Unique Zim hawk makes stunning recovery after pellet gun injury

2015-07-27 08:59
African Harrier-hawk. (Supplied, Lesely De Beer)

African Harrier-hawk. (Supplied, Lesely De Beer)

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Harare - It looked like he'd never fly again.

But now a handsome Zimbabwean hawk that was shot and injured by a Harare gardener will take to the air again, thanks to the devoted efforts of a local bird rehabilitation expert.

"Beauty", an African Harrier-Hawk, was found injured and bloodied in Harare’s upmarket suburb of Mandara in May.

In a sadly all-too-common tale, the hawk had been trying to steal bantam chicks from a garden in the suburb - and was downed by a gardener with a pellet gun.

The injured bird was rescued by a member of BirdLife Zimbabwe.

“There were two African Harrier-Hawks circling around [that area] and we believe that this bird that was injured was one of them," Julia Pierini, the vice president of BirdLife Zimbabwe told News24.

The injured hawk was taken to local bird rehabilitation expert and self-proclaimed “Mother Hen”, Lesely de Beer.

Veterinarians who treated Beauty discovered that the wing had been fractured by the pellet.

The wound then got a secondary infection, which turned gangrenous.

"They [the vets] had to pluck his feathers to heal the injury. Now he’s made a full recovery. He’s flying around already,” De Beer told News24.

The hawk was then sent to the Twala Trust Animal Sanctuary, outside Harare, where he remains for the time being. He will be released back into the wild as soon as all his feathers have grown back.

The African Harrier-Hawk is an avian wonder. The bare yellow skin around its face is known to blush pink to display a change in mood, says BirdLife Zimbabwe’s Pierini.

“The illustrations that you see just don’t do a bird justice when you see them up so close,” De Beer explains.

Said Pierini of BirdLife Zimbabwe: “My objection to that [Mandara shooting incident] is that bantams breed constantly. This bird breeds once a year, if you’re lucky, with one egg. The survival rate is low.”

Harrier-Hawks won’t raise a chick on their own, so Beauty’s mate would have abandoned their nest.

After his release from the Twala Trust, De Beers and others hope Beauty will find his way back to his mate.

A recovering "Beauty", an African Harrier-Hawk. (Supplied, Lesely De Beer)

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  animals

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