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Owl found during DUI traffic stop making 'significant improvements,' experts say

The local wildlife rescue that took the owl in said it has seen improvements since being brought in, but they're still unclear if it will be able to be rereleased.

PAYSON, Ariz. — Editor's note: The above video aired during a previous broadcast.

A "now infamous" Western screech owl is on its way to being healed after it was discovered during a DUI traffic stop, a local wildlife rescue service said.

Liberty Wildlife in Phoenix said that the owl has made "significant improvements" over the weekend in an Instagram post. However, it is still unclear whether the owl will ever fully recover.

"We will still monitor a bit to determine if it will be able to make a full recovery and be released to a safe habitat," the rescue said on Instagram.

The young owl was discovered in a car during a DUI traffic stop in Payson, the town's police department said. The driver told officers he had just bought the bird from someone at a gas station for $100. Tischer says it was an unusual circumstance but his officers handled the situation perfectly.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 'The first thought is, that can't be a real owl': Payson police officers discover illegal owl during traffic stop

After arresting the driver, they took the bird to the station and handed it over to Arizona Game and Fish.

"You never know what you'll come across," Payson Police Chief Ron Tischer said. "If we learn anything from this, you should call somebody, an expert, who knows what they're doing."

The driver was booked on multiple charges including Aggravated DUI, possession of meth and possession, transport and purchase of wildlife.

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