Rescued owl recovering thanks to good Samaritans

A father and daughter were recognized Thursday for helping to save an injured endangered pueo.

Earlier this month, 7-year-old Malia Rillamas and her dad, Jonathan, were in the car when they saw the owl hopping across the road and into a deep ditch on the North Shore. They pulled over, as did a Wahiawa resident, Brian Smith. Together, they called for help and stayed with the bird until officials arrived.

“My daughter, being a real animal lover, she persuaded me to pull on the side. We stayed for about two hours and assisted with the pueo and the rescue. Many other Hawaiians as far as us, we all believe pueo to be our aumakua, spiritual adviser or like a guardian angel, that watches over our family and friends,” said Jonathan Rillamas.

Radiographs revealed that the pueo had several fractured bones in its elbow.

Thanks to their work, the bird is now recovering at Aloha Animal Hospital, and officials hope to release it back into the wild.

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources awarded the Rillamases, Smith, Aloha Animal Hospital veterinarian Douglas Chang, and the hospital staff with the first DLNR & YOU Citizen Conservationist awards.

The Rillamases and Chang appeared on Living808 to share their story. Click here for more.

“This is our way of recognizing people who go that extra step toward helping us effectively manage and protect Hawaii’s precious resources,” explained DLNR chair Suzanne Case. “In the future we hope to single out many of our citizen partners for the roles they play in making Hawai‘i the special place we all cherish; by helping watch over and care for all creatures great and small.”

If you see an injured bird or animal, call DLNR’s enforcement hotline at 643-DLNR (3567).

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