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BACKGROUND
THE WEDGE-TAILED EAGLE, often known as the 'wedgie', is probably the most important apex predator on mainland Australia. Our ecosystems rely on such predators to maintain balance and health, vital for both humans and other animals residing in them. These majestic raptors are widespread and thought to be common, but long-term, landscape-scale research is lacking, and we have limited up-to-date information on their status.

This research project is important for several key reasons:

-  IT'S NEVER BEEN DONE ...AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO HAVE UPDATED KNOWLEDGE
-  EAGLES STILL FACE MANY THREATS
-  THE WEDGIES' HISTORY TELLS AN IMPORTANT STORY
-  EAGLES CAPTURE ATTENTION AND INSPIRE



IT'S NEVER BEEN DONE! ...AND IT'S IMPORTANT FOR MODERN KNOWLEDGE

Wedge-tailed Eagles are well known and commonly seen throughout this vast country, but there is still a great deal about their biology that we don't yet know. The most intensive, long-term project on the species was conducted by the CSIRO in the 1960's and 1970's, but since then, there have been no real long-term projects aiming to investigate eagle population dynamics or habitat use/requirements at the landscape scale. I believe it is highly important that as both scientists and stewards of this land, it is our responsibility to keep our knowledge of our wildlife and the habitats in which it lives as up-to-date as possible. This is especially important given the speed at which the human population is spreading its footprint into the arid zone, which is one of the strongholds of the Wedge-tail population. The technology to gather more information about eagles in Australia has never been better, and the rest of the world is setting the standard for such research on other large eagle species. However, Australia is falling fast behind the rest of the world (when I began this work in 2013 it was the first time ever wedgies had been satellite-tracked!). Unless we are equipped with the most up to date information, we cannot know if these majestic raptors face any threats, or if they do, what they are, how they impact ecosystems, and how we can manage them.



EAGLES STILL FACE MANY THREATS - PERSECUTION & ROAD KILL

The Wedge-tailed Eagle population was culled by man for over 100 years and Governments endorsed this persecution with a bounty system. Although attitudes have largely changed and the species is mostly protected, persecution (via trapping, shooting and poisoning) still occurs illegally. I have had reports of mass poisoning (such as that depicted below, where eagle bodies lay scattered around a poisoned sheep carcass) as recently as 2012. Such poisoning is probably most detrimental to birds in their early phase of life, and it is these birds that we know very little about, emphasising the importance of studying (with satellite tracking) their post-fledging and dispersal behaviour. Similarly, many birds (again probably mostly young ones) are killed on roads every year. This occurs when wedgies (which are the 'vultures of Australia') descend to feed on road-killed mammals (mostly kangaroos) and are consequently hit by cars and trucks when they stand in the middle of the road, being too big and heavy to escape a fast, oncoming vehicle. The scale of this accidental death and its impact to the eagle population is unknown.



EAGLE HISTORY AND ENVIRONMENTAL MEANING

I have researched Wedge-tailed Eagle ecology and communicated my work to the broader public for many years now, and this comes from a deep passion to educate and inspire other people about the beauty and importance of the natural world. But my aim goes broader than just teaching people about eagles. I've found that these birds are charismatic icons that capture peoples' attention and draw great interest - their sheer size and beauty, their unique and secretive lives, the fact that many people have seen them and can relate with a 'wedgie story' - and this serves to spread an overall environmental message. With their history of persecution and resilience to man's actions of mass culling and changes to the landscape, eagles have endured and still persist on this vast continent today. We are extremely fortunate for this, especially given that other eagle species worldwide have not been so lucky, with some being wiped out of their historic ranges. The Wedge-tail's story represents an attitude change - one that shows a progression from humans wanting to control and manipulate the land, towards one that shows the need to live within the existing laws of nature, in a sustainable way. It is therefore vitally important that this story continues to be told, to serve as a reminder that we cannot progress toward a sustainable future without changing our way thinking.



