Raptor ‘frightening’ pupils at Belgian primary school captured

Raptor ‘frightening’ pupils at Belgian primary school captured
Credit: Natuurhulpcentrum Opglabbeek

Teachers and pupils in a primary school in Belgium can finally breathe a sigh of relief after an escaped raptor which had been frightening them during playtime was captured.

Nature association Natuurhulpcentrum Opglabbeek announced on Tuesday that they captured an escape desert buzzard following reports of attacks on students of a primary school in Maaseik, Limburg.

“For several days, an escaped desert buzzard made the playground unsafe, and people didn’t dare to come out anymore,” the organisation wrote on Facebook.

WOESTIJNBUIZERD GEVANGEN IN NEEROETERENGisteren kregen we een melding van een basisschooltje in Neeroeteren, Limburg,…

Posted by Natuurhulpcentrum Opglabbeek on Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The bird’s capture on Tuesday by the organisation marked the second attempt by the school to release pupils and staff from its grip, after several close encounters with the animal were reported in part days.

The organisation said that the bird is “a tame specimen,” which is used to contact with humans, and that it was likely that he resorted to swooping down on the school playground when it got hungry.

After a falconer on Monday was unsuccessful in capturing the bird, the organisation set up a special trap cage and use chicks as bait to lure and capture the raptor.

The school principal told Het Nieuwsblad that, according to the falconer, children were safe from the bird’s attempted attacks so long as it had fed enough.

It is unclear where the buzzard escaped from but the organisation said that the straps around its claws suggested that it had an owner.

Buzzards are medium-sized birds of prey and are among the most common daytime raptors in Europe and they are allowed to be kept as pets in Belgium under certain conditions.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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