Rafiiki, the great horned owl came to ARC Wild from On a Wing and a Prayer rehabilitation in Utah, USA. after she was hit by a vehicle. While her life was saved, her ability to sustain long distance flight was compromised. ARC Wild staff made the 20 hour trip to bring her back to Kansas and soon discovered, she is a wild soul at heart. During an early training, she managed to escape and fly a short distance up into the forests surrounding ARC Wild. After a month of freedom, she was recaptured and once again began training. Unfortunately, Rafiiki was unhappy and ARC Wild works hard to ensure all their animals are not only healthy, but content in their role as wildlife ambassadors. A decision was made to set Rafiiki free - back into the forests of ARC Wild where she continues to live happily.
ARC Wild is sad to see her go, but are happy she is living free - just like she was meant to be. The quality of life for ARC Ambassadors is of uptmost importance to ARC Wild staff.
Why set her free? While she did come to ARC Wild at great cost and recommendation as an educational animal, the great horned owl does not migrate - this means she does not have to sustain long distance flight to survive. Rafiiki demonstrated the capability of flying up to 50+ yards, glide and successfully hunt. When recaptured and placed back into captivity, she displayed several stress behaviors such as pulling out feathers and damaging herself flying into the walls of her aviary.