Rescue Stories from the Beijing Raptor Rescue Center - #3
A Little Boy’s Tears
The following is a report from the IFAW Beijing Rescue Center. Regularly the rescue team receives calls from local villages about injured wildlife. They have many successes and so many wonderful stories, I hope to share at least one with you per week!
With tears in his eyes, the young boy of six or seven years old waved goodbye to the little owl that he saved himself.
On August 3, 2006, BRRC received a call from Mr. Tu, who lived behind the botanical gardens in Xiangshan, in the northern part of Beijing. While sightseeing in Yanqing, a district in northern Beijing, they had rescued a scops owl chick that had fallen from a tree. The family’s grandmother said: “My grandson loves this bird and won’t let anyone touch it. He’s taken full responsibility of caring for the bird himself. Other than eating and sleeping, he spends all his time watching over the bird…. We don’t how to take care of this bird or even whether it is legal to keep it so we looked you up…. You come quicker than we thought!” Grandma Tu winked at me and said in low voice: “My grandson cried because you are going to take that bird away. He can’t bear to part with it!” Even I was moved upon seeing tears welling up in the boy’s eyes. Despite his tender age, the boy’s had a heart full of compassion for animals! I stroked his hair and said, “Don’t worry! We’ll do our best to take good care of it!” My co-worker, Little Tang, reminded the boy, “You can leave messages with us for the bird!” Guess what the little boy wrote? “I hope the bird can return to the wild as soon as possible!” Looking at his teary eyes, I was thoroughly moved by the boy’s love and sincerity.
The boy’s love for animals was demonstrated not in a desire to possess the bird but to respect its life. This little boy understood a principle that many adults fail to grasp: “Animals belong in the wild, and birds belong in the sky!” The scops owl weighed less than 20 grams; however, I felt the weight of it as I carried the box that held the little bird.
We gave it a detailed physical examination after we got back to the BRRC. It had suffered no truama and showed only general weakness. Near the end of August 2006, on a beautiful afternoon, we released the bird in the Jiufeng National Forest Park in the northwest of Beijing. The Tu family had been concerned about the owl since the day we took it away, and when I told them this news, their minds were finally put at ease.