The programme is part of Eagle Reintroduction Wales (ERW), a partnership between Durrell Wildlife, Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT), and Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) with the mission of restoring the white-tailed eagle back to South-east Wales and the Severn Estuary.
The White-tailed Eagle Programme is progressing well, although there have been some revisions to the schedule.
A site has been selected for the release of eagles with the landowners fully on board.
Since Last Update
In May 2023, a 4-day Conservation Standards Workshop was held at Slimbridge, this was a very useful week, with a number of staff from Durrell, WWT, and with your funding, 3 GWT staff attending. All being able to meet in person and devote such time to the project meant that great progress was made.
Since the Workshop much other progress has been made:
- A full Conservation Standards Plan has been created and is being used, this guides the whole project making sure all the necessary steps are being taken, in the correct order and to time.
- Community Awareness and Consultation has progressed well, educating people and helping the project better understand peoples concerns, with:
- 41 Local Landowner Visits.
- 67 1-1 discussions with local and national stakeholders.
- 28 public engagement events, including 8 county shows (3012 people at the county shows voted in relation to the following question “How do you feel about restoring White Tailed Eagles to Wales”, with 91% in Support, 4% Neutral and 5% Against.
- “Delivering the Severn Vision”, has listed White-tailed Eagles as a species for recovery, which further strengthens the case for the reintroduction.
- A political “Species Champion” has been selected. This being Alun Davies MS for Blaenau Gwent, who becomes the first political advocate for a reintroduction programme in Wales.
- Research has been undertaken by Cardiff University Students in relation to prey availability and population viability which will be crucial for the licence application. This research has confirmed by releasing 6-12 young birds per year for 5-years will result in a predicted population of 6-8 pairs 10-years after release, and 21 pairs 50-years after release.
- A new post has been created with an Education and Outreach Officer being appointed in late 2023, for a 12 month period to spread the message of the work we are undertaking.
- Partners to secure further funding to support their continued involvement in the programme.
- Continue consultation programme with key interest groups with particular focus on farming and fishing communities in upcoming months.
- Partners working together to organise, co-ordinate and facilitate multi-stakeholder workshops across the Severn Estuary.
- Complete Prey Availability and Habitat Regulations Assessments to inform licence application.
- Finalise release strategy.
- Launch full Public Opinion Survey.
The current predicted time-line is as follows:
- Licence application Summer 2024
- Hope to receive permission during 2025 (application can take 12 months to process).
- If everything goes to plan and permissions are in place, a reintroduction could potentially commence in Summer 2026.
A reminder that Eagle Reintroduction talks are still available on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkZfj-cNYOU&t=331s (Eagle talk starts at 2:08:00, the preceding talks may also be of interest).
With a further more recent talk at:
We still have some funding left and will naturally continue to keep you updated as the project progresses.
Thank you for your generous funding that allows GWT to continue to contribute to this exciting project.
Author: Andy Karran, Evidence Manager (Gwent Wildlife Trust)
Featured image credit: Sergey Uryadnikov