History

The society

In the beginning of the 1970s the situation for many of the Swedish birds of prey looked bad. The peregrine had decreased to only some ten pairs. The number of breeding white tailed eagles along the Baltic sea coast  were less than 50 pairs and their reproduction was very low. The kite in the landscape of Skåne was threatened and the eagle owl had disappeared from the west part of Sweden. The Swedish golden eagle population was estimated to about 200 pairs, which later showed to be a large underestimation.
That was the background when Claes-Göran Ahlgren, Klas Hagborg and Enar Nilsson in 1971 started Eagle72.
The first ten years Eagle72 was an organization without any rules, board, auditors et cetera and was lead by a group of three persons. In 1983, the 29th of October, the society Eagle72 was established in Borås and the first annual meeting was held. A board with of  seven members was elected and four of those are still members. The first twenty years work was focused on winter feeding of eagles. However,
as the situation for the white-tailed eagle slowly got better we had started to discuss about the future, especially to what extent we should continue our feeding work.
Two things  happened in the beginning of the 1990s that had a vital importance for our work:

  • in the autumn 1992 we were contacted by the company Kungsörnen for the first time and that led to a sponsor agreement in mars 1993.

  • in January 1993, Allan Fredriksson told about Eagle72 in the newspaper "Göteborgs Posten" and wrote that people could be a eagle sponsor by paying 100 SEK on our postal giro account. The result was overwhelming and in June more than 250 persons had paid about 30 000 SEK.

Because of  those two events we could expand our work to the extent we have today:

  • to organize and carry through winter feeding of eagles.

  • to increase the knowledge about the golden eagle through coloured-ring marking. 

  • by practical work help the eagles to return to their old areas in the west part of Sweden

  • to create a network of persons and organizations in Scandinavia that work with golden eagles.

  • to work for that people in general understand the roll of the birds of prey in the nature and raise their interest to protect the Scandinavian birds of prey population.

The expansion made the turnover to increase rapidly. Also the work for the border increased, especially to collect money for our activities. People that are interested to help the eagles to survive can be supporting member in Eagle72. The supporting members together with the sponsors (in Swedish only) for the annual magazine has now been the greatest income and very important for our work. The yearly turnover from the start in 1970-71 can be seen in the diagram below.


Feeding places

Eagle72s area of activity is mainly concentrated to west and mid Sweden. The activity was built up during the 1970s and culminated in the mid1980s with 40 feeding places in place. In the 1990s the activity decreased depending of warm winters and less need and in the seasone1994-95 there were about 25 places left.
The rules for how we are allowed
to put dead animals in the nature is, since 1997, regulated in the law. The law was an adaptation to the EU-rules and stipulates that all feeding must be done with vet inspected meet from slaughterhouses and with permission from the regional chief veterinarian.
The new rules meant more work to distribute the meat to the feeding places and longer transportations. The effect was the number of feeding places decreased
further. 
Since the beginning of 2000 the number of feeding places are
less than 20, all situated in the west and mid Sweden.
The number of feeding places from the start in 1970-71 can be seen in the diagram below.


Result

"By feeding the eagles during the winter with food without toxin, it is possible to improve the breeding result. The feeding also increase the possibility for the young eagles to survive the winter". 
That's what we meant when we started almost 30 years ago. Now we know that the increased number of young eagles surviving the first winters is what really matters.
When, at the millennium-shift, we  looked back on our work we could see that all our effort had been very successful. The white-tailed eagle population
, which when we started was close to a collaps, was rescued, mainly because of the winter feeding. The Swedish population had more than three-doubled since the start and in the breeding season 1999 there were 200 flying chicks, the best result during the 1900s.
During the 2000s the breeding population has continued to increase and now (200
8) there are about 500 breeding pairs in Sweden. The white-tailed eagle does also spread to areas where it has been disappeared for a very long time. In Vänern, the largest lake in Sweden, the eagles were back in 2001, breeding for the first time in 100 years.
Also the golden eagle
population, not ever really threatened in Sweden, have had a favour from our activity and now you can find breeding golden eagles on places in mid and south of Sweden where they never have been found before or for a very long time.


Future

The winter feeding work will continue for some wile.
It is an important instrument to get the eagles continue to spread
all over Sweden. Another purpose is to make it easier to read ring marked golden eagles from our colour-ring marking program.
The annually magazine and the home page are important parts in our information work. The Network Golden eagle Scandinavia is very important for the work to protect the eagles.