Tonicka, one of just six Golden Eagles supplied by Slovakia for a Czech reintroduction project shot!

Unbelievable, incomprehensible, absurd, difficult for me to find suitable words to describe just how I feel about what has happened.  For nearly three years, Tonicka a golden eagle supplied as a nestling from Slovakia, was reintroduced into the Beskydy mountains in the Czech Republic in August 2011. On March 13 this year, due to an incredible coincidence, when the warden Ivan Bartos in charge of the Bartošovický luh nature reserve located near the Moravian village of Bartosovice, was checking reed bed habitat that day, he observed a golden eagle on the ground at the side of reed beds. Ivan immediately realized the  eagle was badly injured. The eagle was captured by Ivan Bartos without a struggle and taken to the nearby bird of prey rehabilitation centre at Bartosovice for expert examination.


Map indicating the place in Moravia where the wounded eagle was discovered.


During preliminary examination it was discovered  the bird was a three-year female golden eagle, an important part of the project “Return of the Golden Eagle in the Czech Republic”. This fact was confirmed by the ring A as 1560.


Three-year female golden eagle –  launched the project “Return of the Golden Eagle in the Czech Republic”

 Tonicka  was immediately transferred to a veterinary dispensary in the nearby town of Novy Jicin where she received emergency treatment for her injuries. Below are the  3 X rays confirming the eagle had been shot, sustaining at least 11 shot gun pellets some in the wing and others lodged in the muscle tissues, the extent of internal injuries could not be determined.




Tests also found bleeding in the oral cavity, blood traces on the left wing feathers from the inner side and the radius fractured wing. According to the veterinary surgeon who treated Tonicka, her  injury had been sustained within the last 24 hours.


The wing was strapped in two places after the lead shot had been removed.


 Standing on two legs, lucky to be alive


The shot gun pellets also damaged the satellite transmitter aerial.

It was quickly established the shooting and injuries sustained  had occurred at the point of capture.


A criminal complaint has now been filed against an unknown perpetrator in the case of shooting and critically injuring an endangered species under the Act No. 114/1992 Coll., on a nature and landscape protection area, and violation of the law of hunting a golden eagle (Aguila chrysaetos)

The shooting of this single golden eagle, which was an important part of a Czech Republic golden eagle reintroduction project, has now resulted in frustrating many years of hard work seriously threatening the result of efforts to return the this species back into the Czech Republic.

In 2013 the first successful fledging in 123 years of a golden eagle chick inside the Czech Republic was recorded. The loss of just a single golden eagle at this stage is now placing the projects aims under pressure. Currently there is only one breeding pair of golden eagles in the Czech Republic, and one additional territorial pair which have so far not bred.

Text: Petr Orel
Foto: Jan Kašinský
Foto RTG: MVDr. Milan Šturm

Our thanks also must go to Otakar Zavalski for proving detail of this story.




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