The majestic white-tailed eagle is set to return to habitat on the Isle of Wight for the first time in 240 years. The government’s wildlife authority agency, Natural England has granted the license to The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and Forestry England signalling the beginning of a five-year reintroduction programme.
White-tailed eagles were once widespread across Southern Britain, until the eighteenth century when human activity lead to them being wiped out. Here on the Island, the last known breeding place was Culver Cliff, way back in 1780. The young birds will be released on the Island once they are familiar with their new home and initially will be fed to encourage them to settle along the South Coast. It will take several years for the breeding process to be established and is not expected to begin until around 2024 and the birds will be closely monitored with satellite tracking devices.
The Isle of Wight was chosen as a location for the project given its central position on the South Coast. The Isle of Wight offers an ideal habitat for the birds, with numerous potential nesting sites in the woods and cliffs, plus being located close to suitable foraging areas for fish and other food in the Solent and the surrounding area.