A new start for Vihra, a sad end for Dani

An imperial eagle, unable to fly was found in southern Hungary (Békés County) last week. Colleagues of the Körös-Maros National Parks Directorate with the help of local hunters were able to catch and successfully transfer the bird to the veterinary clinic of the Budapest Zoo. After a few days of professional care the highly protected bird of prey became able to fly once again and ready to be released.

As it turned out after the eagle was ringed last June as a chick by professionals of Green Balkans (Federation of Nature-conservation NGOs) under the programme “Conservation measures for target species of the EU Birds Directive – Lesser Kestrel, Black Vulture, and Imperial Eagle in their main habitats in Bulgaria”. She was the biggest among the three siblings found in the nest in Western Strandzha. They named it Vihra (means Storm wind in Bulgarian) and equipped her with a GPS tracker which worked for several months and stopped for unknown reason in April 2013. She was last seen on 9 April 2013 in Central Bulgaria.

Equipping the first GPS device in Bulgaria (source: Green Balkans)
Equipping the first GPS device in Bulgaria (source: Green Balkans).

 

The route of Vihra in 2012 summer/autumn (source: Green Balkans)
The route of Vihra in 2012 summer/autumn (via Green Balkans).

 

By the joint effort of BirdLife Hungary (MME)’s ’Helicon’ LIFE+ and Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BPSB)’s ’Save the Raptors’ LIFE+ programme the released eagle was equipped with a modern satellite-tracking device which makes it possible to follow Vihra’s movement via the internet. As Vihra is the first confirmed eagle hatched in Bulgaria to visit Middle-Europe, her future route is of great interest to scientist.


Moments of the release (Photos: MME).

 

Vihra was released into the wild yesterday, close to the spot where she was found. She easily flew up with just a few powerful wingbeats.

Vihra flew away easily with her new GPS tracker (Photo: MME)
Vihra flew away easily with her new GPS tracker (Photo: MME).

 

While nature conservancy experts, vets and biologist strived to help Vihra, saddening news arrived about one of our tagged imperial eagle. Dani (who was named after Daniel Gyurta Olympic champion swimmer) was found dead not far from the place Vihra was caught.

Dani was still wearing the GPS tracker equipped in August 2012 (Photo: MME)
Dani was still wearing the GPS tracker equipped in August 2012 (Photo: MME).

 

His GPS tracker helped localizing its carcass but the help arrived too late. Dani was the fourth imperial eagle this year to be found dead, possible due to illegal poisoning.

National Park ranger examines the carcass of Dani (Photo: MME)
National Park ranger examines the carcass of Dani
(Photo: MME)
.

 

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