Wildlife ACT Fund
December 23, 2022

Rescued Lesser Spotted Eagle Soars to New Heights

A Lesser Spotted Eagle that was saved by conservationists in November 2021 is providing some insightful information to the movement of this species.

The juvenile male Eagle was found by locals, grounded and very weak, in the farmlands outside Underberg in southern KwaZulu-Natal towards the end of 2021. It was then transported to Raptor Rescue for rehabilitation.

Photo: Wildlife ACT's Conservation Director, Chris Kelly

Once considered to be have been successfully rehabilitated, the Eagle was fitted with a GPS tracking unit and released December 2021, just outside of Pietermaritzburg. The individual began its migration journey in February 2022. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Wildlife ACT and Raptor Rescue have been following the individual’s movement with keen interest since its release.

Flying the length of the African continent, the Eagle spent the South African winter in Russia and a war torn Ukraine. Data has highlighted that the bird avoids large bodies of water and uses breaks in its migration journey to recover. Although the Eagle has not returned to South Africa, it has returned to Southern Africa.

The fitting of a GPS unit not only provides insightful information into the species migration patterns, but also reinforces the value of rehabilitation and when done correctly, contributes to our biodiversity.

With many thanks to Raptor Rescue Rehabilitation Centre, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Steve Black, Team Khotso, and Wildlife ACT Innovations.