In February this year, amidst a blaze of publicity and fanfare, it was claimed that plans to reintroduce golden eagles to Wales were well underway and that a licence application to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) would be lodged by July.
The claim was made by Dr Paul O’Donoghue of ‘Wilder Britain‘, also the individual behind last year’s failed application to reintroduce Lynx to Kielder (Lynx UK Trust) and the individual involved with recent legal action against Andy Wightman MSP for alleged defamation (Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC).
[Dr Paul O’Donoghue, photographed by Paul Paterson @tighnabruaich1 at a fractious community meeting earlier this year]
We blogged about O’Donoghue’s golden eagle plans in February and how they contrasted with the legitimate reintroduction plans of a different group, Eagle Reintroduction Wales (see here) and this story was later picked up by Private Eye (see here).
Nine months on and we were curious to read Dr O’Donoghue’s licence application to reintroduce golden eagles to Wales and even more curious to see how NRW had responded, so we submitted a Freedom of Information request for the details.
NRW has responded with this:
Meanwhile, Dr Rob Thomas (@RobThomas14) from the alternative Eagle Reintroduction Wales Project told us, “We are increasingly well supported by the Wildlife Trusts of South and West Wales but we feel we are several years away from any possible licence application, with the biological phases nearing completion but much still to do next in terms of engagement with farmers, shooters, tourism interests and other stakeholders“.