installing humane traps as mentioned below. Rodents caught in humane traps can be sent to bird sanctuaries where they can be fed to recovering birds, or you can take the rodent to a wild space and release it.

The vet treats indigenous wildlife for free and relies on donations, so if you are able, you can donate through the methods below.

Snapscan: https://pos.snapscan.io/qr/PXMP5766

Paypal: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr… (For the USA and international-based donors)

Johannesburg Wildlife NPC
FNB Cheque account
Account nr: 62658400264
Branch code: 255355
Swift code: FIRNZAJJ

Sources: JWVH
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Tyler Leigh Vivier
About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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