On June 30, 2015, after 54 months of implementation, the project LIFE09NAT / SK / 000396 Protection of the Lesser Spotted Eagle in Slovakia ended.
The project has brought many interesting results that are summarized below.
1 / Ensuring the protection of breeding habitats of the Lesser Spotted Eagle and its undisturbed nesting
- 172 nests and 4,593 ha of the forest habitat is protected for 122 pairs of Lesser Spotted Eagle by protective zones
- 277 chicks successfully fledged during project implementation
Ensuring the protection of breeding habitats and undisturbed nesting of the specie species is one of the basic prerequisites for the stabilization of the Lesser Spotted Eagle population in Slovakia.The most effective measure for this purpose is to establish the kind of "zone" around the nest of the Lesser Spotted Eagles, in which, during the nesting season no human activity will take place. That will allow eagles to raise chicks without disturbance. Outside the breeding season, management measures or some other activities are allowed, but only in a manner that guarantees the preservation of nest trees and the long-term existence of breeding habitats. Protection zone establishes declares district office following consultation with affected parties.
- 70 artificial nests were installed in places where the original natural nest was damaged or destroyed
With the help of special metal construction, twigs and leaves, solid and stable artificial nests were created, which are a safe place for breeding of eagles. Artificial nests prevent losses during nesting by nests being dropped or chicks and eggs falling out from nests. Artificial nests have been installed in places where the original natural nest was damaged or destroyed.
Forest - environment scheme to protect the habitat of raptors and owls
- Financial support for the protection of 14 000 ha of forest habitats for nesting
The project has developed forest - environmental scheme which has been incorporated into the Rural Development Programme for the programming period 2014-2020 under the measure "Forest-environmental and climate services and forest protection" as operation “Payments for forest-environmental commitments on protected bird territories ". It gives land owners opportunity to apply for funding if their operations contribute to the protection of breeding habitats of any from 24 kinds of endangered bird species, including the Lesser Spotted Eagle.
2 / Improvement of the feeding habitats for the Lesser Spotted Eagle
Greening of 22 kV power lines
- 3900 columns in 22 kV power lines in the length of 295 km in Laborecká vrchovina Mts. SPA were equipped with console barriers
- 1413 columns in 22 kV lines in the length of 171 km in Horna Orava SPA were equipped with console barriers
- 207 columns in 22 kV power lines were equipped with a special bracket called “Antibird” in Horna Orava SPA
In Special Protection Areas of respectively Horna Orava and Laborecka vrchovina Mts, special technical elements were installed on columns of 22 kV lines that prevent injury or even death of birds resulting from electrocution. Since the 22 kV power lines pass through farmlands, where the Lesser Spotted Eagle hunts for prey, by this action safe feeding habitats for the Lesser Spotted Eagle were created on 57,581 ha in these two SPAs.
Control of hazardous chemicals in the feeding habitats of the Lesser Spotted Eagle.
- Chemical analysis of biological samples for the content of 650 hazardous chemicals were negative
Samples of feathers of the adult Lesser Spotted Eagle from eight SPAs were analyzed for the presence of 650 chemically active substances all of which can adversely affect the health of eagles. The results of analyzes were negative that gives an assumption that the Eagles will not be contaminated by chemicals.
Agri-environmental schemes to protect feeding habitats of the Lesser Spotted Eagle
- Financial support for the management of feeding habitats of the Lesser Spotted Eagle
Under the measure "Agri-environmental and climate services and forest conservation" were to Slovak Rural Development Programme for the programming period 2014-2020 incorporated operations “Suslik habitat protection, Habitat protection of natural and semi-natural grasslands and "Bio-belts on arable land". Owners and users of agricultural land can apply for financial support provided they manage the land in environmentally sound manner.
