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Rare Eagle from Mecklenburg shot down on Malta

Rescue operation: Osprey on its way back to Germany

The injured juvenile Osprey - (c) N. FenechThe injured juvenile Osprey - (c) N. FenechValletta/Bonn. A German eagle on migration to its winter quarters in Africa has once again been shot down by Maltese poachers. According to the Bonn-based Committee against Bird Slaughter (CABS) a juvenile Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) with shotgun injuries and the ring number BA31128 ( Hiddensee Ornithological Station) was rescued by conservationists from BirdLife Malta in the town of Salina (Malta) and handed over to the environmental police unit ALE.

As the facilities for treating the injured bird on Malta itself are very basic, the Maltese police contacted CABS yesterday afternoon. The organisation immediately undertook preparations for the bird’s transfer to a German animal clinic. Thanks to the rapid and unbureaucratic assistance provided by the Maltese authorities and the national airline Air Malta, the bird arrived in Munich this morning on flight KM 306 only 24 hours after being shot down out of the skies. The bird was collected by CABS members at the airport.

The bird broke its right wing when it hit the ground. Otherwise its condition is insofar stable. The next weeks and months will show if the bird is fit enough to be released again into the wild” commented CABS spokesperson Axel Hirschfeld. At present the eagle is on its way to the Kirchwald wild bird rehabilitation clinic, one of the largest rehabilitation centres for wild birds in Germany.

According to Daniel Schmidt, an ornithologist from the NABU bird protection centre in Mössingen, the Osprey is a four month old young bird that was ringed at the nest in the Rural District of Müritz (Mecklenburg- Western Pomerania) by employees of NABU and the Hiddensee Ornithological Station on 25th June 2010. A large number of voluntary ornithologists, in cooperation with local authorities and research institutes, have taken part in a long term Osprey research project in the region for the past 20 years.

The Malta daily newspaper Times of Malta has published a detailed article on the shooting down and rescue of the bird today. See Osprey on its way back to Germany

Further information on the state of health of the bird, the veterinary prognosis and the first X-ray results will be published by CABS over the next few days.