Proposed golden eagle reintroduction in Wales – the saga continues

Regular blog readers will be aware of an on-going controversy about plans to reintroduce golden eagles to Wales. There are two separate groups involved, with two very different approaches -see herehereherehereherehere, here and here for previous blogs.

[Young golden eagle, photo by Getty Images]

You may remember in September there was a parliamentary discussion in the Senedd (Welsh Parliament), later reported in the local press, where Siân Gwenllian, the Member of the Senedd for the Arfon constituency and Shadow Minister for Plaid Cymru, had raised concerns about the project with the Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths MS and urged her not to support reintroduction plans (see here).

There’s been an update on that. During a radio discussion broadcast on BBC Radio Cymru on 25th September 2020 between Dewi Llywd (host), Iolo Williams (conservationist & TV presenter), politician Siân Gwenllian and Rhys Owen (Head of Conversation & Agriculture, Snowdonia National Park) there was clarification from Ms Gwenllian that her opposition was aimed specifically at the reintroduction proposal from Paul O’Donoghue of Wilder Britain, and not for the research being undertaken by the opposing group, Eagle Reintroduction Wales Project.

The discussion was in Welsh and a blog reader has provided a transcript but I’m not going to publish it because the programme has since been removed from the BBC website, apparently for ‘technical’ reasons, but I suspect there may be legal issues afoot. Suffice to say, the Wilder Britain proposal wasn’t supported by any of the panel members, mostly because of the perceived lack of transparency, accountability and poor communication.

It’s not clear at what stage the Wilder Britain proposal has reached because statutory agency Natural Resources Wales hasn’t responded properly to a pretty simple Freedom of Information request that was submitted two months ago in mid-August! A formal complaint has been lodged.

Meanwhile, the other research group, Eagle Reintroduction Wales Project, affiliated with Cardiff University, is about to go under. Its funding runs out in November, thanks to Covid-related difficulties, and the group is making a last-ditch attempt to crowdfund support to see it through to April 2021 when Government funding is reopened.

Without funding, the group’s careful three-year project will come to a premature end, just at the time when its research is needed the most. If you can help with a small contribution, please visit the crowdfunder page HERE (it closes at the end of this week).

3 thoughts on “Proposed golden eagle reintroduction in Wales – the saga continues”

  1. Given the track record of Dr Paul O’Donoghue I would not be at all surprised if, as you say – “suspect there may be legal issues afoot.”

  2. Looking on companies house and the amount that Dr o’Donoghue is receiving for consultation fees from the various CIC’s, are his intentions to release species genuine. Or are the incomplete license applications intentional, with the knowledge that they will be turned down. With the questions answered in your last blog at the public meeting in Bala, it doesn’t look like there will be a cat in hells chance of releasing birds into Wales by Wilder Britain. So why carry on with it??? Are people still sponsoring/ adopting eagles of the website? Will more consultation fees be generated? Having listened to the above radio broadcast at the time, it does make me think why it has been removed from the public eye? Technical issue, yeah yeah!!!!

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