Another pair of golden eagles poisoned in Poland, the second pair in 4 years

On Wednesday, March 12, 2014, the Director of the Magura National Park in Poland was informed by the ornithologist Dr. Marian   Stójor that in the region of  Osieka Jaslo (SE Poland)  a pair of golden eagles had been discovered showing strong signs of intoxication from suspected poison.

The two eagles were found by local people who informed the Ornithological Station in Gdansk of their discovery. Staff from the Ornithological Station contacted Dr  Stójor  of the Eagle Conservation Committee, who  passed the information to the Magura National Park. Two employees of the Park then went to the scene to investigate. Zenon Wojtas and Damian Nowak Team for Conservation of Nature MPN confirmed they had found a pair of golden eagles in very poor condition, suspected of being poisoned. Nearby the two conservationists also discovered the body of a dead fox. The eagles appear to have eaten the contaminated flesh of the dead fox which then resulted in both eagles being poisoned.  A similar situation took place in the buffer zone of MPN four years ago. Then, however, the pair of eagles were already dead after eating from the poisoned fox carcasses.

The two Eagles found in March were immediately transported to the veterinary office of Mr. Viktor Winiewicza . Both eagles were subjected to gastric lavage to remove toxins from their stomachs, but sadly the female which had ingested too much poison could not be saved. The male eagle after the initial treatment was transported to the Protected Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Przemysl, where he covered after emergency treatment. 

The key to the recovery of any golden eagle which had been poisoned is the first 40 hours. The details of the discovery were sent to the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Rzeszów and the police, who appeared on the scene very quickly, are now undertaking an investigation aimed at finding the person/s who placed the poison.

The golden eagle is a species which is extremely rare and strictly protected in Poland. In the Magura National Park there is only a single nesting pair, while in Poland the number is estimated to be approximately 30 pairs. Therefore the loss of 1 pair is thus a threat to the entire population of this species. 

Eagles are monogamous, which means that pairs are bonded together for many years. The loss of this female is therefore tantamount to the loss of breeding a breeding pair. The golden eagle is the second largest  Polish raptor, the wing span can reach up to 240 cm. The female, which could not be saved, was  ringed and originated from the Bieszczady mountains.

The poisoning of birds of prey occurs in Poland is becoming more frequent, unfortunately in an indirect way, when birds eat the carcasses of animals that have been poisoned with dangerous pesticide. In the case of the two eagles it is understood the poison was being used to kill foxes not eagles, but never the less this was still illegal.

The golden eagle is a species in Poland which is legally protected. According to the Criminal Code destruction or damage to protected species species, is an offence punishable with a  huge fine under Article 181, with an additional penalty of of imprisonment of up to 2 years.

Perhaps law makers here in the United Kingdom have a lot to learn from countries like Poland where such  a deterrent is much more affective than a small fine and 140 hours community service. 

People who have information on this, please contact the Magura National Park. 

Magura National Park, Poland

The information published above was provided by Professor Tadeusz Mizera, Poznan

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