Reintroducing White-tailed Sea Eagles to Ireland: resolving human-predator conflicts

Date and Time: 
Friday, 18 March, 2016 - 14:00
, Allan - Golden Eagle Trust

Today we are in the midst of a global extinction crisis. About 12% of the world’s bird species are threatened with extinction. Historically large terrestrial and avian carnivores have been driven to near extinction because of conflicts with human interests. Reintroduction, restoration and rewilding are tools for species, population and ecosystem recovery. White-tailed Sea Eagles Haliaeetus albicilla were one of two eagle species indigenous to Ireland that disappeared as a result of human persecution in the early 20th century. A reintroduction program, using young eagles from Norway, has been ongoing since 2007 with birds now breeding in the wild. However human-eagle conflict still persists. Regarded with reverence in ancient Irish folklore, the connection between man and eagle broke down, perhaps paralleled by the disintegration of Gaelic culture. Restoring this disconnect is critical to the success of reintroduction projects. Lessons from Norway show that such conflicts can be resolved.