Nepal | July 04, 2020

Soaring eagle films crumbling Alpine glaciers as Earth warms

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Share Now:

PARIS: The images will be stunningly beautiful yet also hint of dire future consequences. Filmed with a camera mounted between his majestic wings, they’ll show how a white-tailed eagle named Victor sees the world as he flies over the Alps and captures its once-magnificent glaciers now crumbling because of global warming.

Their wasting away is unlikely to be a pretty sight. And that’s the whole point.

Victor will embark upon five flights this week over the Alps. Organisers hope his spectacular eagle’s-view footage will help jolt the world out of climate-change apathy and toward swifter action to combat its effects.

His handler hopes that seeing the world as an eagle sees it will also convince viewers of the importance of protecting birds and their environments, especially after a devastating recent report chronicled their decline.

“Humanity has two dreams: to swim with dolphins and fly with eagles,” French falconer and Freedom Conservation founder Jacques-Olivier Travers said. “This is the first time that we’ll really ride on an eagle’s back over such distances and such vistas, and see how he flies.”

“How can you convince people to protect the birds and their environment if you never show them what the birds see?” he added.

Weather permitting, the nine-year-old Victor will set off Thursday from the top of the Swiss mountain Piz Corvatsch with a 360-degree camera on his back and a GPS to track his progress. He’ll fly through Germany, Austria and Italy before ending his mountain tour in France on Oct 7.

A colleague will release Victor from the top of each peak. During each flight, the eagle will fly three to five kilometres (1.8 to 3.1 miles) — and descend 1,500 to 3,000 metres (5,000 to 9,800 feet) — in search of Travers below.

“I don’t have a remote control. So if he doesn’t see me and decides not to come to me, he could go anywhere,” Travers said.

That’s why the flights are weather dependent. If Victor’s vision is obscured by clouds, “he won’t come,” Travers said. “It’s essential that he sees me.”

Carrying a camera does slow Victor down.

“It’s a bit like putting a washing machine on the roof of your car. You don’t go as fast and you use more energy,” Travers said. “It’s the same for him. He doesn’t fly as fast with that on his back and it demands a greater effort from him.”

But Victor’s earlier flights over Paris and Burj Khalifa garnered millions of views, and organizers hope the bird’s heavy lifting will yield powerful images that make disappearing glaciers impossible to ignore.

Travers has witnessed the melting firsthand during scouting trips ahead of Victor’s travels. A German glacier that had hard-packed snow when he first visited last year is now mushy, he said.

“I was stunned,” he said. “The difference over a year was incredible.”

Disintegrating permafrost, which now glues a glacier’s rocks together, can cause them to crumble with potentially devastating consequences.

Victor’s flight comes as Italian authorities are scrambling to respond to fears that part of a large Italian glacier near Mont Blanc is on the verge of collapsing. They’ve warned that falling ice could endanger homes and people in the Val Ferret area, a popular hiking area.

At the rate the planet is warming, it’s too late to save the Alps’ glaciers, Freedom Conservation Managing Director Ronald Menzel said. But it’s not too late to fight climate change more broadly. He hopes Victor’s popularity will spur viewers into action.

“We hope that once more, people are going to see nature from a totally different perspective and just reconnect to it and realize that wow, it’s actually something that is amazing and that we want to do something to preserve,” he said.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

City honour Liverpool - then hammer them 4-0

MANCHESTER: Manchester City generously applauded new champions Liverpool onto the field before their Premier League match on Thursday -- and promptly showed no mercy by thrashing them 4-0 at the Etihad stadium. With the title secured a week ago, there was little at stake for Juergen Klo Read More...

Real Madrid close on title as Ramos late show sinks Getafe

MADRID: Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos kept his nerve to score a late penalty and secure a hard-fought 1-0 home win over Getafe on Thursday for a sixth consecutive La Liga victory to take his side one step closer to winning the title. Ramos coolly passed the ball into the net to brea Read More...

File photo of the headquarters of the World Health Organisation in Geneva

Pay attention to mental health, prevention of suicide: WHO

Kathmandu, July 2 With the COVID-19 pandemic still spreading and impacting people in multiple ways, World Health Organisation today called upon South-East Asia region countries, including Nepal, to pay greater attention to mental health and suicide prevention. “Hitting lives and livelihoods, Read More...

Government urged to make transport service effective

Workers in transportation sector face risk of losing their livelihood as the service is yet to resume KATHMANDU, JUNE 2 National Assembly lawmakers have drawn the attention of the government to the need of making transport service effective by adopting required health safety measures as life h Read More...

EU, UNICEF to prevent malnutrition in Nepal

KATHMANDU, JULY 2 European Union and UNICEF have expanded their partnership on nutrition to prevent malnutrition in children due to the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. Socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis has pushed many vulnerable families across Nepal into deeper poverty and h Read More...

Bill proposing facilities for local reps tabled

POKHARA, JULY 2 Amid protest from the opposition party, a bill was tabled in the Provincial Assembly meeting of Gandaki Province proposing facilities for local level representatives today. Minister of Internal Affairs and Law Hari Bahadur Chuman tabled the bill which proposed facilities for me Read More...

Girls join hands to fight against drug abuse

KAPILVASTU, JUNE 2 Girls of Shivapur of Shivaraj Municipality in Kapilvastu district have joined hands against drug addiction. Girls associated with Gautam Kishori Sambad, Saraswoti Kishori Sambad and Nabadurga Kishori Sambad located in Shivapur have launched campaign to control drug addiction Read More...

Officer, Public Service Commission, Government officer,

Upset Nayab Subbas vow to continue protest

KATHMANDU, JULY 2 Nayab Subbas (non-gazetted first class officers) have threatened to continue nationwide protest until their demands are met. They have demanded revision in a few provisions proposed in the Federal Civil Service Bill, passed recently by the State Affairs and Good Governance Co Read More...