The Situation of the Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina in Germany: The need for an Action Plan and active Conservation
Bernd-U. Meyburg, Torsten Langgemach, Kai Graszynski and Jörg Böhner
Since about 1800 the total breeding area of the Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina in Germany has shrunk by some 90 % from a then 83,000 km2 to a small residual area today of some 10,000km2. The western border of the breeding range has shifted several hundred kilometres eastwards.
The reasons for this decline were a massive annihilation campaign of shooting and egg theft. Increasing habitat loss became a negative factor only in the course of the 20th century.
At present the species breeds only in the federal Länder (States) Mecklenburg–West Pomerania, Brandenburg and Saxony–Anhalt in relatively small areas of 6,600, 3,600 and. 13km2 respectively. In 2001 the total population consisted of some 115 breeding pairs.
Today the reasons for the continuing decline are principally habitat changes and hunting on migration routes. As long as the causes of the present population limitation persist, and protection measures are not intensified, the negative trend in Germany will continue, in the worst case until the species becomes extinct.
An action plan to rescue the species is therefore urgently required. The protection measures determined must also be implemented rapidly in order to prevent a further population decline and, if possible, promote an increase.