Reviving the population of Golden Eagles in Central Europe

A project to reintroduce a sustainable population of golden eagles in the Czech - Slovak border region has helped raise local awareness of the potential benefits of biodiversity and strengthened cross-border cooperation.

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Cecilka as a baby eagle at a local rescue station. © Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak Republic Cecilka as a baby eagle at a local rescue station. © Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak Republic

" The survival of Cecilka has contributed to a new generation of golden eagles; her first young were seen flying around the nest with their parents in October. This successful nesting fulfils one of the aims of this project – connecting the newly established micro-population of golden eagles in Moravia with the more stable Slovakian population. Other positive stories relating to eagles that were released between 2006 and 2012 are now hoped for! "

Denisa Bernatova, Project Manager from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak Republic

Overall, the scheme has been a success for golden eagles. The Czech Republic’s first nesting pair of golden eagles in over 100 years was recorded in 2010, while a female eagle named Cecilka – born in 2006 in Slovakia and released into the wild on the Czech side of the Beskid Mountains – recently produced an eaglet.

Local biodiversity

The golden eagle is a flagship species that attracts tourists and enables conservationists to promote an interest in protecting the local natural environment. Organisers behind this project believe that the return of a stable golden eagle population to the Beskid Mountains on the Czech - Slovak border will help strengthen the link between successful conservation and rural economies.

In this way, it is hoped that the success of the project will support sustainable employment opportunities on both sides of the Czech - Slovak border, which contribute to preserving the natural environment.

A learning process for all

Great emphasis has been placed on local educational and promotional activities. Some 150 000 citizens have been notified about the initiative, while websites such as have helped garner interest. Promotional materials have also been sent to primary schools in the region.

Current activities are focused on monitoring nests and chicks, caring for animals in need, and disseminating this information to the public.

Into the wild

Cecilka was one of four golden eagles to be released from a local sanctuary in a careful attempt to reintroduce these magnificent birds of prey into the region, which borders both the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Golden eagles were all but wiped out in the Czech Republic at the turn of the 20th century.

Once released, all four of these birds were monitored daily by radio transmitter. This enabled conservationists to realise that at one point Cecilka was badly injured after having been shot. After being rescued and treated, Cecilka made a full recovery and was released back into the wild. She went on to find a partner, much to the delight of everyone involved in this pioneering project.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Return of the Golden Eagle to Czech Republic” is EUR 352 508, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 277 490 from the Operational Programme “Slovak Republic – Czech Republic” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date