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Release of a Réunion Harrier on the Réunion Island

The staff of the Société d’Etudes Ornithologiques de la Réunion (SEOR) released a Réunion Harrier on the 3rd March after it had spent 22 days in their rescue centre. The female, weighing 715 g, had been poisoned after having eaten an item of prey (some sort of rodent) which clearly was also contaminated, i.e. the bird was suffering from secondary poisoning.

The female Réunion Harrier ready for release
The female Réunion Harrier ready for release
Credits Laure Dherbécourt

On La Réunion, the main function of SEOR’s rescue centre is to take in, care for and rehabilitate wild birds found injured anywhere on the island with the aim of returning them to their natural habitat once they have recovered. The two main causes why the harriers are brought into the centre are poisoning and collisions with vehicles and the electrical infrastructure.

SEOR's rescue centre
SEOR’s rescue centre
Credits SEOR

The Réunion Harrier (Circus maillardi), a species endemic to La Réunion and classed as ’Endangered’ according to the national Red List, is often a victim of secondary poisoning after having eaten rats. This type of poisoning results in haemorraging and requires immediate treatment if the bird is to be saved. Treatment usually involves an injection of Vitamin K1 to thin the blood and to permit a better uptake of oxygen. Each individual is treated according to its pathological symptoms and kept at the care centre until it is able to flying unaided and be released into the wild.

The release
The release
Credits Laure Dherbécourt

Keywords : Réunion, Réunion Harrier