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Reintroduction of white-tailed eagles

Bird Aware Solent position statement

Bird Aware Solent is aware of the proposals to reintroduce White-tailed Eagles to the Isle of Wight.

The Bird Aware Solent Partnership focuses on protecting the 125,000 internationally important birds that overwinter on the Solent coast. The Partnership seeks to protect them from the growing pressures of recreational disturbance, brought on by increased planned housing in the area. It focuses on the necessary behaviour change of coastal users to allow the birds to rest and feed in peace.

We recognise that when White-tailed Eagles are reintroduced to the Isle of Wight, they will become another local predator that will prey on small numbers of the birds we aim to safeguard. However, many of our overwintering coastal birds migrate through areas where the White-tailed Eagle is already established, thus are habituated to its behaviours and are unlikely to be unduly perturbed by its reintroduction to our area.

Alongside this, we note that in other areas where the White-tailed Eagles have successfully been reintroduced, bird related tourism has increased. Should that become the case on the Isle of Wight, then we would welcome the opportunity to proactively work with this industry to further our outreach and to promote best practice within their working practices. Building a close relationship with this emerging sector would allow us to spread our messages to wider audiences.

The re-introduction is being undertaken under the terms and conditions of a licence granted by Natural England. We recognise that this was granted after a rigorous assessment process which was governed by international guidelines. To successfully gain this licence, the applicant had to demonstrate, through feasibility studies, that the re-introduction is appropriate and that it delivers a measurable conservation benefit.

This statement represents a majority view of the Bird Aware Partnership members. As the re-introduction is taking place within the boundary of the Isle of Wight Council, they are continuing to liaise in more depth with appropriate stakeholders.

More information related to the proposed White-tailed Eagle reintroduction on the Isle of Wight can be found at: http://www.roydennis.org/isleofwight/