An eagle with a camera strapped to it set a new world record after taking off from the Burj Khalifa as part of an initiative highlighting the plight of endangered birds.
Darshan the eagle took off from the top of the 829.8m Dubai skyscraper – carrying a 300g micro-camera, to film its five-minute long flight.
The stunt is the first time a bird has flown from the world’s tallest building.
“Darshan is a male Imperial Eagle with a wingspan of two metres,” said its trainer and the founder of the Freedom Conservation organisation, Jazques-Olivier Travers. “He is a very powerful bird, which is necessary as he is donning a 300g camera on his back.”
As well as providing spectacular views to the crowds assembled around TV screens below, the flight was designed to raise awareness of endangered birds of prey and reintroducing them into their natural habitat.
The group has also filmed eagles flying from landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral in London and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
“Darshan was also the eagle who flew at our London event,” Travers said, “but both those other projects were from altitudes of around 300m. The flight from Burj Khalifa was a totally different ambition.”
Freedom Conservation has reintroduced White-Tail eagles into the wild, and is now trying to raise awareness of Imperial Eagles. Travers estimates it will take around two years for this latest project to succeed.
“This eagle is a signal that things can change. It was once endangered, but after conservation programmes it is not so endangered,” Freedom Conservation director Richard Menzel told BBC News, which broadcast the flight live via video stream