The HELICON LIFE project has been finished at 31 December 2016, meanwhile a new international project has been started. Hungarian, Slovak, Austrian, Czech and Serbian colleagues are working together in the PannonEagle LIFE project for the conservation of imperial eagles and for the elimination of predator poisoning between 2017 and 2022. Please visit the imperialeagle.eu site for actual information!
Although, fight against illegal bird poisoning may seem to be tilting at windmills, fortunately close cooperation of stakeholders has greatly improved the situation in recent years. MME/Birdlife Hungary had coordinated the EU and government funded Helicon Life programme between 2012 and 2016, which aimed to reduce poisoning of the Imperial Eagle.
In the past 5 years only 3 shots have been made of this bird. Which one do you think is the best?
MAVIR (the Hungarian Transmission System Operator Company Ltd.), in collaboration with MME/Birdlife and the Herman Ottó Institute, organized an international bird conservation conference on 7-8 November 2016.
Another, satellite-tracked Saker Falcon was electrocuted, this time in Slovakia. The case was revealed by the bird's transmitter. So far, six adult Saker Falcons have received GPS-based tracking devices in the frame of the conservation project "Securing prey sources for endangered Falco cherrug and Aquila heliaca populations in the Carpathian basin” (RAPTORSPREYLIFE) LIFE13 NAT/HU/000183, supported by the European Union.
Birds of preys have always been considered by game-keepers as pests which take a serious toll on the populations of their “precious” small game species. One would never think that certain raptors, notably Imperial Eagle and White-tailed Eagle in Hungary, being on the top of the food chain, are the most effective regulators of the populations of such species, mainly corvids and mammalian predators, which are hunted legally otherwise, therefore benefitting hunters.
The main objective of the HELICON LIFE+ programme, which runs from 2012 through 2016, is to reduce the number of crimes (poisoning, shooting and nest robbing) committed against raptor species among them the Imperial Eagle as our main priority. One of the project elements is nest guarding carried out by volunteers.
HELICON LIFE project paid particular attention to informing professional groups and coordinating different fields of expertise. Within the framework of the project, 79 workshops and conferences were organized, and associates held presentations on 55 further events between 2012 and 2016. Altogether, more than twelve thousand people attended these events.
This summer, twelve Imperial Eagle chicks have fledged in the Borsodi-Mezőség Protected Area and the surrounding Natura 2000 areas, in the Bükki National Park.
Among several projects, the HELICON Life project also shared its experiences at a recent platform meeting in Athens.