A young white-tailed eagle was released on Tuesday June 21 from Sciez (F), 130 years after the disappearance of this bird in France.
A young fish eagle took off Tuesday, June 21 at 7:55 a.m. in the wild. “We have been waiting for this first flight for so long! Today is the culmination of nearly 15 years of work,” confides, very moved, Jacques-Olivier Travers, founder of the Lake Geneva eagle reintroduction project.
The eagle named Agricultural credit according to one of the program’s sponsors, was the first to leave the nest he had occupied for 81 days with his parents. This year four young white-tailed eagles, their other name, will be reintroduced, two males and two females, communicated the park Les aigles du Léman, located in Sciez, on the French shore. The next flights are planned in the coming days.
This reintroduction is a double first since it tests a new method called “parental reintroduction” and it allows, for the first time in Europe, eagles born in captivity to return to the wild. A double nest is integrated for this, the parents remaining in an enclosure while that of the young is open. “We are now waiting to find out if the first young will return to feed with its parents who have remained in the aviary. If, as we hope, this is the case, the tested technique will have proved its worth,” explains Eva Meyrier, the park’s biologist.
80 reintroductions planned
The behavior of the eaglets will be monitored using GPS beacons which have been proposed by the project partners: the department of Haute-Savoie, the municipality of Sciez, Crédit Agricole and the Eaux de Thonon company. The general public can train this return to nature almost live by sponsoring an eaglet and following its evolution on a trail thanks to cameras in the aviaries and GPS beacons. After this first year, 80 eagles will be reintroduced over the next few years.
“In November 1892, in the forest of Ripaille, less than 8 km from here, the two young eagles from the last brood of mainland France were shot. 130 years later, seeing a young eagle, born in the same place or almost, returning to nature is a joy for the entire project team but also a sign that we can repair what we have destroyed” discovered Jacques-Olivier Travers.
At the same time, an educational space entirely dedicated to the eagle and its reintroduction project has been set up on the very site of the Parc des Aigles du Léman. During the three months that the Parc de Sciez is open, all visitors can benefit from guided tours in order to better understand this unique project.