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Lohngie the White Belly Sea Eagle

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Two Thai's ran through the rubber next to my jungle home, looking to the treetops. I thought they were squirrel hunting and yelled at them to stop hunting, but then saw they had no gun. I found it a bit strange and forgot it.

A month later, the neighborhood lush saw a white belly in the rubber trees and shot it with a slingshot, then put it on display in front of his house with an asking price of B2,000 (US$55). The bird's left wing joint was damaged by the slingshot, but would repair naturally. The real damage was the severely cropped tertiaries, feathers that give the eagle lift and gliding surfaces.

The clipped wings put it all together. The eagle escaped its prisoners, the two guys running through the rubber. It could hop and climb its way across the rubber tree tops, but could not fly naturally, making it easy prey for the slingshot.

I visited the bird a few times, always telling the slingshot artist I didn't buy wildlife.

After a month of no takers, Mr. Slingshot gave the bird to some kind but poor neighbors. They didn't know raptor rehabbing, but they treated the bird with love albeit tied to a small tree with a rope. The eagle got dinner scraps, not much and certainly not natural diet, but enough to keep it alive.

I felt for the entire situation, eagle and caretakers, so I took to feeding the eagle myself, massaging it after every meal. Finally, the good folks could see that I could take better care of the bird and gave it to me.

Big problem. I had to seize the moment, but we had no fly cage facilities. and 17 street dogs. Unlike "Baby",
( /gallery/wildlife/whiteseaeagle.htm ) who grew up with the dogs from two months and thoroughly intimidated them as it dominated the house, Lohngie is about three years and naturally afraid of dogs.

My brother-in-law built a large cage in just one day - around the eagle while it patiently watched. Amporn called the eagle "Lohngie", the affectionate version of "Lost the Way" in Thai.

I'm sad that Lohngie sits in jail waiting for his feathers to grow back so he can finally soar like an eagle. Lohngie's coloration suggests he's 3-4 years old, ready to reach adulthood in another year or so. The small size says Lohngie is a male (the male is smaller in most raptors), and one day soon he will look for a mate and find a territory. I've already got on picked out near a hotel with a large grass beach backed by a jungle mountainside. I've never seen established eagles in that neighborhood, so perhaps Lohngie can establish a territory without a squabble.

Look for a new page in a couple of months as we train Lohngie to fly again, and another page when the great day comes to release Lohngie again so he can "Fly Like An Eagle".

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