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Iconic bird of prey returns to Britain

Date: 03-Dec-19
Author: Liam Taylor

The white-tailed eagle is gracing the skies over Britain for the first time in over 240 years.

The white-tailed eagle is gracing the skies over Britain for the first time in over 240 years.

A group of conservationists hopes the release of six eaglets on the Isle of Wight could help bring Britain’s largest bird of prey back to the skies.

The white-tailed eagle has not been seen in over 240 years in Britain after it was hunted to extinction in the late 19th and early 20th century. The six young birds released this year were the first of up to 60 that Forestry England and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation hope to reintroduce as part of a five-year programme.

The conservation programme hopes to mirror the success of a similar reintroduction scheme in Scotland. Chicks from Norway were released during the 1970s and the birds quickly took to the environment, breeding and expanding their habitat range over the course of several decades. Today, there are 130 breeding pairs across the country and through increased tourism the birds have bolstered the local economy by around five million pounds (over nine million dollars).

The Isle of Wight was chosen as the location to reintroduce the white-tailed eaglets due to the potential nesting and resting sites along its uninhabited coasts, cliffs and woodlands. The area also provides plenty of food, with fish and water birds forming the bulk of the eagles’ diet. To encourage the birds to settle they will be first be provided food at feeding stations before this is gradually reduced over time.


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Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.

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