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
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
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.
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 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
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.
"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
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
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
(2008) 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.
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.