Wildlife

Owl Saved by Woman From Frigid Ocean Off Cape Cod Dies Days Later

Gina Hajjar had jumped into the frigid ocean to save the snowy owl after her dog saw it struggling in the surf off Dennis Thursday

Gina Hajjar

A Massachusetts animal shelter shared sad news about a snowy owl that was saved from the ocean off Cape Cod this week by a woman who was going for a walk on the beach.

The owl died, the Cape Wildlife Center said Saturday, attributing the death to "stress of struggling in the water mixed with hypothermia and severe emaciation."

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The owl had been spotted struggling in the surf off Dennis by Gina Hajjar's dog while they were on a walk Thursday evening. Hajjar jumped into the frigid water to save the animal, saying that the tide seemed to be taking it out to sea.

The Cape Wildlife Center plans to conduct an autopsy on the bird to learn more about what happened. It had previously explained that snowy owls sometimes migrate down from the Arctic looking for warmer weather, but can run out of energy while searching for food and rest.

A woman on the Cape plunged into frigid waters to rescue a distressed owl that was stuck in the surf.

"We want to thank the rescuers for their heroic efforts and everyone for their support. This is is certainly not the outcome we had hoped for, but we are grateful for the opportunity to try and help and that he was comfortable in the end," the animal center said Saturday.

The organization also urged people who find a snowy owl in the wild to stay away, since their presence can disrupt the birds' hunting: "The best thing you can do to help protect this incredible species is to give them the space they need to be wild."

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