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Wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax fleayi)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 0925483

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 0925483) - Wedge-tailed eagle - Awarded $15,000 on August 24, 2010

The Wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax fleayi) is an endangered forest specialist which establishes long-term nests in the forested areas of Tasmania (Mooney and Holdsworth 1991). Annually, the forest industry manages operations in the vicinity of more than 350 nest sites (used by approximately 1/3 of Tasmania’s eagle population). This project investigates the effectiveness of current management prescriptions to protect nest sites of the wedge-tailed eagle in areas subject to production forestry activities. In particular this work considers the size of nest site reserves and the likelihood of breeding success. Our primary question is - are current management prescriptions for this Tasmanian icon effective in maintaining long-term productivity and high nest site fidelity?

Four years of data have been collected by researchers from the Forest Practices Authority, with joint collaboration from the Threatened Species Section (Department of Primary Industries, Parks Water and Environment, DPIPWE) and specialist Forest Practices Officers working for Gunns Ltd, Forestry Tasmania and Norske Skog.   The results from the four years have been provided in three reports (one in draft) and submission of one manuscript (Wiersma, Koch et al. 2009; Wiersma 2010; Wiersma, Koch et al. 2011; Wiersma and Koch in press).  Funding provided by the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund enabled the continuation of the 2010 aerial surveys to gather chronology data to evaluate natural breeding patterns of the wedge-tailed eagle. These allowed comparisons to be made between fecundity rates of eagles that live in forestry managed and semi-natural environments.  These results will enhance future nest site management prescriptions.  The project will continue to be a collaborative project between DPIPWE, Forest Practices Authority and the forest industry. Outputs from the project will have various applications for Wedge-tailed eagle conservation across Tasmania and for a range of management groups including NRMs, Councils, Parks & Wildlife Service, private landowners, forestry companies, wind farm and other major development proponents.

Project 0925483 location - Australia, Oceania