Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sad finding

July 24
Today we went up the Chelomdja River accompanied by the film crew. We targeted the upper part of the river, which is a known coho salmon spawning grounds and is where the most remote rangers station known as “Kheta” is located. The rapid Chelomdja River is treacherous, fast and unforgiving, so we went up the river with as few stops as possible.

Roughly halfway we had to stop at a grim finding: a dead adult male Steller’s Sea Eagle. It was still in rigor mortis, eyes still opened, a fresh wound at its back and a bunch of wolf’s hair in talons.

Careful analysis of the footprints around told us a story of the last minutes of the eagle’s life.  It was attacked at a log jam by a wolf that had stalked it for some time. The wolf jumped on the eagle, but it fought back and managed to reach the water edge. The wolf ran away, possibly when it heard the noise of our jets.  We collected the eagle. It is currently frozen and en-route to the collections of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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