The imperial eagle that crossed Luxembourg was shot down

This was the event when the imperial eagle was first seen in the country in March. We learn that the bird was shot in Austria.

In Austria

Dustin MERTES

This was the event when the imperial eagle was first seen in the country in March. We learn that the bird was shot in Austria.

At the end of March, the imperial eagle “Artesimia” stopped in the Grand Duchy, more precisely in Clervaux, during an extremely long European tour. Usually the range of this predator extends from southeastern Central Europe to Lake Baikal in Siberia. Its western limit of distribution is actually in Eastern Austria, where Artesimia also originated.


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It was there that a female bird was shot by an unknown person while returning from an unusually long trip to Europe and was so badly injured that she had to be euthanized, according to BirdLife Austria. “The inspection showed that the bird apparently received a gunshot wound while sitting. The bullet went through both legs and nearly tore them off. Open fractures and heavy blood loss were the result of the animal’s death, “said Matthias Schmidt, a bird conservation expert, quoting vienna.at.

“It is sad and shameful that Artemisia was kindly accompanied by the public on her long journey through Europe, and was so brutally persecuted as soon as she returned home,” Schmidt continued. Police are currently investigating.

An unusual journey

The female hatched last year near Lake Neusiedl in eastern Austria. On June 27, 2021, the bird protection organization Birdlife Austria installed a transmitter on the young bird and released it. In autumn the animal began its journey towards Greece. At the same time, his brother crashed into a wind turbine in Austria. The trip to the Mediterranean has already been unusual, as eagles generally winter in Central Europe, according to a predator expert Schmidt in a press release.


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Through birdlife.at it was possible to trace the continuation of the journey of the animal, which in early March crossed the Balkans to return to Austria, and from there continue in the direction of Germany. After touring the Netherlands and Belgium, Artesimia finally landed in northern Luxembourg to spend the night. From there, the Imperial Eagle traveled to France before beginning its return home, a journey that proved fatal to the bird.

From 2,500 to 9,999 copies

The reason for his long journey is unknown. “Imperial eagles do not reach sexual maturity until the age of six, and then look for new territories,” explains Patrick Lorge of the Natur & Ć«mwelt Ornithological Center.

Before that, some “go on a long journey”, and sometimes the animals get lost along the way. Climate change may also be the reason for the alleged search for a new homeland. According to the World Conservation Organization, there are only 2,500 to 9,999 adult Aquila heliaca left in the world. With a wingspan of over two meters, the eastern imperial eagle is one of the largest predators in Europe.

This article was first published at www.wort.lu/de

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