Golden eagle still missing: Search continues near Co Antrim rescue centre for Griff

Mike Gibb with golden eagle Griff. Pic: World of Owls
Mike Gibb with golden eagle Griff. Pic: World of Owls
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The search is continuing for a male golden eagle that escaped from its home at a Co Antrim rescue centre last week.

Ten-year-old Griff has been missing since escaping while cleaning was taking place at the World of Owls conservation centre in Randalstown on May 23.

Griff is a 10-year-old golden eagle. Pic: World of Owls

Griff is a 10-year-old golden eagle. Pic: World of Owls

The bird's owner, Mike Gibb, has been searching for Griff for several days. And he believes he is still likely to be within 10 miles of the centre.

"I think he is most likely to be somewhere in Randalstown Forest or the surrounding countryside," Mr Gibb told the News Letter.

"We are concentrating the search to the north, between World of Owls and Toome, but it's possible that he could have gone further."

Mr Gibb has been joined by volunteers in searching for the eagle, and members of the public have reported hundreds of possible sightings - though sadly none have led to them finding Griff as yet.

Mike Gibb said Griff was reared in captivity and should not present any threat to people's pets. Pic: World of Owls

Mike Gibb said Griff was reared in captivity and should not present any threat to people's pets. Pic: World of Owls

Sightings have been reported in areas as far apart as Coleraine and Dublin, but Mr Gibb said it is likely members of the public have been mistakenly reporting glimpses of large female buzzards, which can look similar.

Mr Gibb said his "big mate" has a 6ft wingspan, dark coloured feathers, a yellow beak and yellow feet.

"I am very concerned about him. He has been in captivity his whole life. We got him as an educational asset for the centre, so he could struggle to survive," he said.

Mr Gibb stressed that Griff should not pose any threat to the public, or their pets.

"They are natural scavengers, so hopefully he will be ok. My big worry is that he goes for roadkill and gets hit by a car. Maybe his natural instincts will kick in. We just don't know."

Hopeful that he will find Griff safe and well, Mr Gibb has appealed to anyone who spots the bird to contact him via the World of Owls Facebook page.

World of Owls is a registered charity dedicated to the rescue and conservation of owls and other birds of prey.