A death announcement of a ‘visiting’ Osprey by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has hoisted the bird of prey’s status in the wild, touching off mixed reactions from Kenyans online.
“We regret to announce the death of the rescued migratory Osprey bird despite all efforts to rehabilitate and eventually release it back into the wild,” KWS said in a statement that aspired to personify the male fish-eating Osprey.
“The four-year-old bird of prey died at the weekend while under the care of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) veterinarians and a KWS-licensed Raptor Rehabilitation Centre in Karen, Nairobi.”
Male bird migrating alone
Osprey reportedly flew to Kenya last week from Finland, covering nearly 7,000km, as part of its migratory lifestyle. This could be a heroeic fete in the world birds. It’s not clear how the bird flew all alone for that long-distance, but news of its death is flying like the Osprey itself.
Its death has put KWS on the spotlight, again, with some accusing it of unnecessarily interfering with its natural migration. Kenyans are mocking KWS and Kenya’s government over the issue and have sarcastically turned the bird’s death into mourning with RIP messages being shared on social media.
The raptor bird was rescued last week in Siaya by a member of the community, Mr Walter Oloo, who reported the sighting to the KWS Siaya County office on 20th January. The bird was brought to the KWS Veterinary Department in Nairobi and later transferred to the Raptor Rehabilitation Centre.
After consulting with Finland, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) confirmed that the osprey was ringed at Museum Zool in Helsinki.
“By the time the bird was delivered to the city,” said the statement sent by KWS communications specialist Paul Udoto, “it had been severely dehydrated, weak and emaciated from the long flight and minor injuries while trapped by the fishing net. It weighed 950g against the normal range of 1.3-1.8kg weight of an adult osprey.”
A post-mortem examination report conducted by veterinary teams attributed the death to long term starvation which precipitated systemic organs failure.
“We were feeding and treating the fish-eating bird back to good health with a plan to release it at the exact site it was rescued in the Lake Victoria catchment so that the bird does not lose its bearings on the return epic flight Northwards in early March,” Mr Udoto said.
Information from Finland indicates that it was ringed in June 2017 and was mature for breeding. The bird’s origin had been established from a referring ring on its leg whose details show that it was ringed in Finland (Museum Zool, Helsinki Finland, www.ring.ac, M-68528). The 950g fish-eating male bird had flown to Kenya, covering a distance of 6,948 kilometres or 4,317 miles to land in Siaya County.
Kenya is a signatory to the Convention on Migratory species (CMS), whose conference of parties is to be held next month in India and one of the key mandates is to ensure the conservation of migratory bird species and their habitats.