A kestrel which was kept illegally as a pet for years has found a permanent new home at Helsinki’s Korkeasaari Zoo.
The animal was in bad shape when it was seized by police last summer, after losing so many feathers it wasn’t able to fly. At first it was cared for by a voluntary organisation but later transferred to the Korkeasaari wildlife hospital.
Over Easter the kestrel – known in Finnish as a ‘wind hawk’ – was put in its new enclosure with other domestic birds.
Species decline in Finland
During the 1950s, kestrels were one of the most common birds of prey in Finland. However, it soon became a textbook example of how quickly species can decline.
Due to habitat loss from intensive farming, several harsh winters in a row and the use of DDT insecticides which accumulate in the bird of prey food chain, the kestrel almost completely vanished from the Finnish countryside.
Nowadays kestrels are considered a viable species again and no longer endangered.
It is illegal to keep wild animals as pets in Finland and zoo officials think this rescued kestrel may have been trained for hunting.