How to get world fame with one kick!

Luis Moreno kicks Barn Owl

by Gunnar Engblom on March 3, 2011

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How to become world famous in a day?

Barn Owl get kicked

Either you do something sensational – or you do something really stupid. It is quite clear that the latter is far easier to bring you world fame. Take this football player from Panama, Luis Moreno, who plays for the Colombian team Deportivo Perreira, for instance. He kicked the Barn Owl, that lived on top of the Roberto Meléndez Stadium in Barranquilla and which home-team Junior Barranquilla had made official mascot. The Owl had  accidentally entered the football ground during the ongoing game and had just been hit by a ball, the game stopped and a few seconds later it got a final kick that looks gut-turning disgusting on the video-flcks on You Tube.
That was a very stupid thing to do – and now he is famous all over the world. Infamous is a better word.

But did Luis Moreno purposely kill the owl?

How could anyone sane be so incredibly cruel? Why would anyone want to hurt the mascot of the opposing team? Let’s analyze the situation.

  • Perreira is loosing 2-1 and only 14 minutes left to play. The owl is on the ground (the story does not tell us why) and get hit by a ball. I lies on the ground and will obviously obstruct the game.
  • The defender Moreno obviously never treated live birds and did not know what to do.
  • The heat of the situation, effectively loosing the game, and with very little time to equalize, he does a very stupid thing to get the bird over the sideline. He kicked it. Definitely not the action you and I as birders would take.

He says to the press he did not mean to hurt the bird and just wanted to get it over the sideline. I have no reason not to believe him.

  • You can see from the video that he stands still when he kicks the Owl and that he gets the whole foot under the owl, not shooting with the stretched ankle which is usual for try to hit the ball hard.
  • You can also see from the top photo that he leans back and has a very raised leg supporting his statement that he has been trying to shove the owl over the sideline.
  • The Owl, which has been hit three times – first by the ball and then by Moreno’s foot and the impact of hitting the ground, is taken into treatment. We still don’t know how it got on the ground in the first place. Did it fly into a window or something?
  • The first reports says the owl was OK basically OK. Nothing broken – but a bit in a shock.
  • The Owl dies 30 hours later in a state of shock. The cause of death that has been mentioned: Excessive handling.

In the end,  it was probably not Moreno who killed it but the sum of the hits, the shock and the handling. It was still a stupid thing to do!

After the incident Moreno will face suspension and fines from the Colombian Football Federation and has received death threats.  He says he is regretful, did not mean to harm the bird, and thinks the world is over-reacting. Best to leave this sad incident behind and get on with it, he adds.
Wrong, totally wrong strategy.

I have done a lot of stupid things in my life, often not realizing the consequences at the time of action. But seemingly none of my mistakes have been stupid enough to make me world famous.  What does one do for damage controle, when one does something stupid? Just ask for forgiveness does not put things right.

On top of everything his daughter is throwing out insults to left and right against Colombians in general on her Facebook,  becauseof the hate messages directed to her dad.

Uuuj! Social Media will only makes things worse.

Shouldn’t this guy start donating to animal welfare charities and do some penance work instead?

Put yourself in Luis Moreno’s owl-kicking shoes. What would you do if you were him?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherry Lidstone March 23, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Thanks Gunnar for a sane insight on what was a horrible situation all around :)

Gunnar Engblom March 25, 2011 at 5:34 am

Thanks Sherry.
He was severely punished I think, but surely death sentence is a bit over
the top. He wasn’t very smart in the damage control.

Gunnar Engblom-Lima, Peru.
Gunnar’s Blog – updated frequently.
http://www.kolibriexpeditions.com/birdingperu/blog/
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