Park officials urging park goers to use caution with all wildlife after owl incident

Park officials urging park goers to use caution with all wildlife after owl incident

FRITCH, TX (KFDA) - The investigation into the disturbance of a protected wild animal continues.

After this weekend's incident, park officials are asking lake-goers to know how to handle wildlife if they encounter it.

The video that has caused quite a stir the past few days shows what appears to be a person hitting an owl out of a tree at Lake Meredith. Photos show the baby owls the mother left behind.

Now park officials are reminding residents about the rules the National Parks Service and other entities have in place.

"We ask that the visitors not harass the wildlife. They're actually protected under federal code and federal regulations, and we ask that people leave the wildlife alone, especially the nesting birds so the young can grow up," said Park Superintendent Robert Maguire. "We want the natural process to take its natural process."

Though the investigation is ongoing, we do know the person involved face both state and federal offenses. It is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by a $5,000 fine and/or six months in jail

"It may affect their survivability and whether their mother will keep them as part of a nest or not, so it really interrupts the natural process and we don't want that to happen because we want the babies to stay with mom," said Maguire.

Many have asked...what should you do if you encounter wildlife, especially in a situation where an animal is in danger?
Maguire says it's simple.

"In this area we ask that you call 911 or you can either get a hold of a Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden, or one of my park rangers and they will be happy to come out and take a report and investigate the situation," said Maguire. "So really just let us know. Give us a call. You can call here to headquarters or our visitors center which we have someone 7 days a week 365 days a year on duty."

Although interviews with suspects have been set up, no arrests have been made in the case, but Maguire tells us one thing is for sure. Wildlife is unpredictable.

"I think this person was actually lucky. That owl could have really done some damage to the person too."

Officials tell us the status of the mother owl is unknown at this time. We will continue to follow the story and bring you the latest.

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