The world's first eaglet has been born using frozen sperm in artificial insemination outside a laboratory. Called Thor, the baby eagle is the result of four years of experiment by falconer Andrew Knowles-Brown and University of Abertay biologist Dr Graham Wishart. It was born on Mr Knowles-Brown's farm in Lanarkshire and its parents are a male golden eagle and a female Steppe eagle.
Only two other birds of prey, a kestrel and a peregrine falcon, have been born after artificial insemination with frozen sperm. Both were born after laboratory fertilisations in America.
It is hoped that the breakthrough, which has shown that eagle eggs can be fertilised by previously frozen sperm, will be able to be used to help restore populations of endangered birds of prey. Dr Wishart said 'we are particularly excited about Thor's birth because it shows that this complex science can be taken out of the laboratory and used by falconers and other aviculturalists in the field'.