Photo gallery of an eagle bringing down a deer
Published: September 26, 2013 09:56AM
Updated: September 26, 2013 10:08AM
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In this photo taken from a remote camera at the Lazovsky State Nature Reserve in the Primorye region of Russia’s Far East on Dec. 8, 2011, a golden eagle attacks a deer. Remote cameras set up to track Siberian tigers in Russia have caught a golden eagle attack on a sika deer, snapping three photos as the massive bird digs its talons into the distressed animal’s back. Golden eagles typically eat small birds or mammals, but they’ve also been known to target deer. It’s rare for a camera to catch such an attack in progress. (AP Photo/The Zoological Society of London)

London • The eagle, red-handed.

Remote cameras intended to monitor Siberian tigers in Russia instead caught a golden eagle’s fatal attack on a deer, snapping three photos as the massive bird dug its talons into the distressed animal’s back.

London’s Zoological Society, which distributed the pictures to journalists, said the sequence showed a rare but not unheard of attack by a golden eagle. The society’s Linda Kerley said she first realized something was up when she approached the wildlife-monitoring device — also called a camera trap — and found a mangled deer carcass nearby.

“Something felt wrong about it,” she said in a statement accompanying the photographs. “There were no large carnivore tracks in the snow, and it looked like the deer had been running and then just stopped and died.

“It was only after we got back to camp that I checked the images from the camera and pieced everything together,” she said. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

Golden eagles are large birds. Their wingspan tops more than 2 meters (6 ½ feet) and, while they typically eat small birds, mammals, or snakes, they’ve been known to target larger animals as well.

It’s rare for a camera to catch such an attack in progress, and the photos have been an online sensation.

The zoological society said the photos were shot in the Lazovsky State Nature Reserve in the Primorye region of Russia’s Far East on Dec. 8, 2011. The pictures were released only after the publication of a scholarly article by Kerley and co-author Jonathan Slaght of the Wildlife Conservation Society in the Ohio-based Journal of Raptor Research earlier this month.

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Online:

Raptor Research Foundation: http://www.raptorresearchfoundation.org/