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Relief as missing golden eagle is reunited with owner after eight days without food

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John Nugent and his golden eagle Kalin who returned after being missing for eight days. Picture by Owen Breslin

John Nugent and his golden eagle Kalin who returned after being missing for eight days. Picture by Owen Breslin

John Nugent and his golden eagle Kalin who returned after being missing for eight days. Picture by Owen Breslin

A GOLDEN eagle has been reunited with its owner after going missing eight days ago.

The 12-year-old bird of prey, named Kalin, undid his leash and flew away from his enclosure in Newcastle, Co Wicklow, on Wednesday of last week, sparking a public appeal for his safe return by his owner, John Nugent.

Mr Nugent said he was extremely worried for the missing bird’s welfare because it had never hunted for food in the wild and because he was afraid someone might shoot it.

He revealed last night that he found the bird himself after walking the same route every day in the hopes of spotting him.

“I do the same route in the morning and the evening like all the professional people tell me to do, and he was there today just on a branch,” Mr Nugent told Independent.ie.

Despite finding the bird of prey in good health, Mr Nugent believes he hadn’t eaten in eight days as he lost 14 ounces since his departure.

“He weighed in at just under 8 lbs which is a good weight for a golden eagle. I don’t think he ate for the week,” Mr Nugent said.

Mr Nugent added that his biggest fear was that a farmer would shoot Kalin for fear of him harming their cattle.

He also expressed concerns that Kalin would be unable to survive in the wild as he was a display bird for the past 12 years and has never flown free.

Mr Nugent said he spent the last eight days “worried sick” about the missing animal, but that he was heartened by the public response.

“The amount of calls, the amount of support and the amount of people that want to see him is unreal. It kept my spirits right up,” he said.

“It helped keep me going because I didn’t sleep for five or six days because I was worried sick about him.”

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Mr Nugent said the public’s response to the appeal has been overwhelming.

“I really want to thank the public for their help because without them, I wouldn’t have got him back.

“I know it's only a bird at the end of the day but he’s my buddy.

“The whole country kept an eye out for him. I had people calling me from Galway, Sligo and Limerick,” he added.


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