Sad news. The managers of the Hungarian LIFE project on Saker Falcon sent us this message with details on the death of the travelling Saker Piros. A sad end for perhaps the most outstanding travel ever recorded for such species.
'A few days ago - following of my request - an international team of biologists working with monk seals in Mauritania found the body of Piros on a peninsula on the northern part of the country (see 20.77100 -17.04467). When first seen, Piros seemed exhausted but the colleagues could not help her. She spent 8 days in the area before her signals disappeared. There is no explanation for her death since apparently there is plenty of food around: shorebirds, gulls and probably passerine migrants too. Nevertheless, the possibility of getting too tired after crossing the desert and not being able to hunt is not excluded. Further possibilities are: secondary poisoning (a large number of ships have been dismantled and sank in the area), some kind of disease or some unknown factor. It is a strange co-incidence, however that in 1979 a dead Saker was found by French ornithologists in Star Bay - just a few km north of the place where Piros has been found. This fact raises the question whether this phenomenon occurs from year to year, and this place is really a some kind of trap for Sakers; or it is really just a co-incidence and these two birds were found there co-incidently. This story shows again how little we know about our ecosystem and its 'elements'.
Certainly, it would be worth looking around there, however I can't see at the moment how we could get there in the close future.
The transmitter will be returned to us across Madrid with the help of a Spanish member of the team (to whom goes a great thanks).
Unfortunately, it seems that this is the end of the great story of Piros.
Thank you again for your invaluable help and I will inform you if there is any developments.
All the best
Resumen. Y Piros murió fuera del WP. Se adjunta la carta de los gestores del proyecto LIFE del halcón sacre en la que se relatan las circunstancias de la muerte de Piros en Mauritania.