For the past few years we haven’t had any white-tailed sea-eagles in the Zoological Garden – now they are here again!

The Zoological Garden had always had sea-eagles, even when it was located in Abu-Kabir so many years ago. In recent years, however, due to considerations of managing the entire sea-eagle population in the country, we had none. This year, at last, in mid-July the INPA brought us a pair of white-tailed sea-eagles as part of the re-introduction project, hoping that they will breed here.
The white-tailed sea-eagle is a large and heavy bird of prey that feeds mainly on fish that it catches from the water surface, but also on fish carcasses, marsh birds and small mammals. Until the mid-20th century sea-eagles were still nesting in Israel, but they stopped breeding here after the Hula Lake was dried out and due also to secondary poisoning caused by the excessive use of rodenticides. 

Since the 1990s, a plan for re-introducing sea-eagles back into nature has been implemented and, as part of it, young sea-eagles from zoos in Israel and Europe are being released into the wild. Breeding pairs now have homes in the Ramat-Gan Safari and in Hai-Bar Carmel, and we hope that our new pair too will contribute to the breeding efforts.

Our male and female sea-eagles, which have already demonstrated signs of pair bonding, have a quite interesting history: The male was born in the wild, in Poland, in 2004, and arrived in Israel as a result of collaboration between Zoo Wroclaw, Poland, and the INPA; the female was probably born in 2009, and reached the INPA after being held in private hands in Jericho. The tip-off about its presence in Jericho came from someone in the Palestinian Authority, and thanks to the collaboration between the two – the Palestinian Authority and the INPA – it was brought to the border and transferred safely to the INPA rangers who had come to collect it. It was about two years old, with a low body weight and several damaged feathers, but quickly gained weight and recovered.

White-tailed sea-eagles reach sexual maturity at the age of four to six years, although when in captivity they usually reach sexual maturity and begin breeding at a later age. Our two sea-eagles are quite young and we hope that they'll breed here. Before they arrived here they were kept in Hai-Bar Carmel and we are very happy to have them with us now in our Zoological Garden.

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