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Last Updated: Friday, 16 December 2005, 11:34 GMT
Bird of prey centre plan for park
A barn owl
The trust is waiting to hear about grant applications
Plans have been unveiled for a 300,000 birds of prey wildlife centre at a Gwynedd country park.

The North Wales Bird Trust hopes to open the centre at Parc Glynllifon.

As well as a classroom, it will house a large aviary, visitor centre and woodland area.

The project is backed by bird expert Iolo Williams, and the park sees it as an opportunity to attract more visitors.

The facilities will be free to local groups and schools, with the educational side linking to the national curriculum.

"We have to get children excited about the enviroment, and we could do this through the birds at this centre," said Ann Broughton, secretary of the North Wales Bird Trust, which has a sanctuary at Llandudno.

"Our passion is the owls, and as they are top of the food chain, they are a good indicator of how things are," Mrs Broughton added.

An owl at the trust's Llandudno wildlife centre
Of those which come to us, 70% of them are reintroduced to the wild, even though this might take up to six months sometimes
Ann Broughton, North Wales Bird Trust

One indication of the pressure on wildlife is the fact there are only an estimated 3,000 pairs of barn owls left in Britain.

The North Wales Bird Trust look after 300 birds of prey, many injured in road accidents or by the use of pesticides.

"Of those which come to us, 70% of them are reintroduced to the wild, even though this might take up to six months sometimes," said Mrs Broughton.

Owls being bred as pets is more of a worry for the trust, as these birds have no skills to survive in the wild, and can live for up to 40 years.

The trust, which is looking for a third of a million pounds over three years to set up the centre, is waiting to hear whether numerous grant applications have been successful.

Plans for the education centre are backed by bird expert Iolo Williams, the charity's honorary patron.

"It a marvellous idea to get an education centre as the trust is involved with many conservation projects, and education is an important part of conservation," he said.

'Fantastic facility'

Another patron, wildlife artist Phillip Snow, will provide a special limited edition picture for the opening.

Parc Glynllifon see the development as a further boost to both the economy and schools in the area.

"We feel this will provide a fantastic educational facility for school children," said park warden Gwynedd Roberts.

"There will also be an economic boost for the area as extra jobs would be created and more visitors would be attracted to the park," he added.

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