You can be assured that something unusual and out of the ordinary will happen on every EcoTraining course. We are after all in the business of creating an experience with a difference and one to be remembered.
As the group of students currently on the 28 day field guide course in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya found out when they headed out for their morning walk recently. With game guard Ruby and his trusted rifle out in front, they had but ventured 500 metres from the camp site on the edge of the swamp, when they stumbled upon a site not often seen in the wild, in fact, one that shouldn’t be encountered at all.
It was a tawny eagle (male) lying on the ground next to the road. As it was not normal behaviour for this bird of prey, instructor Mark decided to take a closer look with Sam (of EcoTraining’s operations in Kenya) and the curious students looking on. At first Mark thought the eagle was dead. Upon closer inspection however he found the bird still alive, but badly injured. Its right wing was damaged while it also had a sore leg. With an elephant proof fence close by, the assumption was that the eagle probably flew into the fence and was subsequently injured.
Using their hats, Mark and Sam carefully picked up the bird as to not cause any further injury to the animal or themselves. The students, still curious, had a good close-up look at the distinct colours and feather pattern of the tawny eagle, not to mention the pair of vicious looking talons. It certainly looked a lot different up close and personal than through binoculars.
The injured bird was taken to the rehabilitation centre of Martin Wheeler on the Lekerukki community ranch close to Lewa. Here Martin looks after various injured birds, builds their strength and then re-releases them into the wild.
The latest on the tawny eagle is that it has started walking but is not yet ready to fly. And it has a serious appetite! It will probably be another couple of weeks before it gets its strength back and is ready to soar in the skies above Lewa once again.
(Thank you Sam and Paulo for the photos!)