Thursday, May 14, 2009

ENV: Spanish Imperial Eagle

“Flying High” conserving the Spanish Imperial Eagle
BirdLife International, 13-05-2009

The Flying High Programme, (Alzando el vuelo in Spanish), was created by SEO/BirdLife (BirdLife in Spain) in 2006 and has just begun its second phase. The first phase involved national authorities, local communities and private landowners in protecting habitats where Spanish Imperial Eagle Aquila adalberti lives.

Spanish Imperial Eagle is a flagship species in Spain, with a population of 253 breeding pairs it occurs in only five Spanish regions and also in Portugal. Spain holds 99% of the world breeding population. The Alzando el vuelo programme focused its activities in Campo de Montiel and Eastern Sierra Morena in the Ciudad Real province, one of the most important breeding and dispersal areas for the species. A “land stewardship programme” has signed agreements with 17 private properties in which it has invested near €100,000 in habitat management.

Conservation action for this impressive bird of prey has been developed to address the main threats, of poisoning, collision with power lines and habitats loss. More than 2,000 people participated in activities organised by SEO/BirdLife which raised their awareness and involved them in the protection of Spanish Imperial Eagle.

"So far, 54 municipalities have joined the network and SEO/BirdLife hopes that many more will follow" —Beatriz Sánchez, Responsible for the Alzando el vuelo Programme

The second phase of the Programme, which runs from 2009 until 2012, is based on a large land stewardship network. This will be divided in three groups: a network of municipalities, a network of private landowners and a network of schools. The aim of this network is to extend the success of the first phase to cover the species’s entire distribution. While municipalities and properties networks will channel and focus on habitat management and species conservation, the network of schools will be in charge of organising awareness and information activities.

“So far, 54 municipalities have joined the network and SEO/BirdLife hopes that many more will follow, as they are the main players who could involve local authorities and common people in biodiversity conservation actions”, said Beatriz Sánchez, Responsible for the Alzando el vuelo Programme.

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