Eagle being released into the wild

Release of 16 white-tipped sea eagles collected in Norway

The white-tailed eagle was once a striking sight in the Irish landscape, but the species became extinct at the start of the 20th century. Now Norway, led by the Norwegian Institute for Natural Research (NINA) and many volunteers, is helping to re-establish the iconic eagle population in Ireland.

The 2022 phase of this landmark collaboration, to restore a native bird to Irish skies, sees the release of sixteen young eagles at three sites across Munster, including Killarney National Park, Lough Derg and the lower Shannon estuary. These white-tailed Eagle chicks arrived in Kerry Airport on Friday July 1st this year, as part of a long-term wildlife reintroduction project. 150 eagles collected in Norway have been released in Ireland since 2007.

Taoseach has followed the project for years

Taoiseach (Prime Minister of Ireland) Micheál Martin oversaw the release of the first group of the 16 eagles in Shannon last week stating that he has followed the project for years. “The project, of course, underlines in practical terms Ireland’s commitment to implementing the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. I am particularly grateful to the Norwegian authorities and colleagues for their collaboration which has enabled this exciting reintroduction to happen.”, he said.

The last four eagle chicks released in Killarney National Park this week

Minister Malcom Noonan and the Norwegian Ambassador Mari Skåre oversaw the release of the last four earlier this week. 'This reintroduction project is delivering real impact for the species. I was privileged to release these stunning creatures last year in Kerry and I am honoured to be here again today to observe this once-extinct species in its natural habitat.' said the Minister. 

‘The friendship between the people of Norway and the people of Ireland runs deep. The eagles we see fly free and strong in their natural habitat here today are spreading their wings as a result of the voluntary work of so many. Biodiversity is essential for all life on Earth. Yet we are seeing an extremely rapid loss of species world-wide. Through joint efforts we can halt this decline.”, said Mari Skåre.

Once in Ireland, the eagles are equipped with GPS collars so that the project can follow their development and establishment in the wild and in the Irish population. Satellite data shows that the eaglets are criss-crossing Ireland, establishing territories and having young.