Portuguese environmentalists have condemned the killing of the country’s last remaining nesting male Iberian Imperial Eagle.
The bird, also known as the Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aquila adalberti), is one of the three rarest birds of prey on the planet, with only around 400 surviving, and is classified as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
According to a statement by environmental groups, including SOS Lynx, A Nossa Terra and Almargem, the incident occurred next to the eagle’s nest between February 21 and 23 in the Vale do Guadiana natural park, close to the country’s southeastern border with Spain – the bird’s killers remain at large.
Speaking about the senseless act, Miguel Rodrigues, of SOS Lynx, said, “Irrational attitudes constitute one of the main barriers to predator conservation in Spain and Portugal. If predator persecution cannot be adequately controlled, the future recovery of many important predator species will be in doubt.”
The shooting has been described as a ‘disaster’ for the recovery of the species in Portugal, and threatens the prolonged survival of other important predators, such the the Iberian lynx, the most endangered feline species in the world.
Image Credit – Vlaskop via flickr.com on a Creative Commons license
Andrew is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.