Farmer Rescues a Rare Icelandic Sea Eagle, Likely the Oldest Eagle in the World

February 1, 2018 at 10:20 pm

The white-tailed sea eagle is one of the oldest, if not the oldest eagle in the world, and a member of an endangered species

An Icelandic farmer noticed an eagle struggling to fly on a riverbank near his farm Saturday. When he realized it was injured he threw his jacket over it and captured it, took it home and fed it wild salmon and lamb for dinner.

Not knowing how to care for the injured raptor, he contacted local police for advice. After consulting with experts at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History, the police decided took the the eagle there to be cared for, reports Iceland Magazine.

When it arrived at the institute, the staff determined the bird to be one of the rarest in Iceland, a white-tailed sea eagle.

The bird had been tagged in 1993 when it was young and had not been seen since. The scientists calculated it was 25 years old.

Because the average lifespan of a white-tailed eagle is 21 years, and none have ever been found older than 25, the bird is likely the oldest of its species and one of the oldest eagles in the world.

As of 2006, there were only 66 breeding pairs of the bird left in the world. That’s the largest white-tailed sea eagle population recorded since the bird was declared a protected species in 1914, according to the institute.

Their numbers declined dramatically during the late 19th century, when organized elimination efforts drove the population to the brink of extinction.

The iconic bird is now being cared for by experts at the institute.