Dakota the owl is recovering, eating solid foods

OCONOMOWOC -- The outlook for Dakota the owl is "quite positive" according to experts at the Wildlife in Need Center in Waukesha County. And on Thursday, we got our first look at Dakota since he was returned to the center.

Dakota has been receiving solid foods since Tuesday, December 13th. After losing 27% of his bodyweight his muscle mass began to deteriorate in order to keep his body functioning. The guarded outlook was due to fears that his system wouldn’t handle the food well after reaching such an emaciated state during his three weeks in the woods.

After several days of slowly increasing his intake however, it appears that the worst of his physical recovery period is over. “He cast his first ‘full’ pellet on December 15th,” says Wildlife rehabilitator, Amanda Feavel, “and that was a big step in the right direction.” He has also gained nearly 200 grams since his rescue -- and needs to gain another 200 grams to be back to his original weight.
Police say two teens, 17-year-old Dilan White, and 18-year-old Matthew Kuhlemeyer are accused of taking Dakota from the Wildlife in Need Center. Officials tracked the teens down after one of their friends posted a picture of the owl on Facebook. The teens say Dakota flew away when they were at a friend's house in Dousman.
Dakota is 11 years old, and has always lived in captivity.