Managing The Gene Pool

Our total number of owls for the breeding program is less than 100. It is essential to prevent inbreeding (siblings mating) or line breeding (pairings between adults and related offspring). This can result in loss of genetic information in the population. Over several generations this can result in a weakening of the birds and loss of health.

Our original breeding birds came to us from Washington State under arrangement between the BC Environment Ministry and the US Department of Fish and Wildlife. The breeding birds (called founders) were carefully selected from several clutches of young owls that made their homes in the grasslands near Moses Lake Washington. After checking the young owls over they were banded and transported to our breeding facilities at Kamloops and Vancouver.

Additional owls have entered the breeding program over time. Some have been introduced from Washington State. Others have arrived from unusual locations. One owl was sent to our program from a Wildlife Rehabilitator in central Vancouver Island after it had been found with an eye injury.