– The first baby eagle was born in neighboring France
Hatched on April 2nd, the little bird of prey is the first success of the reintroduction program recently launched by Les Aigles du Léman in Sciez.
Pink notebook in Sciez, in Chablais, Savoy. On April 2nd, in Les Aigles du Léman Park, a small white-tailed eagle broke open its shell to show the tip of its beak. This birth is extraordinary: the baby bird is the first born in the context of the Reintroduction program for this species of ospreywhich disappeared from the Lake Geneva basin 130 years ago.
After 35 days of incubation, the parents of the young eagle, Roy and Kabaa, aged 14, have therefore welcomed their first baby. Everything under the cameras of the zoo, whose entire team had been waiting for this event for a long time. In particular, the founder of the Aigles du Léman and initiator of the resettlement program, Jacques-Olivier Travers. “This is the first time we have reproduced eagles directly at their reintroduction site, which represents the originality of our program,” explains the latter. The goal is for them to spend as much time as possible with their parents and immerse themselves in the site so that when they grow up, they in turn reproduce there thanks to the philopatric memory.
“This is the first time eagles have been reproduced at the exact site of their reintroduction.”
Jacques-Olivier Travers, founder of the Eagles of Léman
Flight in two months
Jacques-Olivier Travers and his collaborators witnessed this birth only through an interposed camera. In fact, the breeding aviaries are located in a natural area adjacent to the zoo, but closed to the public. Contact with people is kept to a strict minimum. “The little ones are raised by their parents in the aviary for eight weeks, then they are taken out so that they can gradually emancipate themselves. Their parents can continue to feed them via trellis, but they will remain in the aviary for the remainder of the breeding program. Ethically I think it is preferable to proceed in this way than to collect eagles in the wild by looking for them in their nests.
Two more eaglets have since been born in the Sciez aviaries and a third is about to hatch at the time of writing. If all goes well they will fly at the end of June, marks the return of this species to the Lake Geneva basin. According to Jacques-Olivier Travers, only two or three pairs of wild eagles could settle permanently on Lake Geneva because the region is heavily urbanized. But the program generally aims to repopulate the entire Haut-Rhône basin.
Follow the development of the eagles
With a wingspan of 2.50 m, the white-tailed eagle is the largest eagle in Europe. The last couple in mainland France was shot in Thonon-les-Bains in 1892. In 2007, Jacques-Olivier Travers came up with the idea for this reintroduction program. It took years before Les Aigles du Léman, in partnership with the Swiss Alpine Eagle Foundation, finally received approval in June 2021 to release 85 eagles over the next eight years. “This year we will release between four and six young people, and then between ten and twelve a year,” specifies Jacques-Olivier Travers, who emphasizes that the birth of the first baby is excellent news because it marks the real beginning of the program.
These eagles can be tracked thanks to the cameras in the nests and the GPS beacons they are fitted with. by sponsoring (for 50 euros per year) one of the couples in the program.
Antoine Grosjean has been a journalist for the Geneva section since 2001. He reports on regional news, especially in the areas of environment, climate and energy transition. He also worked for several years in the Swiss section.
Have you found an error? Please let us know.