This just in: Polka, the lone Northern spotted owl in a captive breeding program in Central Oregon, has died. He was 26.
His breeding partner, Dot, died last year.
From the High Desert Museum, where the captive owls lived:
“Polka and his mate, Dot, who died last year, were in the media spotlight several times, particularly from 2003 to 2005, when their owlets were released into the wild, and in 2008, when their offspring went to a breeding center in British Columbia. They inspired millions of visitors at the Museum who watched them close-up at the Donald M. Kerr Birds of Prey Center.
Attention around them heightened whenever Dot laid eggs in her nest, with Polka exhibiting classic male-owl parenting behavior, guarding over the nest and bringing her meals of dead mice. It was remarkable because the pair were over age 20. Spotted owls typically live about 16 years in the wild. They live longer in captivity when they are safe from predators and receive excellent care.”