04/08/2011 White-tailed Sea Eagles return to the skies of the south-west again – Minister Deenihan
Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will today, Thursday 4 August, release up to thirteen young White-tailed Sea Eagles in Killarney National Park as part of the ongoing reintroduction programme for the species in Ireland.
Commenting on the release, Minister Deenihan said, “I am looking forward to being present for the release of these young eagles later today. It will be wonderful to see at first hand these magnificent White-tailed Sea Eagles back in the skies of the National Park here in Kerry. This is the last year of the release phase of this project which started in 2007. At age five or six these birds will hopefully start to breed in the wild and the goal of a fully sustainable White-tailed Sea Eagle population in this region will be achieved. This in turn will bring many wide ranging benefits from biodiversity to eco-tourism. We are well aware that the island of Mull, in Scotland, benefits hugely from visitors who want to see eagles there, and that the same benefit can be duplicated here in Kerry.”
The White-tailed Sea Eagle Reintroduction Project started in 2007 and is been managed by the Golden Eagle Trust in partnership with the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and in collaboration with Prosjekt Havørn, the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research and the Directorate for Nature Management in Norway who have kindly assisted in the donation of these wild birds. The Projects aim is to have a viable population of wild birds in the area. The White-tailed Eagle was once resident in Kerry but both it and the Golden Eagle disappeared over a hundred years ago following persecution by man. The release of the new eagles in Kerry represents another important stage in efforts to restore these magnificent birds to the skies of the south-west.
All released birds have been fitted with radio-transmitters or satellite transmitter that allows the birds to be tracked in the wild. It is hoped that the newly released eagles will remain in the Killarney area for one or two months where they will be provided with food until they begin to disperse to other parts of Kerry and beyond.
Eagles released in the past four years have already dispersed throughout Ireland and even further. Many eagles have been reported from Northern Ireland and at least four birds have travelled to Scotland. One male that spend 8 months away from Kerry in 2009 travelled over 2,000 kilometres to the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland before returning to Kerry. While immature eagles may disperse over a wide area, as they begin to mature and pair up at 4-5 years old they establish territories along the coast and inland lakes where they are resident throughout their lifetime.
In thanking all those involved in the partnership approach to this successful project the Minister said “I would particularly like to thank all those in the farming community for their cooperation and I recognise the critical part the farming community plays in enhancing this country’s biodiversity.”
Notes for Editors
The White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, and Red Kite Reintroduction Projects in the Republic of Ireland are managed by the Golden Eagle Trust in partnership with the National Parks & Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in the Republic of Ireland.