Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke holding online auction to name two newest owls

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke wants your help to name two of its newest educational ambassadors — an Eastern screech owl and a Barred owl — but it will cost you.

According to the wildlife center, the Eastern screech owl cannot be released into the wild because it is blind in one eye. While adult owls with one eye can be released because they have already learned to hunt using skills other than their sight, little ones — like the one currently at the wildlife center — are not capable of developing those hunting skills.

Meanwhile, the Barred owl was reportedly brought to the wildlife center after being hit by a car. Among its many injuries, the owl sustained a permanently misaligned jaw that would prevent it from feeding itself.

Since both owls would likely starve in the wild due to their physical limitations, the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke says they will use the owls to help educate the public about the importance of wildlife conservation.

The wildlife center is auctioning off the naming rights for the two owls, along with a number of other items, gift certificates, and discounted activities as part of an online fundraiser.

Even though the Roanoke Valley SPCA is helping with this online auction — which went live on Oct. 29 — all of the event’s proceeds will go toward helping the animals at the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke.

“Due to COVID-19 we sadly decided to cancel our largest fundraiser of the year, known as ‘A Night Owl on the Town.’ This event normally brings a significant amount of money that we rely on for our annual budget. As a non-profit we rely on donations to operate, and without our largest fundraiser we were afraid we wouldn’t meet our monetary needs in the coming year,” Chester Leonard, the assistant director of the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke, said in a statement to WFXR News. “However, the Roanoke Valley SPCA has come to our rescue! They have gone out of their way to host us on their auction platform. They helped us collect, photograph, and load everything to their site. With their help we hope to reach our goals; we definitely couldn’t do it without them!”

The auction closes at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13 and the items will be available for pickup at the Roanoke Valley SPCA between noon and 7 p.m. starting Monday, Nov. 15.

As of this writing, the top bid to name the Eastern screech owl is $2,026 while the top bid for the Barred owl‘s naming rights is $1,126.

If you want to check out the other items up for auction or just make a direct donation to the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke, follow this link.

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