BOSCOMBE’S new 50ft owl mural has been turning heads – but not as much as a real owl and its handler.

Bournemouth Emerging Arts Fringe, Bournemouth Coastal BID and artists Krishna Malla – who uses the name Tech Moon – were unveiling the new mural on Ashley Road on Wednesday.

Jason Putman brought his young Indian Eagle Owl to the precinct to desensitise him to the public after lockdown, unaware of the massive mural being revealed nearby.

Carol Maund, director of Bournemouth Emerging Arts Fringe (BEAF), who commissioned the artwork, spotted the pair and invited them to get a closer look.

Bournemouth Echo: Artist Krishna Malla – aka Tech Moon – with Elton the owl and his handler Jason Putman of Owl Hawk Experience in front of his mural in Boscombe

Jason, of Owl Hawk Experience, said: “I was just sitting in the precinct with Elton when Carol and Sonia came running over.

“They couldn’t believe how much Elton looked like the mural that was being sprayed onto the wall.

“And when we returned after it was completed it was uncanny and I’m sure Elton appreciated it.”

Artist Krishna Malla had spent three-and-a-half weeks creating the street art, using over 80 tins of paint and 30 litres of emulsion to prime it.

Bournemouth Echo: Artist Krishna Malla – aka Tech Moon – with Elton the owl in front of his mural in Boscombe

He said: “I found various photos to work from, but I never thought I’d come face-to-face with a real version of the owl I was painting.”

Elton was introduced to his larger-than-life portrait and Sonia Shaw from Bournemouth Coastal BID, couldn’t believe the likeness of the two owls.

Sonia said: “It is magnificent but to spot a real owl nearby that looked just like it was an amazing coincidence.

“The mural is already extremely popular and many, many people have been taking photos of it.

“We funded it following the successful bid to the Towns’ Fund, which has provided money that is being used across our areas to improve them.”

The Coastal BID funded the artwork through a £1 million accelerated Town Deal grant and BEAF organised the artist and managed the project.

Bournemouth Echo:  (l-r) Sonia Shaw and Fiona McArthur from Bournemouth Coastal BID, artist Krishna Malla, Jason Putman and Carol Maund from BEAF

The new 13-metre-tall mural is one of five planned for the Boscombe area over the coming months, and residents are encouraged to keep an eye out for where the next one will pop up.

Carol Maund from BEAF said: “This was a great collaboration between us and the Coastal BID.

“It is the latest mural in Boscombe alongside the elephants and the dachshund, and there are more on their way.”