- Title: Victor the eagle's bird's eye view of Alps raises awareness of climate change
- Date: 9th October 2019
- Summary: CHAMONIX, FRANCE (OCTOBER 8, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF TRAVERS SITTING WITH A DIFFERENT EAGLE ON HIS ARM EAGLE'S HEAD (SOUNDBITE) (French) ONE OF VICTOR THE EAGLE'S FALCONERS AND FOUNDER OF EAGLE WINGS FOUNDATION, JACQUES OLIVIER TRAVERS, SAYING: "I'm been fighting to reintroduce the white-tailed eagle, which is Europe's biggest eagle and disappeared from France around 200 years ago. And we are in the Alps for a very simple reason, it is a fishing eagle, it depends on sources of water. To find its food, there needs to be water, good water and lots of it. Unfortunately, today glaciers are the main problem because we can see clearly that they're melting at an incredible speed. And this is a problem for us because it would not make any sense to reintroduce these eagles in an environment that is not suitable. So, we need to protect this environment first, to be able to bring these eagles back into the wild." TRAVERS SITTING WITH ONE OF HIS EAGLES ON HIS ARM EAGLE WITH MONT BLANC IN BACKGROUND VARIOUS OF BOSSONS GLACIER
- Embargoed: 23rd October 2019 09:19
- Keywords: eagle flight climate change Mont Blanc glacier global warming
- Location: CHAMONIX, FRANCE
- City: CHAMONIX, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Environment,Climate Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA006B0DKV9J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Victor, a nine-year-old white-tailed eagle, has been enlisted to raise awareness of climate change with spectacular images of him soaring over the peaks in his Alpine home which has already been hard hit by the rise in global temperatures.
Equipped with a 360-degree camera mounted on his back, Victor recorded a bird's eye view of the Mont Blanc range as he flew over a distance of 4 kilometres on Tuesday (October 8), taking off from the Plan de l'Aiguille de Midi at an altitude of 2,000 metres.
"He (Victor) is a witness of the impact of climate change on our environment," one of the founders of the Eagle Wings Foundation who were behind the flight, Ronald Menzel, told Reuters.
Menzel said climate change had already hit hard in the Alps where temperatures had risen by 1.5 degrees, up to 2 degrees in Mont Blanc, compared to a global average of 0.8. degrees.
Whilst white-tailed eagles are listed as "least concern" on the IUCN list of endangered species, its western European population is sparse; it disappeared altogether from France 200 years ago and only a few individuals remain on the Swiss side of the border.
Their survival depends on water resources, which glaciers provide, according to Eagle Wings.
One of Victor's falconers Jacques Olivier Travers said he had been trying to reintroduce the species to France for years, but that climate change needed to be halted before he could even try.
"It would not make any sense to reintroduce these eagles in an environment that is not suitable. So, we need to protect this environment first to be able to bring these eagles back into the wild," he said.
Researchers say Alpine glaciers are melting at an alarming rate with before and after photographs showing them retreating up valleys over the last century.
According to a study published in August 2019, France's largest -- the Mer de Glace and the Argentiere -- have respectively lost a third and a quarter of their thickness since the start of the 20th century and could disappear entirely by the end of the 21st.
(Production: Cecile Mantovani)
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