Athena's Story

Athena is an Eurasian Eagle Owl that lives at the San Francisco Zoo. She was smuggled into the United States as an Easter Egg in an Easter Basket along with 14 other eggs from Austria so the eggs could past through San Francisco International Airports Customs a little over 3 years ago.

Only 3 of the 15 eggs survived do to lack of not incubating the eggs properly during the flight from Austria to the US. The 3 eggs hatched at the smugglers house but the owls had been seized during a sting operation called Operation Easter Basket.

After the 3 owls had been seized Athena was sent to the San Francisco Zoo and the other two owls which are males got sent to other facilities in Northern California. The owls did not belong to any of the facilities until recently because they had been considered Police Evidence in a crime investigation. The zoo took care of Athena while the crime investigation was going on until recently they have been given full custody of her and now she belongs to the zoo.

The smuggler pleated guilty in November 2006 and was sentenced to prison for 21 months and a fine of $5,000. Athena's story had to be kept secret along with the other 2 owls until all the appeal process was over which ended in July 2008.

Athena's story is one of the reasons I believe in zoos because many zoos do rescue animals in time of need and give these animals a second chance to live. If an animal can not be released back into the wild zoos take these animals in to shelter them and that is exactly what the San Francisco Zoo has done by giving over 100 rescued animals a new chance at life since they would not be able to survive out in the wild on their own.

Some of the other animals that the San Francisco Zoo has rescued are Grizzly Bear Sisters, a female Polar Bear, three females and a male chimpanzee, a male river otter, a male seal, 2 pelicans and other birds of prey.

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August 30, 2008


Another great story! Thank you for sharing!! I used to hate zoos before I realized that those animals we have in our Estonian Zoo would have been dead many years ago if they would have continued their lives in wilderness. From then I'm pretty happy we can do something good for them and also teach our children how to live next to such amazing creatures.

August 29, 2008


Thanks :)

August 29, 2008


Great shot!

August 28, 2008


Athena is one of my favorite birds to visit and her story always amazes me. Thanks for commenting :)

August 28, 2008


Very true, without zoos and animal sanctuaries many animals would perish. Thank you for sharing this story. Athena is gorgeous.

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