3 / Improving the knowledge of the Lesser Spotted Eagles for improvement the species conservation
New knowledge about the population of the Lesser Spotted Eagle
- Abundance of the breeding population of the Lesser Spotted Eagle in Slovakia is 600-800 pairs
- Lesser Spotted Eagle breeding population in Slovakia decreased by 23% between 2000 - 2013
- Up to 20% percent increases the likelihood of successful nesting, if it occurs in the protection zone
- The average reproductive success of the Lesser Spotted Eagle is 0.69 juv/ breeding pair
- Lesser Spotted Eagle nests in Slovakia, most commonly on spruce, pine, oak and beech
- Lesser Spotted Eagle builds on trees, in height of 15 to 20 meters over the ground, but there are also nests of just five meters or up to 30 meters above the ground
Population monitoring of 170 pairs of the Lesser Spotted Eagle was implemented in eight Special Protection Areas in Slovakia in the period 2011 – 2014. Monitoring generated huge amount of new data and knowledge, which will be used for more effective conservation of the species. Conservation status of the species was assessed in the individual SPAs. The State Nature Conservancy will use these assessments in the preparation of management plans for the SPAs. Project delivered also documents containing recommendations for conservation management of the species and its habitats in Slovakia as well as information about available support schemes, These documents are addressed to both, the State Nature Conservancy and also to the owners and users of forest and farmlands.
International cooperation in Protection of the Lesser Spotted Eagle
- Priority actions for the protection of the Lesser Spotted Eagle at the international level formulated
Priority actions for the protection of the Lesser Spotted Eagle at the international level are contained in the draft Recovery Plan for the Lesser Spotted Eagle. These actions were formulated at the International Conference on the Protection of the Lesser Spotted Eagle, held 25th-27th September 2014 in Košice Bela in Slovakia. It was attended by 59 participants from 14 countries.
Increase awareness of general public and professionals about the Lesser Spotted Eagles and possibilities of its protection
Informing the public about the project and promotion
- 8 information boards
- 500 T-shirts with slogan "Together we Protect the Lesser Spotted Eagle"
- 1,000 copies of popular project report for the public
- 1000 sets of puzzle
- 3000 copies of information brochure about the Lesser Spotted Eagle
- 2000 pens with slogan "Together we Protect the Lesser Spotted Eagle"
- 2000 key rings with slogan "Together we Protect the Lesser Spotted Eagle"
- 10 000 stickers with a photo of the Lesser Spotted Eagle
- Project web page www.apomarina.dravce.sk
- Documentary film "Together we Protect the Lesser Spotted Eagle"
All promotional and informational materials are unified slogan "Together we Protect the Lesser Spotted Eagle" This slogan reflects a unique partnership that Raptor Protection of Slovakia in the project created with energy companies – Stredoslovenská energetika, a.s., Stredoslovenská energetika – Distribúcia, a.s. a Východoslovenská energetika Holding, a.s.
The slogan has potential as a motivation in a broader sense: it recognizes/includes also owners and users of land or other entities that carry out activities respecting ecological requirements of the Lesser Spotted Eagle.
- 265 environmental education events
- 7,169 participants
Educational and environmental education activities for primary and secondary schools support the synergy effect of all project activities aimed at increasing the overall public awareness of the way of life of the Lesser Spotted Eagle and ways for its protection. The form and content of lectures and field excursions were differentiated in consideration of the age of children and students. The lectures were supplemented where necessary, with role-playing simulating various aspects of the eagle or other raptor´s life.
Meetings and communication with stakeholders
- 106 participants took part in the 7 regional stakeholders meetings aimed at promotion of proper habitat management for the Lesser Spotted Eagle and informing on available incentives
- 204 subjects participated in administrative proceedings for the establishment of the protection zones
- 64 municipalities in Laborecka vrchovina Mts. SPA was directly addressed in connection with the installation of console barriers on columns of 22 kV power lines
- 44 staff members of district offices and Environmental Inspection took part in training on establishment of protection zones
Stakeholders meetings were attended by representatives of the State Nature Protection, state administration offices, the Slovak Environmental Inspectorate, State Forests, private owners and users of agricultural and forest land, and hunting associations. Stakeholders were informed of the ecological requirements of the Lesser Spotted Eagle and appropriate management of its breeding and feeding habitats and related incentive measures.