Finnish Museum of Natural History
Pete the Osprey, epilogue
In summer 2008, the Osprey Foundation started organising an operation under the management of Arto Kalliola and with the help of BirdLife. Their goal was to find Pete's transmitter and return it to Finland, possibly for re-use. Fairly soon, they found an organisation in Morocco maintained by the court of the crown prince of Abu Dhabi (Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation). The organisation's technical coordinator Eric Le Nuz efficiently took on the task of searching for Pete's transmitter. He sent out Rachid Khain, who set out for River Drâa following the coordinates I had given. On 23 July 2008, when he arrived at the location whence the last exact reading from Pete had been sent, Rachid Khain found the transmitter, some bones and a feather in the sand. This is fantastic proof of the incredible accuracy of modern satellite tracking!
Unfortunately, finding the transmitter, a few bones and a feather did not shed much light on the cause for Pete's death. Eric Le Nuz proposed the theory that Pete might have fallen prey to a Bonelli's Eagle (Hieraetus fasciatus) or a local Eagle Owl. The following observations support this theory. (1) there were no tooth marks as from a fox or dog on the transmitter and (2) the Teflon straps of the transmitter had been 'cut' in the same way as Le Nuz had witnessed an Eagle cut the straps of a transmitter on a Houbara Bustard.
Pete's transmitter was sent back to Finland. Since the transmitter had been lying in the sand with the solar panel against the ground, the battery could no longer charge itself. During the winter, a new battery was fitted into the transmitter, and after that it was ready for use again.