New release location being sought for white-tailed eagles in Norfolk

Following last week’s news that the Wild Ken Hill Estate in Norfolk has inexplicably backed out of hosting a project for the restoration of white-tailed eagles in East Anglia, which was due to start next year (see here), project leaders at The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation have announced that the search is on for a new release location.

[A white-tailed eagle hunting over the north Norfolk coast. Photographer unknown]

A statement posted on the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation website reads:

We are very disappointed that Wild Ken Hill do not wish to proceed with the White-tailed Eagle reintroduction project that Natural England licenced earlier this year. The early results from the Isle of Wight project are extremely encouraging, and we continue to believe that East Anglia is highly suitable for the second stage of the restoration of the White-tailed Eagle in England, as detailed in the Ken Hill feasibility report.  As such, we are now seeking an alternative location, and are in consultation with Natural England about this. We hope to report more news in due course‘.

Given the number of pheasant and partridge shooting estates in Norfolk, including the royal Sandringham Estate with its reputation for hosting raptors (ahem), and the game-shooting industry’s repeated claims about how raptors are always welcome, there shouldn’t be any difficulty finding a new venue to support the planned release of young eagles.

Should there?!

11 thoughts on “New release location being sought for white-tailed eagles in Norfolk”

  1. No bird should ever be re-located until it’s safety from persecution is guaranteed. And for that to happen the human race will have to grow up!

    1. ……an environment/landscape being proposed to host a reintroduction programme like this needs to meet some key criteria, one of which is to be free from the very threats that caused the species’ demise historically. I would think North Norfolk would be ideal for White-tailed eagles in every respect but this one. The area is full of shooting estates and raptor persecution will continue to be a threat. The estates need to step up and commit, but that is going to take a lot of work. Are the resources in place to do that work?

    2. “No bird should ever be re-located until it’s safety from persecution is guaranteed.”

      Guaranteed by whom? And whenever a re-located bird is persecuted, what should happen to the guarantor?

      Isn’t setting impossible conditions simply a way of stating that you are opposed to the reintroduction of any species?

      1. Why have marsh harriers bussards and peregrine’s thrived in norfolk and numbers still rising? Raptor persecution isn’t a threat to wtse and never will be

        1. “Raptor persecution isn’t a threat to wtse and never will be”

          But raptor persecution has certainly been a threat to Hen Harriers and Short-Eared Owls in Norfolk, hasn’t it?

          1. I don’t believe hen harriers or short eared owls are under threat in Norfolk, in the case of short eared owls and marsh harriers the nesting attempts I’ve witnessed in and around the wash and agricultural land along it’s shores have been the victims of natural predation, more so the short eared owl wich in ten years watching several pairs not one pair had success the marsh harriers did better in agriculture than salt or fresh marsh again predated, not human interference, Montegues harriers didn’t fare any better one nest the first fledged 3 young all attempts since have failed to predation latterly no pairs have attempted to breed” not due to persecution i may add👍

            1. I was wrong when I mentioned Short-Eared Owls. I had miss-remembered the incident at Sandringham, when a Little Owl was killed in a spring trap:


              And then there was the incident with the shooting of Hen Harriers:


              Maybe, I should also have included Goshawks:


              All in Norfolk:-(

  2. Keith, you find fault with the first sentence but not the answer in the second.
    I’m not against reintroduction where it can work, but I can’t see the sense in taking an animal from a place where it has a chance of a life and transferring it to somewhere under a death sentence. And Sandringham would be a death sentence.
    Shame we can’t relocate the royals.

    1. There is no ‘answer’ to the second sentence.

      ” I can’t see the sense in taking an animal from a place where it has a chance of a life and transferring it to somewhere under a death sentence”

      And yet we have re-introduced species – without any prior ‘guarantee’ of ‘safety’ – where breeding success has overcome on-going, illegal, persecution…

      White-tailed Eagles have the very highest profile: any illegal persecution would run a severe risk of widespread public outrage. Who knows where that might end?

  3. Glad to see I am not the only one that thinks the way I do, by thinking the Ken Hill project was a badly thought out project.

    At the time I got shot down and received abuse on Whatsapp by certain individuals who have not commented here, very strange !

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