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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 3 July, 2020

Ten white-tailed eagles flown in from Norway to help bolster Irish population

The ten eagles are expected to be released in mid-August.

A white-tailed eagle glides over the surface of the sea
A white-tailed eagle glides over the surface of the sea
Image: Shutterstock/Sergey Uryadnikov

TEN WHITE-TAILED EAGLES have landed in Kerry to be released to bolster the breeding population that is currently established in Ireland.

The eagles, who arrived from Norway earlier today, will be released in three locations: Lough Derg in Donegal, the lower Shannon estuary and Killarney National Park.

They were brought over by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) as part of a three-year plan to increase the population of the once extinct species

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan welcomed the arrival of the eagles, praising the work of teams in both Ireland and Norway.

“Thanks to their logistical work, bringing the latest influx of White-tailed Eagles to these shores, the future is positive for the eagle, which had been extinct in Ireland for over a century.”

The eagles are expected to be released in mid-August and until then will be kept in sites in Munster.

They will be tagged before they are released to keep an eye on their progress integrating with the existing breeding population.

The NPWS will be working alongside farming communities in the areas where the eagles will be released as well as where they eventually settle. 

According to the NPWS, alongside the biodiversity benefits, the reestablishment of white-tailed eagles in Ireland may come with economic benefits.

In Mountshannon, County Clare, a breeding pair nested near the village and the NPWS says that it brought thousands of visitors over the years.

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While tourism has slowed down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a live-stream of the white-tailed eagles has become popular, with it being featured by BBC Wildlife as one of the best animal live-streams in the world.

Source: Garnish Sea Eagle LIVE STREAMS/YouTube

This is the second phase of the reintroduction of white-tailed eagles, with 100 released in Killarney National Park between 2007 and 2011.

These birds have since dispersed across the country, and they first bred in Lough Derg in 2012. According to the NPWS, a small breeding population of eight to 10 have had 26 chicks, with six more expected in the coming weeks.

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