White-tailed Eagle, Germany, June 2009, © Markus Jais
Europe’s largest eagle, the White-tailed Eagle (also known as Sea Eagle) is subject of a large-scale conservation strategy along the Danube river.
In June 2009, the International Network of Danube Protected Areas DANUBEPARKS has been founded. This is a large scale initiative for nature conservation along the Danube river. The Sea Eagle is a keystone species for nature conservation along the river as it needs large wetlands and forests to reach high densities. If habitat along the Danube can be kept in a state that is suitable for the White-tailed Eagle, then many other species will also benefit (for example Black Stork or many species of ducks).
The White-tailed Eagle has increased a lot during the last 30 years, especially in countries around the Baltic Sea, but also in other countries like Hungary or Croatia. More than 500 pairs are nesting in the Danube river basin. This is an important population that needs to be conserved. With proper protection, the population can probably reach much higher numbers in the future.
Until 2012, concrete steps are planned for the White-tailed Eagle:
- Elaboration of a transnational action plan
- Elaboration of a transnational action plan incl. landd purchase, renaturization, artifical nests
- Scientific research incl. monitoring, radio telemetry
- Publication of information and raising awareness incl. webcams, brochures and scientific publications
This is a very good example of a large-scale and international project to protect endangered raptor species. Eagles are large birds with a low reproduction and they need large areas to build and maintain a healthy population. Only with international collaboration can species like the spectacular White-tailed Eagle be protected.