© Green Balkans

On September 20th, a team of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) found the helpless bird thanks to its GPS/GSM transmitter. Shortly afterward the eagle was transported to the Green Balkans Wildlife Rescue Center. The veterinarians in the center examined the bird and it was undoubtedly confirmed that the Imperial eagle is a victim of poachers, shot with a hunting weapon, with a broken left wing, and the X-ray showed 16 pellets in its body.

The young bird was tagged by BSPB with a GPS/GSM transmitter this summer in a nest near the town of Elhovo. Transmitters provide real-time information about the exact geographical coordinates of the birds’ location and monitoring of their condition. Satellite and GPS/GSM telemetry data reveal important information about the species, including the threats to its population. The current case is an example of one of the most serious threats – illegal shooting.

According to the veterinary specialists of the Rescue Center, where the bird is being treated, its condition remains critical. After the X-ray, the pellets were found all over its body, including the area of ​​the end vertebrae of the spine, where they can lead to permanent immobilization of the eagle.

© Green Balkans

The case has been reported to all responsible institutions, including the prosecutor’s office and we hope that pre-trial proceedings will be initiated soon.

The Imperial eagle is a globally endangered species and its persecution falls under the provisions of the Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment of up to 5 years and a fine of BGN 5,000 to 20,000! In this regard a few days ago, a poacher who killed dozens of endangered birds and mammals was detained by the police, and an investigation is currently underway. In the last few years, there have been three more cases of shot Imperial eagles known thanks to transmitters.

The Imperial eagle is one of the most emblematic species of Bulgarian nature, revered by our ancestors as a sacred bird that drives away hail clouds and saves crops. In recent years, thanks to long-term and purposeful conservation efforts, the number of its nests in Bulgaria has increased to 41. The loss of a single bird may have a detrimental effect on the entire population. Shooting Imperial eagles is an action against not only the efforts to preserve it, nature, and the species, but also against the morals and traditions of our people.

Imperial Eagle © Peter Csonka