WOW Day 5: Wider Reintroduction Projects in the UK

WOW Day 5: Wider Reintroduction Projects in the UK

(c) Steve Waddingham

Today is the final day of World Osprey Week and is all about other reintroduction projects in the UK.

Ospreys aren't the only species that people have helped reintroduce to the UK, as like the Osprey, many other birds and animals have become or close to extinction in the UK and have needed a helping hand to bring them back from the brink. But as with anything, there are benefits and risks involved. Some of the benefits to reintroducing a species is that it reverses a loss in biodiversity and can therefore fix and help re-balance an ecosystem, since this animal or bird was once found in the UK. On the other hand, those species that remained in their ecosystem after this particular species became locally extinct, would have made changes and adapted to live without them, so reintroducing a species may in fact upset the current food chain. As a result, any reintroduction projects have to have gone through an intense process to ensure the safety of the animals being released, as well as making sure any risks are minimised before any species can be released. This involves a huge amount of research which is completed by experts in the field.

Now you have learned all about the Rutland Osprey translocation project, another species that has more recently been reintroduced is the White Tailed Eagle. White Tailed Eagles are impressive birds and are the largest bird of prey we have in the UK, having a wingspan of up to 2.5m! You might hear them being referred to as barn doors due to their size. White Tailed Eagles have a very varied diet, which also includes fish, just like the Osprey, and have very strong, sharp talons and a huge beak. In 2019, a very exciting project began on the Isle of Wight, which was led by the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation in partnership with Forestry England that aimed to reintroduce a population of White Tailed Eagles to the Isle of Wight. In the summer of 2019, the first six juveniles were released and this marked the start of a five year reintroduction project that will see a maximum of 60 White Tailed Eagles released. Juvenile White Tailed Eagles, spend their first couple of years exploring and they can cover vast distances. We have even had a couple of the Isle of Wight, White Tailed Eagles over Rutland Water!

Another animal that has been reintroduced in several places in England is the Eurasian Beaver, which are known as a keystone species, as they are ecosystem engineers! After an initial trial in Scotland, where 31 Beavers were released, Beavers were granted legal protection and subsequent reintroduction projects started up in England.

Today is the last day of this year’s World Osprey Week and we hope that you have enjoyed learning about the Rutland Osprey Project, and we thank you for taking part!