Fears mount for survival of UK’s most famed osprey22/06/2010 10:21:46 Oldest osprey on her last legs
June 2010. Fears are mounting survival of the UK's oldest breeding female osprey, which astounded wildlife experts when it returned to the Scottish Wildlife Trust's Loch of the Lowes wildlife reserve for the 20th consecutive year in March.
The 25-year-old bird, which has significantly outstripped the average eight-year lifespan of an osprey, began showing signs of poor health last Friday night (18 June) and continued to decline over the weekend. She became unable to open her eyes, stand over her chicks or even feed herself.
As the demise was watched by Scottish Wildlife Trust staff along with thousands of online followers of the Trust's live osprey nest cam at www.swt.org.uk, a policy of non-intervention is being followed by the wildlife charity as it is believed that the bird is finally succumbing naturally to old age.
Peter Ferns, Scottish Wildlife Trust's Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre Manager, said: "The last 72 hours has been a real emotional rollercoaster for our dedicated team of staff at Loch of the Lowes who have watched over this amazingly resilient female as she has returned each breeding season.
Raised 48 chicks
"Today she seems to be rallying her strength and can once again be seen holding her head up and occasionally standing over her chicks to shade them from the sun, but sadly we anticipate that this show of strength will be short-lived. If she continues to reject the food brought to the nest by her mate, she risks dehydration and we estimate that by Wednesday or Thursday we could lose her.
Hope that the male will continue to feed the chicks
Simon Milne, Scottish Wildlife Trust's Chief Executive, said: "Our policy of non-intervention is quite appropriate in this instance and while it is sad we must let nature take its course. The Scottish Wildlife Trust is dedicated to protecting Scotland's wildlife for the future and conserving our wildlife and wild places in a natural and healthy state. Life and death is part of this natural cycle.
Single handedly responsible for osprey recovery in Scotland
More about Loch of the Lowes wildlife reserve