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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 May, 2005, 21:38 GMT 22:38 UK
Bald eagle escapes during display
Bald eagle
A tracking device attached to Alaska was not working
A bald eagle with a six-feet wingspan has flown off during a display at a bird of prey sanctuary.

Police are warning members of the public not to approach 14-year-old Alaska if spotted.

The star attraction at the Eagle Heights Bird of Prey Centre in Dartford, Kent, was taking part in a show at noon on Sunday.

Police said Alaska could have reached north-east London, Essex or Suffolk by now but may still be in the Kent area.

The 4.5kg (9.9lbs) bird, hatched from wild disabled parents in Winnipeg, Canada, has lived at the centre since she was six months old.

Tracking device

Alaska is described by her owners as "friendly". The public, however, were being advised to report any sightings.

Rory Whiticker, a falconer at Eagle Heights gave a description.

I am just desperate to get her back
Alain Aimes, Eagle Heights Bird of Prey Centre

"She's got a white head, a white tail, yellow feet and a yellow beak. Her main body is a sort of brown/black colour," he said.

Alaska would pose a threat only if confronted, said owner Alain Aimes.

"If somebody tried to grab her she'd just grab them," he said.

Mr Aimes said he could only watch helplessly as she flew off in the direction of Gravesend during the display.

"I am just desperate to get her back," he told the BBC News website.

"In the wind she was able to go up a couple of thousand feet," he said. "That's normal, but this time she did not return. She just took off."

Alaska has gone missing on five occasions in the past, and each time has been found up a tree or on a roof.

But a tracking device which would normally allow her to be traced was not working, Mr Aimes added.

Anyone who spots Alaska should contact the police or the Eagle Heights Bird of Prey Centre on 01322 866577.

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