Lonely Planet Writer

Hunt on for giant eagle on the loose in Kent

The hunt is on for a “gigantic” eagle which has been on the loose in Kent since the weekend.

Closeup of a Steller's sea eagle.
Closeup of a Steller’s sea eagle. Image by Jinterwas / CC BY 2.0

Rex, the Steller’s sea eagle, went missing during a flying display at the Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation (EHWF) in Eynsford, Kent, on Sunday.

National Geographic describes the species as “very large, powerful eagles” which “hunt from a perch or from flight by diving and clutching prey in their talons” but Rex’s owners say he “is not dangerous but should not be approached or touched”.

Keen-eyed onlookers have spotted buzzards overhead and thought it was Rex.

In comparison Rex is a “gigantic” bird whose 8ft wingspan makes him twice the size of the buzzards which are common in the region, according to the EHWF’s Nicky Hopkins.

Rex – who is about 18 months old, fully grown, and has a bright yellow beak – was last seen over Lullingstone golf course near Eynsford in Kent.

Steller’s sea eagles can weigh 13 to 20lbs (6 to 9kg) and are considered ” the most powerful and aggressive of its cousins, the bald eagle and the white-tailed sea eagle”, according to National Geographic

Of his disappearance on Sunday at around 12.30pm, Ms Hopkins said: “He was in a flying display and just went for a jolly.

“Sometimes they might just go off for 10 minutes but they come back.

“He is not dangerous.”

He will attack only if something attacks him, like a fox, she said.

She added: “He comes from a Russian climate so he can cope with the cold spell. We are just worried about him and want to get him home.”

A EHWF spokesman said: “We believe the transmitter used to trace him has failed and is not working.

“Rex is not dangerous but should not be approached or touched. If you see him just watch him from a distance and please call us immediately.”

(Press Association)