BACKGROUND: MY STORY

I remember when I was only young, less than 10 years old, laying on a granite rock in my beloved Perth Hills bush, and seeing a beautiful pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles soaring above me on the updrafts. I dreamed then of one day having some way, as if by magic, to follow their movements. As I went on to do Honours and Masters university projects that focused on Wedge-tailed Eagle biology, I learned how there was so much about their ecology that was still unknown. This was amazing considering hundreds of thousands of 'wedgies' were killed during a 100-year nationwide persecution program. I found it sad that there were no Government funded research projects on eagles, and I watched as the rest of the world used increasingly advanced technology to study their large eagle species, while Australia slipped further behind.

I proposed a PhD project to conduct a satellite tracking pilot study at the beginning of 2009 - but the day before I was offered a scholarship, I was also offered a place in a Natural History Filmmaking course in New Zealand. So I went off for 2 years to the land of the Long White Cloud, knowing that one day I would return to Australia, equipped with the skills of how to revisit my satellite tracking dream, AND make a documentary film to tell its story. Now that pilot study has been conducted, the preliminary data has been gathered, and the film had its world premiere in 2014. But because I only satellite-tagged 3 birds, I now need to carry on with the project, to gather more data, increase the sample size, and paint a more detailed picture of my study population's ecology. So I'm asking for your help to pay for the costly satellite transmitters which have shown they can lend valuable insights into the lives of these majestic birds. This work will lead into a PhD project which I have been working towards for the past 3+ years, and hopefully result in some



KEY AIMS:

In light of the above information, my key aims are as follows:

1) To satellite tag more juvenile eagles and monitor their post-fledging and dispersal behaviour. This will provide information about habitat requirements and survivorship of juvenile eagles as they make the transition into adult life, a phase of which we have very little understanding.

2) To simultaneously satellite track multiple adult eagles living in neighbouring territories, to investigate the concept of mutual exclusivity in adult breeding eagles. This information can be used to calculate home range size of populations and give broader information on eagle population density across their range.

How The Funds Will Be Used

STAGE 1 - WE DID IT! Achieved on 1st December 2015

My goal is to buy 2 GPS/Satellite trackers to be attached to juvenile eagles in the south-west of Western Australia, and study their post-fledging behaviour. The cost breakdown for this goal is as follows:

GPS Satellite Transmitters (PTTs): 2 x $6100 each = $12 200
Tracking Data (2 years per PTT): 4 x $800 per year = $3 200
Rewards: $1750
POZIBLE Cost: 5% x  = $850

TOTAL:
$18 000

Tagging two birds from the south-west will be the first step towards investigating differences between the dispersal behaviour in juveniles born in the arid zone, and those born in the more reliable Mediterranean zone, a key component of my research.

STAGE 2

Reaching the first target is my main goal... but it is always possible that your support means I will exceed the target! Thinking further ahead, I would actually like to buy 10 transmitters to increase the sample size of juvenile and adult eagles tagged. This allows for more rigorous statistical analysis and better understanding of the Wedge-tailed Eagle's ecology.

Here are some higher targets and the things that will be Pozible if I reach these.

$25 000
Pay for an additional GPS/Satellite Transmitter to track a total of 3 eagles.

$35 000
Pay for enough transmitters to track 5 eagles. We're half way there! If I manage this much funding I'll happily post some rare footage of eagle behaviour as a Vimeo video.

$50 000
Now we're getting somewhere! This amount will allow 7 eagles to be tracked for 2 years. Awesome! If I manage to get this much, I will film, edit and post online a never-before seen solo climb (no ropes) of one of the tallest trees in the Perth hills. Sound like something you'd like to see? Pledge away, and tell your friends!

$65 000 - If I reach this amount, I'll probably eat my hat. When you've seen that happen (yes, I"ll film it and post online!), you will enjoy a special chance to name each eagle (9 people who pledge will be randomly selected to have naming rights to each eagle). You will also have the pleasure of seeing me track 9 eagles and gather some really solid, information about the movements of these amazing birds.

