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article imageCam shows majestic POV as Eagle dives from Dubai's Burj Khalifa

By JohnThomas Didymus     Mar 17, 2015 in Internet
Dubai - A two-minute video uploaded to YouTube March 14, shows an imperial eagle named Darshan, diving from the top of the world's tallest building, Dubai's Burj Khalifa, with a live-stream camera strapped to his back.
The bird dived from the top of the skyscraper to the arm of his trainer standing near a fountain at the base of the building.
The advocacy group that arranged the stunt claims the flight set a new world record for the "highest-ever recorded bird flight from a man-made structure."
The male imperial eagle, with a wingspan of two meters, was able to capture a breathtaking bird's eye view of Dubai's architectural landscape as he swooped from the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, with one of the world's smallest cameras, a Sony Action Cam Mini, attached to his back.
Eagle descends from the Burj Khalifa
Eagle descends from the Burj Khalifa
YouTube/BBC
The camera, weighing 300g, was about 10 percent of the bird's body weight.
Darshan’s trainer, Jacques-Olivier Travers from Thonon, France, told Dubai's Gulf News, "Darshan is a male Imperial Eagle with a wingspan of two meters. He is a very powerful bird, which is necessary as he is donning a 300g camera on his back."
Darshan, raised exclusively in captivity, descended 2,722 feet (829.8 meters), capturing stunning views of Dubai, the most populous city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), before landing on his trainer's arms at the bottom of the building.
The video shows the bird circling in the air, briefly, before descending rapidly to the ground to meet his trainer waiting at the base of the building.
Travers, who described the flight as "perfect," said, "This was an incredible challenge and the most difficult of my career. Not only is this the highest vertical flight that has ever been done, but the eagle also had to fly in a totally different environment, with strong wind disturbances caused by the skyscrapers. This flight will create huge possibilities for future conservation programs."
Eagle-cam POV from the world s tallest building
Eagle-cam POV from the world's tallest building
YouTube/BBC
The event, according to the BBC, was organized by the advocacy Freedom Conservation, in collaboration with Save Our Species (SOS) and UNESCO, to raise awareness about the plight of endangered birds of prey.
White-tailed imperial eagles were, until recently, included on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) RedList of Endangered Species.
Freedom Conservation director, Ronald Menzel, told the BBC, "This eagle is a signal that things can change. It was once endangered, but after conservation programs it is not so endangered."
He added, "[This] represents a historic opportunity for conservation – through these incredible images we are bringing this important cause to the attention of people all across the world."
Eagle-cam view from the world s tallest building
Eagle-cam view from the world's tallest building
YouTube/BBC
The depletion of wild populations of birds of prey is exacerbated by smuggling to support the sport of falconry popular among the aristocratic classes of the Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, according to RT.
"Training and equipping birds of prey with these small cameras will allow us to understand exactly what a bird does when it is released into the wild, and will ultimately help our effort to restore endangered bird populations," Travers said.
Although, this is the first time that Darshan has descended from a height of more than 2,700 feet, wild eagles, such as the bald eagle, are known to fly as high as 10,00 feet. Ruppell's griffon vultures have been seen flying at altitudes of up to 37,000 feet, while bar-headed geese have been spotted 28,000 feet in the Himalayas region.
Darshan dives to earth from 2 722 feet
Darshan dives to earth from 2,722 feet
YouTube/BBC
This is not the first time that Darshan has flown from a height with a camera attached. The majestic bird has completed several successful flights from the top of iconic structures around the world.
Darshan completes  highest-ever recorded bird 
flight from a man-made structure.
Darshan completes "highest-ever recorded bird flight from a man-made structure."
YouTube/BBC
He has flown off the Golden Gallery at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, landing at the Tower Bridge. He has also flown from the 206-meter observation deck of the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Released from the top of the Eiffel Tower by his trainer, Darshan flew at a speed of more than 110 miles per hour, soaring over the River Seine and landing at the Trocadero Garden.
In November last year, the bird flew over much of central London, capturing impressive views of the city, including the River Thames.
More about Eagle, Camera, Dubai, Burj khalifa, eaglecam
 
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