Last month we blogged about conflicting approaches to the proposed reintroduction of golden eagles to Wales (see here).
One group (Eagle Reintroduction Wales Project, ERW) being led by researchers at Cardiff University is part-way through conducting a careful scoping exercise to properly consider all the factors that need to be addressed before permission for a reintroduction would be granted, e.g. biological and environmental considerations, social and political considerations, and comprehensive risk assessments and an exit strategy.
The other group (Wilder Britain) is a newly registered Community Interest Company being led by Dr Paul O’Donoghue of Wildcat Haven and Lynx Trust UK ‘fame’. A press release from Wilder Britain stated that an application to release golden eagles would be submitted this summer, which appears to us to be premature.
Private Eye picked up on this news and have published a piece in their latest edition:
Meanwhile, Dr O’Donoghue wrote to RPUK to complain about last month’s blog. Unfortunately Dr O’Donoghue’s email went straight to the spam folder so it’s only just been discovered but in the interests of transparency it’s published here so that everyone has the opportunity to view his extensive ornithological expertise:
Just a couple of points from us.
When we wrote, “We’re not aware of Dr O’Donoghue’s experience or expertise in ornithology or in the field of raptor research and conservation” in our earlier blog, we did not ‘seek to lead the reader to believe that I [Paul O’Donoghue] have no relevant ornithological experience‘. If that’s what we had wanted to say, that is what we would have said! We said we were not aware of Dr O’Donoghue’s experience or expertise in ornithology or in the field of raptor research and conservation, simply because we weren’t aware of it. His name is not a familiar one in the scientific journals we read.
Having now become aware of Dr O’Donoghue’s ornithological experience and expertise, based on the information he provided, we maintain our support for the Cardiff University ERW Project’s robust approach to assessing the feasibility of a reintroduction of golden eagles to Wales.
Meanwhile, Dr O’Donoghue has been the subject of more media attention, this time at a public meeting to discuss his proposal to reintroduce the Lynx to various sites in Scotland. It didn’t end well, according to the Scottish Farmer (see here).