On 1 June 2017 the project team headed to Madona to introduce the project to the local municipalities and institutions as well as everyone who might be interested. Madona is a symbolic location for project launch as several significant project activities will take place in this area.
During the presentation the project leader Jānis Ķuze explained the project’s goals and told about the planned activities. After that the participants of the event went to experience a nature hike in Nature park “Kuja” – location where the highest density of nesting lesser spotted eagles has been registered historically. The hopes were high to observe also a lesser spotted eagle itself, and they were fulfilled – the participants of the hike had excellent opportunity to see the gliding of lesser spotted eagle above the trees.
A part of activities of the project “Conservation arrangements for lesser spotted eagle in Latvia” have already been commenced, but the project will last until 2021, and all the conservation activities stiulated in the project will have a long lasting effect on lesser spotted eagle protection in Latvia also after the end of the project. The main goals of the project are protection of lesser spotted eagle nests and management of feeding habitats in several pilot territories. The restoration and managment of feeding grounds will take place in Natura 2000 territories – Nature reserve “Lubāna mitrājs” and Natura park “Kuja”. The protection of nests will be carried out in all Latvia, also in territories not related to Natura 2000 network. The total budget of the project of four years is 2 229 719 EUR, including 1 566 496 EUR of EU support.
Jānis Ķuze, Head of the Council of Latvian Fund for Nature and project leader said:
“Lesser spotted eagle conservation project is something that we have conceived and planned for more than 10 years as already then we realised that this bird in Latvia could be endangered. As we are home to a large part of EU lesser spotted eagle population, we are responsible for the species. We hope that our work will strengthen lesser spotted eagle protection and Latvia will continue to be the country of lesser spotted eagles.”
Currenty one of the project activities that is already actively going on is inventory of nests carried out by experts of Latvian Ornithological society. Experts are searching for new nests and will continue to do so in four fieldwork seasons. The found nests will be protected by initiating microreserves, and the unstable nests will be stabilised or articials platforms will be built. Also the National Species action plan will be revised and updated.
The main food for lesser spotted eagle is frogs and small rodents that most often are present in grazing terrories or meadows with low water, however, due to the intensive farming the amount of these territories is decreasing. In Nature reserve “Lubāna mitrājs” and Nature park “Kuja” habitat restoration is planned in order to create foraging grounds for lesser spotted eagles.