An important new scientific paper has just emerged documenting the history of golden and white-tailed eagles in Wales.
Published in the journal Conservation Science & Practice, this new paper builds on the earlier, painstaking work of the much missed Richard Evans who, along with colleagues (see here), mapped the historical distribution of eagles across Britain and Ireland.
This latest paper, authored by Cardiff University PhD student Sophie-lee Williams et al, thoroughly evaluates the evidence for both species in Wales and maps their likely core distributions. The authors conclude there is strong evidence that both species were widespread across Wales but fell victim to persecution and haven’t bred there for over 150 years.
This paper is open access which means it is freely available to everyone.
Download it here: Williams et al 2020_Past distribution eagles Wales
The significance of this paper relates to a proposed reintroduction of golden and/or white-tailed eagles to Wales. Many blog readers will recall that this prospect has been on the table for a while and whilst there is still a lot more work to complete before licence applications are submitted, understanding the species’ past historical ranges is important.
Some blog readers may recognise some of the names involved in this latest research. They are part of the Eagle Reintroduction Wales Project (ERWP) (website here) who we blogged about last year when news emerged that a different team was also contemplating an eagle reintroduction in Wales, but apparently without the careful research assessment being undertaken by the Cardiff University team (see here). Fortunately, so far, that alternative approach hasn’t advanced very far (see here and here).
Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see more research results from the ERWP that’ll take us another step closer to restoring these eagles back to Wales.