Friday, June 21, 2024

Migrating eagles are avoiding war-torn Ukraine

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The study is the first to demonstrate how war is causing a major disruption to the migratory patterns of rare birds.

Dr Charlie Russell, a postgraduate researcher in the school of environmental sciences at UEA, said: “We did not expect to be following these birds as they migrated through an active conflict zone.

“Our findings provide a rare window into how conflicts affect wildlife, improving our understanding of the potential impacts of exposure to such events or other extreme human activities that are difficult to predict or monitor.

“These types of disturbances can have significant impacts on the behaviour, and potentially fitness of the eagles. For individuals breeding in these areas, or other species that are less able to respond to disturbance, the impacts are likely to be much greater.”

Greater spotted eagles are large raptors that are classified as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The team was already studying the species when the war started, monitoring the disruption caused to migratory routes by bad weather or drought, and the destruction of essential habitats.

However, during the invasion the team found that the eagles, which had previously been fitted with GPS tracking devices, were exposed to artillery fire, jets, tanks and other weaponry, as well as unprecedented numbers of soldiers moving through the landscape and millions of civilians displaced.

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