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May 28, 2012

Save the Eastern Imperial Eagle - opportunities to get involved.


An expedition is being planned to attach satellite transmitters to young Imperial Eagles in their home lands and track their annual migration. Funding, loans or donations of the equipment are being sought to allow vital research of Raptors in Siberia, Mongolia and China.

Stewart Miller, Director of the charity International Raptor Research and Conservation (IRRC) and co owner of Raptor World, based at the Scottish Deer Centre, has been awarded a travelling fellowship by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. This new grant will allow Stewart to carry out vital research of Raptors in Siberia, Mongolia and China. Stewart aims within his expedition to attach satellite transmitters to young Imperial Eagles in their home lands and then track their annual migration. At present Stewart is looking for funding, loans or donations of the radio equipment required to carry this research out.

The project “Save the Eastern Imperial eagle”, started in 2007 when Stuart collaborated with Dr. V.V. Ryabtsev to conduct a survey of the breeding population of Imperial eagles in the Baikal area of southern Siberia.  Dr. Ryabtsev is deputy director of the PreBaikalsky National Park and has studied this declining and most easterly population of Imperial eagles for over thirty years.

Following this survey it was decided that there were no major changes to the conditions in the breeding area and that a migration study was necessary to determine migration routes, wintering areas and causes of mortality for young Imperial eagles.  We know (from a small satellite tracking project carried out by Dr. Ryabtsev in 1998/99) that young Imperial eagles travel over 4,000km from Southern Siberia, through Mongolia and on towards southern China every year but many do not return.  It is now crucial that an ongoing satellite tracking programme is established to determine important flyways and wintering areas as well as to survey, monitor and help stabilise the existing and future breeding population. 

An expedition is now being planned for 2013 to carry out a new breeding survey and migration study to address the issues causing decline in this small and fragmented population of Imperial eagles.  At this point Stuart has managed to secure a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship which will cover the costs of travel for the expedition and is now looking for help to fund the satellite tracking part of the project.  £2,500 is needed for each transmitter and we would like a minimum of six for this first stage of the project but as many as possible.  Companies or organisations are invited to look at “sponsoring an eagle” (or transmitter) by donating funds to purchase transmitters and we have also obtained an agreement of a discount from the transmitter manufacturer as a contribution to the project.  We are happy to allow sponsors to follow the progress of the eagles online and want to encourage them and schools to use the project as an educational tool for students or members.

The possibility of filming the expedition to promote the project, is being investigated, helping to raise awareness and funds for the ongoing work.  Papers will be produced and published and disseminated through scientific journals and other conservation outlets to allow conservationists to benefit from the findings. In order to be awarded this grant the research had to have relevance to the UK and Scotland in particular. It is hoped that new research techniques which are developed on the expedition will be broadcast to the wider Zoo and scientific community in Britain. Schools and volunteers from around Scotland will have the opportunity to help Stewart with his research and can become involved.

For more information and to get involved please contact [email protected]



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