******Cape Flats Wildlife Series****** One of the apex predators of the CFDS, the Spotted Eagle Owl (Bubo africanus) is an impressive hunter indeed! Possessed of excellent vision, they not only have the ability to see in the dark, but, courtesy of independent pupils, are able to see in deep shade and bright light simultaneously. This, paired with acute hearing and silent flight courtesy of especially soft feathers, make them formidable raptors. The species is widespread throughout southern Africa and, thankfully, not endangered or even vulnerable. They are tremendously adaptable animals and have learnt to live quite well with humans. They are a common sight in gardens and parks throughout many major South African cities, where breeding pairs mate for life and may spend many years returning to the same nesting site. Here, as in the wild, they perform a hugely important pest control role, preventing rodent- and flea-borne disease spread and facilitating sanitary conditions (even when humans fail in this regard). Sadly, many people don't see it this way and target owls either out of superstition or protection of fowl livestock. Dispelling these notions and reducing human-owl conflict through education and appreciation for these amazing birds is key to protecting and preserving them and their vital ecological role for future generations.
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