CAPE COD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A snowy owl rescued from the waters off the coast of Cape Cod has died.
The Cape Wildlife announced in a Facebook post Saturday the owl passed from a mix of the stress of struggling in the water, hypothermia, and severe emaciation. They will conduct a necropsy—an autopsy for animals—to try to learn more about the cause of the bird's death.
"We want to thank the rescuers for their heroic efforts and everyone for their support," the post reads. "This is is certainly not the outcome we had hoped for, but we are grateful for the opportunity to try and help and that he was comfortable in the end."
The snowy owl originally ended up with the Cape Wildlife Center after a woman walking her dog along a beach noticed her pet saw something struggling in the water. She noticed it was an owl in the ocean and jumped into the freezing waters to retrieve the animal. She rescued the animal and wrapped it in her sweater to keep it warm before calling the wildlife center.
The Cape Wildlife Center said they believe the owl was migrating south from the arctic when it became tired and got tangled in the waves while trying to rest or catch something to eat.
The organization said this case shows how susceptible these owls are to stress and starvation. While they believe humans did not affect the outcome of this case, they encouraged anyone who encounters a snowy owl in the wild to keep their distance, as to not stress out the bird or disrupt its natural hunting behaviors.