Rocky the eagle flies free thanks to IAR Indonesia
A white bellied sea eagle has been successfully returned to the wild after being rescued from captivity and reared by IAR Indonesia.
Although the IAR programme within the Thousands Islands National Park, near Jakarta focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of Brahminy kites, this year we also received White bellied sea eagles in need of help. Rocky was the first sea eagle we received, followed by Rambo (December 2006).
Rocky was rescued in September 2006 from Kelapa island where he had been kept chained up on a concrete floor. He was confiscated by the forestry police and brought to the IAR centre on Kotok Island. Rocky still had fluffy baby feathers and the team estimated that he was no more than three months old. He was fed outside the cage and during feeding time he was taught to fly on the beach. Every day he improved a little and when he started to fly higher up he was moved up to a newly built flying cage of 12 x 12 x 6 metres.
Here he could exercise every day and learned to catch fish for himself. This process took him another few months. Also it took quite a while before Rocky’s primary feathers had grown fully and he finally proved in good enough condition to release on March 18. On this sunny Sunday morning, Rocky flew out of the cage. We had cut the netting of the cage open, so Rocky could get out by himself.
So far so good! Rocky is still around Kotok Island, He often sleeps in a tree near the release cage, but catches his own fish and seems to be in perfect condition. We have witnessed him soaring 40 metres above the ground already.
It was discovered that Rocky had been caught from a northern island in the National Park, where indeed a nest was spotted 35 metres high up in a tree, well hidden, with two adult white bellied sea eagles nearby. The future protection of this nest has become a priority for the IAR team.