The Beekse Bergen safari park south of Tilburg has put out an appeal for its American bald eagle, who flew off during a demonstration earlier this week.
Lady Maya, who has been at the zoo for 27 years and has a 2.5 metre wingspan, flew away after what the safari park calls an ‘conflict’ with a group of gulls on Tuesday afternoon.
People who spot the eagle are being urged not to approach her. ‘She is a tough lady but she can be frightened and fly off again,’ the safari park said.
The park’s birds of prey are not kept in cages and can fly away if they want to, spokesman Klaas-Jan Leinenga told the NRC. ‘But they are so attached to their keepers that they never do.’
The American bald eagle is easy to spot with its white neck and yellow beak. The bird is not native to Europe and lives mainly on the North American coast.
Lady Maya is fitted with a transmitter and is known to have hung around the park on Wednesday, but by Thursday she could no longer be tracked. Some tips have already come into the safari park and staff have driven to the spots in the hope to pick up a transmitter signal.
Leinenga expects the bird to survive easily in the wild and says she will feast on pigeons and rabbits.
In the meantime, Leinenga says he hopes she will return to the park. Losing her, he says, would be a major blow. ‘Our aim is to inspire people appreciate nature,’ he said. ‘If you see Lady Maya, you want to protect her as well.’