Printer-friendly version

Lesser Spotted Eagle shot down on Malta


A bird ringed in the state of Brandenburg, Germany, is found injured in the south of the island

Sigmar, the Lesser Spotted Eagle raised in Germany and shot on MaltaSigmar, the Lesser Spotted Eagle raised in Germany and shot on Malta Sigmar, the Lesser Spotted Eagle shot down by hunters over Malta in September is dead. The veterinary surgeons of the Free University Berlin who have been treating him put him to sleep on 7 December 2007 after new complications arose. In the area of his shattered shin bone a severe infection had flared up again, causing the bird a great deal of pain. As a release into the wild was in any event no longer possible due to the extent of the injuries the doctors decided to put an end to Sigmar’s suffering.

Only hours after the closure of the CABS bird protection camp a massacre of raptors was begun by hunters in Buskett Gardens and the surrounding countryside.

An injured Lesser Spotted Eagle, found by the police on Sunday evening (23.09.07) in Birzebugga a few kilometres to the south , had a narrow escape. The bird had been shot in the foot and had other injuries, and it was taken to the recovery station run by our partner organisation International Animal Rescue.

The bird had a Hiddensee Ornithological Station ring which enabled it to be identified as a juvenile which had hatched this year in the Upper Havel district north of the German capital Berlin.

The German press follows with engagement the history of SigmarThe German press follows with engagement the history of SigmarAt the beginning of July the chick, the smallest of the brood of two, was taken from the nest to be reared by hand for two weeks. This is done to prevent Cainism, not uncommon among Lesser Spotted Eagles, where the stronger chick ejects the weaker (Abel) from the nest in the first few weeks. As the population in Germany is in drastic decline (less than 100 pairs in Germany at present), this recovery measure has been introduced to bolster up the survival of the species.

The young bird was ringed on 15.07.07 and put back into the nest with its sibling.

The project, conducted by the Brandenburg Environmental Ministry, is to run over 3 years and is financed exclusively from German taxpayers’ money and EU funds – the total cost amounts to 1 Million Euros. Paul Soemmer, the project manager states: “All of our efforts in the breeding areas will be of no avail if we can’t protect the birds better on the migration routes”. Paul is rightfully upset and angry: “We have invested more than money and time” he says “these birds are almost like our own children”.

Sigmar on the veterinary table in BerlinSigmar on the veterinary table in Berlin On 29 September Air Malta flew Sigmar back to Frankfurt am Main at no charge. He was taken from there by CABS members to the Free University animal clinic in Berlin.

TV appearance and pictures

One of Sigmar's TV appearances was in the late night news programme of the German first TV programme ARD on 29 September 2007.

Other press coverage

An article on Sigmar's demise (in German) appeared in the BerlinTagesspiegel daily newspaper.

The original CABS press statement is here »»

The Maltese and German media gave the Sigmar case wide coverage.

You can find a selection of articles on the website of our partner organisation Proact