The habitat of birds of prey and owls is becoming more and more restricted on account of urban sprawl, the increasing road traffic and intensive agriculture. Many birds of prey and owls are endangered and are protected species. The Berg am Irchel Bird of Prey Sanctuary was founded in 1956 by Veronika von Stockar and has been run by the PanEco Foundation since 2008. Over the years, in close cooperation with the Zurich Veterinary Hospital and the Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sempach, a competence centre unique in Switzerland has become established to look after birds of prey. For almost 60 years it has been looking after injured or starving birds, returning them to the wild and therefore making a key contribution to the conservation of these species and also the protection of biodiversity in Switzerland. In addition to looking after the birds, the sanctuary also has environmental education programmes for groups of all kinds. The aim is to make visitors become aware of the problems of birds of prey and owls and also a sustainable relationship with nature.
Berg am Irchel Bird of Prey Sanctuary
The habitat of birds of prey and owls is becoming more and more restricted on account of various influences. The Berg am Irchel Bird of Prey Sanctuary campaigns for the wellbeing and continued existence of these birds in many different ways.
The bird of prey sanctuary is the first point of contact for housing weak or injured birds. Here they are given expert treatment, if necessary they are taken to the Zurich Veterinary Hospital and are prepared for a return to the wild. After looking after more than three thousand birds, the experts have the experience to know the right treatment in nearly every case. The quality of care and therefore also its success have continually increased in recent years.
In addition to looking after the animals, environmental education is another important area of focus in the work done at the sanctuary. Professional communication to ensure greater respect and understanding among visitors of all ages is a priority here. A wide range of presentations, guided tours and excursions helps raise awareness of the needs and difficulties of the endangered animals.
- In 2017, 220 birds of prey and owls were able to be looked after and released.
- Thanks to the new modern facility, the success rate of care was also able to increase from the previous figure of 55–65% to up to 81% in 2016. This is also a top figure when compared internationally (average of around 50%).
- In 125 guided tours in 2017, up to 4100 visitors can become aware of the particularities and problems of the birds of prey.
The Berg am Irchel Bird of Prey Sanctuary is funded by income from guided tours, donations from private individuals and with support from other foundations.
| Website of the bird of prey sanctuary (only available in German)|