A pair of Bateleur eagles was released into a new exhibit at the National Aviary
today to coincide with the tenth anniversary of Endangered Species Day tomorrow.
Image courtesy of the National Aviary
A Bateleur eagle
The release of the one male and one female Bateleur eagle followed a medical examination by Dr. Pilar Fish, the Aviary's director of veterinary medicine.
Bateleur eagles are not commonly seen in zoos says Aviary spokesperson Robin Weber. “They’re not readily available, so we feel really lucky to have these two,” Weber says. This pair of eagles came to the Aviary from the San Diego Zoo.
Native to Africa, Bateleur eagles are found in warm climates and feed on a variety of prey from termites to antelopes. They have a bright red beak and feet, black head and body feathers and wings that can be grey, maroon, brown and white. Although they are not technically endangered, they were placed on the near-threatened list in 2009.
In addition to the unveiling of the Bateleur eagles, the Aviary plans other projects to commemorate Endangered Species Day. One of the most popular exhibits at the Aviary, the African penguins, are a critically endangered species with “less than 20,000 nesting pairs remaining in the wild,” Weber says. Although details were unavailable at press time, a large public-engagement campaign is expected to be unveiled tomorrow.
“Here at the National Aviary we are part of a breeding program to help protect the captive populations of these birds and in turn protect their wild counterparts through educational programming and work with other zoos. Tomorrow we’re going to be doing something dramatic for our visitors to help illustrate what that decline in the African Penguin population looks like and what extinction looks like,” Weber said in a statement.
As part of a national effort with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums
, the Aviary will offer a variety of activities throughout the weekend to demonstrate how the public can get involved in conservation.
The Aviary is open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. It is located at 700 Arch St., on the North Side.