The Challenges

As this is a continuation of a project I have set up and managed successfully for the past 3 years, I am well rehearsed at all aspects to do with eagle research, fieldwork, satellite tracking and public education. The most difficult (and somewhat nerve-racking!) part for me will be to promote this campaign across a wide enough audience to gather the funds. Funding has always been a challenge for my work so the main areas I will be getting friends and family to assist with will be networking and marketing.
Successful
on 7th Dec 2015 at 5:31am. The payment portal is closed now.
A$10 +Signed LetterA personal email from Simon to express his sincere thanks for your donation.
7 Chosen | 993 AvailableEst. delivery is December 2015
A$20 +Website CreditHave your name appear on a special supporter's acknowledgement page on the Wedge-tailed Eagle tracking website: www.wedge-tailedeagletracking.blogspot.com.au
21 Chosen | 479 AvailableEst. delivery is December 2015
A$30 +Gift Cards*New* Receive a pack of 4 Wedge-tailed Eagle gift cards, each featuring one of Simon's unique images of these magnificent birds.
17 Chosen | 33 AvailableEst. delivery is January 2016
A$50 +Digital PhotosReceive 5 of Simon's digital pictures of wild Wedge-tailed Eagles.
53 Chosen | 147 AvailableEst. delivery is January 2016
A$70 +Printed PhotoReceive an A4 print of Simon's unique image of adult female Wedge-tailed Eagle Gidjee feeding her chick Kuyurnpa, both of whom are wearing satellite trackers.
17 Chosen | 83 AvailableEst. delivery is February 2016
A$90 +Signed DVDA signed copy of the documentary film 'Where Do Eagles Dare?', which tells the story of Simon's mission to capture and satellite track adult Wedge-tailed Eagles for the first time ever. Set in the beautiful desert of Western Australia.
26 Chosen | 44 AvailableEst. delivery is January 2016
A$150 +Signed MerchandiseReceive a signed 'Where Do Eagles Dare?' DVD, PLUS a 60 x 60 cm Wildlife Photography poster and an iNSiGHT Ornithology poster, ALL signed by Simon. Both posters are limited edition and showcase beautiful images of Australian wildlife, perfect for decorating your walls with!
10 Chosen | 30 AvailableEst. delivery is January 2016
A$300 +Corporate Website SponsorHave your company's logo listed on a special corporate sponsor's page on the Wedge-tailed Eagle tracking website: www.wedge-tailedeagletracking.blogspot.com.au
4 Chosen | 16 AvailableEst. delivery is December 2015
A$700 +Eagle Presentation$700 will pay for almost one year of satellite tracking data collected by each PTT. Donate this amount and Simon will come and visit your school, workplace or community group and give a 1-hour presentation all about Wedge-tailed Eagle ecology. This includes glimpses at rare footage of these birds' behaviour, and a behind the scenes look at the movements of previously satellite-tracked birds. Note - for greater Perth region residents only.
0 Chosen | 5 AvailableEst. delivery is July 2016
A$1700 +Eagle AdventureAccompany Simon on your own personal bush-walking outing for a full day of Wedge-tailed Eagle spotting in Perth region of Western Australia. See an eagle nest and observe these magnificent birds fly free in the wild. Get all the first-hand knowledge from someone who knows their biology backwards, and learn tips on how to find eagles near your home. Lunch provided. Note - you must get to Perth and be reasonably fit :D
0 Chosen | 3 AvailableEst. delivery is November 2016
A$5000 +Name an Eagle$5K will pay for one GPS/Satellite transmitter & allow us to track a juvenile eagle for several years. This reward allows you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to accompany Simon & a small group who will visit an eagle nest attach a satellite-transmitter to a juvenile Wedge-tailed Eagle. You can then follow its movements online via the eagle tracking website, and tell your friends about how you met this bird in real life!!
0 Chosen | 5 AvailableEst. delivery is October 2015