It doesn’t take an eagle-eyed hen watcher to grasp what the shocked skiers of Morzine are skidding to a cease to stare at.
Fletcher, a fearsome seven-year-old who has a putting relationship along with his handler, is hovering excessive above the slopes of the French alps.
The white-tailed eagle breezes by way of the sky with a couple of magisterial flaps earlier than touchdown effortlessly on Jacques-Olivier Travers’ arm – whilst his coach skies down the piste.
However Fletcher just isn’t the one spectacular hen commonly on show at an unassuming mountain restaurant dwelling to an on-piste aviary.
Workers at Les Aigles du Léman’s winter park are trying to develop the inhabitants of birds of prey within the space – and ‘snowboarding with eagles’ is one in every of their extra novel methods.
‘Conservation is difficult to elucidate to individuals’, Jacques-Olivier says.
‘With Fletcher it is rather simple as a result of all people who sees Fletcher taking part in with me thinks: “wow, it’s so stunning and he’s not aggressive with anyone, he can fly with individuals”.
‘He’s actually the most effective ambassador we’ve within the programme.’
The conservationist places on beautiful exhibits along with his eagle, and explains extra concerning the animal to these watching.
Jacques-Olivier hopes that elevated public consciousness will help the birds prosper within the resort and past.
It’s not the one initiative at Morzine focussing on environmental efforts, with the resort not too long ago profitable an aptly-named Flocon Vert (Inexperienced Snowflake) eco award.
Elsewhere, some lifts have high-visibility markers, to verify the overhanging wires are seen, in an effort to assist lots of the bigger birds, whose numbers have been dwindling.
Within the huge Portes du Soleil, there may be additionally a protected space for endangered black grouse, who don’t breed if disturbed by people.
However undoubtedly probably the most eye-catching initiative is the Pointe de Nyon restaurant-cum-aviary, which additionally boasts vultures, owls and buzzards.
Company can have a meal earlier than or after taking within the outstanding hen life on show on this extremely uncommon setting.
Academic talks can be found for youngsters and adults, alongside demonstrations on the slopes, like these with Fletcher.
‘We make plenty of occasions and issues to show those that it’s regular that they (the birds) reside right here and we’ve to simply accept them’, Jacques-Olivier explains.
‘We hope that it’ll work.
‘Essentially the most troublesome factor is to breed in captivity as a result of these birds produce solely two infants per yr – when it’s excellent – and more often than not it’s one. It signifies that we’ve 10, 12 infants to launch annually.’
The final word purpose is to extend inhabitants sizes, Jacques-Olivier continues – however that will likely be an extended course of.
‘In France, within the wild, we now have three pairs, all are within the north of France’, he says.
‘We count on that the birds we launch will go to those pairs and with infants and cross collectively… that’s the purpose.’
However the general ambition is way extra wide-reaching, the conservationist says, delving into the historical past of Fletcher’s species.
‘2 hundred years in the past, the white-tailed eagle was from Morocco to England and now they disappear fully.
‘We’ve got a programme within the south of England, in France and in Spain – and the purpose is to repopulate all of western Europe.’
Which may be a way off, but when Fletcher’s work can flip a tiny fraction of Morzine’s skiers into eagle-eyed hen watchers, maybe he may have had a claw in serving to many extra birds to thrive.
Ski with an eagle then have lunch in the identical spot on the Pointe de Nyon restaurant on the slopes, from €75 per individual. For extra info click on right here.