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Rare eagle treated at IAR bird hospital in Malta

Rare eagle in the care of IAR MaltaA very rare species of eagle that was illegally shot down in Malta has been successfully treated at IAR’s bird hospital. The lesser spotted eagle was identified by a ring on its leg and had originally come from Germany. There are only 90 pairs of these birds left in Germany and the species is the subject of a one million euro conservation project, financed by the EU. It appears that the bird was ringed on the 15th July in Lowenberg Louisenaue in the North of Berlin, in the area known as Oberhavel.

Records show that the injured bird hatched earlier this year and, as part of the EU project, was removed from the nest and cared for in a rehabilitation centre for the first weeks of its life. Lesser spotted eagles only manage to rear one chick at a time, so this method means that more chicks reach adulthood. The young bird was then ringed when it was a few weeks old and returned to the nest. The project is being sponsored not only by the Federal State of Brandenburg but also as an EU Life Project because the species is so critically endangered.

Axel Hirschfeld from CABS (Committee against bird slaughter) in Germany said that this year only sixteen nests were identified in the area and the project to protect and save these birds costs about one million euros.

When the bird came into the IAR hospital it was found to have lead shot in its leg and was unable to stand. It was hand fed by IAR’s Max Farrugia and his wife.

Close-up of identification rings on the injured eagle in the care of IAR MaltaArrangements were then made to fly the bird back to Germany. Air Malta generously agreed to take the bird free of charge so that it can be operated on and restored to full health.

Alan Knight OBE, CEO of IAR, said: "It is shocking to see that some Maltese hunters continue to flout the law and shoot down anything that flies overhead. In this case luckily the bird was saved, but hundreds more are still being killed. This can’t continue, and with our German partners at CABS we are determined to do all we can to support the Maltese police and stop these wildlife criminals."