The Environment Ministry's Kushiro-shitsugen Wildlife Center has released back to the wild a white-tailed eagle that had been in its protection for nearly two years due to infection with highly pathogenic bird flu, undergoing extensive treatment and rehabilitation.

In an innovative step, the center utilized an antiviral drug for influenza originally intended for human use. It marked the first time in the world for a wild bird afflicted with highly contagious and lethal bird flu to be treated with a human medication and successfully recover to a condition suitable for reintroduction to its natural habitat, according to the center.

After having been released in the wild in February, subsequent tracking with a transmitter verified that the bird was successfully living independently in its natural habitat.