Illinois Raptor Center takes in snowy owls

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DECATUR - A 13-week-old snowy owl named Yeti is settling into her new home at the Illinois Raptor Center.

The center's new addition was named after another snowy owl who lived there, but died from the West Nile virus before a vaccination was available.

According to program director Jacques Nuzzo, the Illinois Raptor Center was without a snowy owl after the first Yeti died, but soon after was able to take in two injured snowy owls, a two-year-old male named Wampa and a two-year-old female named Tauntaun.  Both owls were named after "Star Wars" characters.

Nuzzo says Wampa has a broken beak, and Tauntaun has had a partial wing amputation.  He adds that there are plans to breed the two when they're old enough, and after obtaining the necessary permits.  That would make the Illinois Raptor Center the first center in the nation to breed snowy owls.

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