The main cause of death for raptors in Central Europe is illegal persecution from humans. Even species which are endangered and strictly protected, such as the Imperial Eagle, are regularly shot or poisoned. In addition to the international PannonEagle LIFE Project, Birdlife Austria is financing the education of two Nature Conservation Dogs to train them to become tracker dogs for the search for animal corpses and poisonous baits.
In summer 2018 two chicks of the Imperial eagle got backpacks equiped with hi-tech GPS-GSM loggers to track their activity and detect potential dangers. We watched their journey as one siblings stayed exclusively in Central Europe, the other went straight to the south on the Greek island of Crete. Now they are both again in the Central Europe.
No end to the series of illegal raptor persecution around Großinzersdorf near Zistersdorf (Lower Austria). On the contrary, new poisoning cases claim the lives of one White-tailed Eagle, three Red Kites, and six Common Buzzards, as well as a yet unconfirmed number of foxes and martens.
After only a few dead birds had initially been discovered, intensive searching by members of the bird conservation organisation BirdLife Austria and a specially-trained team of sniffer dogs uncovered the full extent of the case.