The Eagle Owl is amongst 15 species that could be brought back to rewild Britain.

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If a new organisation called Rewilding Britain get their way this could result in a huge about turn by UK Scientists and Government agencies alike. If recommendations on the table are accepted the Eagle Owl could be one of fifteen likely species to be considered for reintroduction back into the UK as part of the rewilding of our country. If this claim turns out to be fact rather than fiction, this would represent one of the biggest about turns in wildlife conservation, by individuals and conservation groups who have always claimed the Eagle Owl was an alien species with no tangible evidence  supporting this species ever existed naturally in Britain. There are many important problems that must be resolved before an apex  predators like the Eagle Owl could be safely reintroduced back into our country. For example on moorland used to shoot red grouse, a favourite habitat for many rare and endangered birds of prey including the Eagle Owl, continue to experience unprecedented persecution of species like the Hen Harrier, and Peregrine Falcon, the Eagle Owl being no exception.

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One of 3 eagle owls nests discovered by the North West Raptor Group in the Forest of Bowland each containing a clutch of abandoned eggs

After first turning up on the Pennine Moors almost two decades ago a breeding pair of Eagle Owls disappeared  from an active and productive  nest near Catterick after one bird was shot. In 2005 the first pair of Eagle Owls attempted to breed in the Forest of Bowland. At that same time Peregrine numbers had reached one of the highest densities, eighteen pairs, ever recorded for this Lancashire moorland region. Yet by 2014 all but one pair of Bowland Eagle Owls had been consigned to history together with the single nesting pair from the RSPB’s Geltsdale Nature Reserve in the northern Pennines. Within the same time frame Peregrine  numbers in Bowland had been reduced by fifteen pairs, the result of persecution. In the last 9 months 2 Hen Harrier chicks from Bowland, together with 5 adult male Hen Harrier have each vanished, presumed shot on grouse moors in Cumbria and Lancashire.  If history tells us anything why would anyone propose the reintroduction of this magnificent raptor if they are then likely to be killed? In what suitable areas could Eagle Owls be safely reintroduced providing safe a secure refuge for their future?

DEAD EAGLE OWL

One of 3 Eagle Owl chicks all found dead in one nest in the Forest of Bowland

The Rewilding of Britain.

Read all about the these new thought provoking plans below.

A new national organisation called Rewilding Britain launches on today with the aim of reversing centuries of ecological damage by returning species and habitats to the British countryside that have been absent for decades and sometimes much longer. In the process it hopes to recharge the natural world with wonder and help people to reconnect with it.  Read the complete article here written by  George Monbiot

4 comments to The Eagle Owl is amongst 15 species that could be brought back to rewild Britain.

  • keith mills

    I know very little about most of the proposed creatures for reintroduction, but i do know a little about raptors. The goshawk is doing fine, only failing to spread due to persecution, why introduce more to be killed by keepers? lynx and wolf! do people really think they would last! i don’t. times have changed, reintroducing some of these would be a waste of good , strong , healthy individuals, they might as well ring their necks. it would be fantastic to see all these creatures in Britain but its never going to work, we cant hold on to what we already have, so why create more problems for some species? Its attitudes that need to change.

    Editor’s Comment. Keith how right you are. Just take a look what has happened to all the 18 pairs of peregrine which nested in the Forest of Bowland up until Natural England removed licenses from the North West Raptor Group in 2010. Just one pair remaining this year. Look at what is allowed to happen to our Hen Harriers in Bowland and in the northern Pennines, at least 6 nests failed and god knows how many adult harriers have gone missing just in the last two seasons, not even counting the huge number of eggs lost as a result of persecution.

  • Albert Ross

    I am not as pessimistic. My glass is always half full. Some of the named species are already here and thriving. viz White-tailed Eagle and Wild Boar, Cranes so why not Storks? ..maybe even Eagle Owl as I have never subscribed to the RSPB’s stated position that they are ALL releases and escapees. RSPB’s assertions “that Owls do not cross water” is hopelessly incorrect. How else do Snowys regularly get to Shetland and Uist? Swim?
    So why not a little help from your friends?
    Pine Martens have never died out and having seen them alive and well in Scotland I see no problems..

    Some of the subjects are a little far fetched. I am not sure how one would re-introduce species such as Grey Whale and Tunny (the English name for Blue-finned Tuna)but we can but dream.

    So come on Mr Ed and Keith. Give Ps a chance as Lennon once sung.

  • Tony Phillips

    Well said Keith Mills. This island is in no way ready for some of these reintroductions without a sea-change of attitude in this “nation of animal lovers”. Red Kites in the Black Isle anyone? However in defence of Rewilding Britain if you poke around their website a bit their remit seems to be more about education and lobbying rather than the actual reintroduction of any specific creatures. We should wish them well and support them in this challengs.

  • Andy

    Don’t see any problem with the majority of these species. Persecution is a problem but it is heavily concentrated in certain areas. With lynx you’d never even know they were there.

    Editor’s Comment. Tend to agree with you Andy. I have been visiting the Czech Republic since 1967 where there are estimated to be 3000 plus Lynx, not seen one yet