Last week, a trio of disabled eagles were treated to a special flight on El Al.
After ten years living in Tel Aviv’s Ramat Gan Safari, the eagles were going home to find love.
The wild-born eagles were all injured, in separate incidents, over ten years ago while migrating over Israel. Lucky enough to be found and taken to the safari’s hospital, they all got back their strength.
However, they remained disabled and unable to return to the wild.
Unlike other specimens at the safari or around Israel and away from their natural habitat, they were also unable to be bred.
Although the eagles, two of which are rare Imperial eastern eagles, were well cared for by the Ramat Gan safari and lived in an exhibit for rescued birds, according to safari spokesperson Sagit Horowitz, “Last year, we had a change of mind-set.”
So now, the Safari is returning the eagles to a zoo in the Czech Republic so that they can be bred and their off-spring returned to the wild.
All three eagles, including the two rare imperial eastern eagles and the one more common booted eagle, will now start a new life at the Liberec zoo in the Czech Republic.
The zoo is one of the leading raptor repopulation programs in Europe and has expertise at breeding eagles and releasing the young into the wild to help replenish endangered bird populations.
The eagles will also have their choice of a mate. While being unique in Israel, at the Liberac zoo the Eastern imperial eagles — one male and one female — will join five male and three females already part of the breeding program.
While the Ramat Gan Safari will miss their eagle charges in their exhibit, the decision reflects the Safari’s larger mission to not only care for captive animals but to also work with international groups to help conserve and re-populate the world’s most vulnerable species.