Steppe eagle flies safely back to Russia from Kenya

Friday May 06 2022
Steppe eagle.

The Steppe eagle that survived poisoning and flew back home. PHOTO | SHIV KAPILA


A few weeks ago, Simon Thomsett, co-founder of Kenya Bird of Prey Trust had interesting news. He had been tracking a Steppe eagle’s flying path from Kenya to Russia on his smartphone.

He reported: “The eagle has now landed.”

Last November, Thomsett had fitted the Steppe eagle with a GPRS backpack and released it.

The Steppe eagle and a white-backed vulture were found, barely alive, after consuming a poisoned sheep meant for hyenas that had killed 100 goats owned by herders in the Amboseli area. Tens of vultures lay dead from eating a poisoned sheep carcass.

The eagle and vultures had suffered since they could not blink and the direct sunshine dried up their eyes.

They were flown to the raptor rescue centre at Soysambu and nursed back to health. A few days later, the Steppe eagle, now back to health and fitted with a GPRS pack was released to fly back home to Russia, where it will stay before returning to Kenya in October or November.


The rescue involved the Kenya Wildlife Service, Birdlife, Nature Kenya, Farmland Aviation and the Peregrine Fund.

In 2021, a tagged osprey that flew 6,000 kilometres from Finland to Busia near the shores of Lake Victoria, got entangled in a fisherman’s net. It was found and rescued but later died from the effects of the incident.

Kenya tops the list as one of the world’s most raptor rich countries, but numbers are dwindling rapidly due to poisoning, newly erected power lines and wind turbines and human encroachment.