The owner of a golden eagle lost in Co Wicklow has appealed for help finding the bird, which is unlikely to be able to survive in the wild.
John Nugent, from Newcastle, Co Wicklow, said the 12-year-old bird of prey named Kalin went missing last week.
The eagle had been bred in captivity in Austria, and previously had been a display bird.
Mr Nugent had been training the bird since last November to fly and return home. Last Wednesday Kalin managed to untie his leash and fly off, and has not been seen by his owner since.
“Because he’s never flown free he wouldn’t know the area, he wouldn’t know his way home,” he told The Irish Times.
Mr Nugent owns two eagles, Kalin, and an American Bald eagle. When he is training either of the birds to fly they wear a GPS location tracker.
However, Kalin had not been wearing the tracker when he flew off as he was resting, Mr Nugent said.
“He’s never been out in the wild, he eats chicken legs from the supermarket … My biggest fear to be honest is someone shoots him,” he said.
It was likely the golden eagle was still within 5km of his home in Co Wicklow, his owner said. “This bird is not fit, I had him flying 50, 100 feet at a time,” he said.
“I haven’t slept in five days worrying about him, I think he’s looking for me as much as I’m looking for him.”
Golden eagles raised in the wild have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years, but in captivity they could live for more than 20 years, Mr Nugent said.
Further details can be found on John Nugent's Facebook