Thank you for contacting me about white-tailed eagles.
I would like to assure you that I believe that white-tailed eagles belong in the UK.
I am aware that around 25 white-tailed eagles have been released in the area since 2019. Like you, I was very concerned to hear that two of these eagles have recently been found dead. I welcome that police are investigating these deaths, with post-mortem and toxicological examinations taking place.
To support the reintroduction of the species, I know that Natural England issued a licence for a ten-year project to release the species at a site in Norfolk. As a result of decades of conservation work, including reintroductions and increased protections, the white-tailed eagle has been helped off the UK Red List for birds.
Further, the Government takes all wildlife crime seriously and significant sanctions are available to judges to hand down to those convicted of wildlife crimes, with most wildlife crimes carrying up to an unlimited fine and/or a six-month custodial sentence. To address concerns about the illegal killing of birds of prey, senior Government and enforcement officers have identified raptor persecution as a national wildlife crime priority. Defra sits on the police-led Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group, which takes forward activities to raise awareness and facilitate intelligence and incident reporting, leading to increased prevention and enforcement activity.
Finally, as part of the Government’s commitment to leave the environment in a better state than we found it, the Environment Act will set a new legally binding target to halt the decline of species abundance by 2030. I hope that through continued collaborative working, we will see the recovery of many native species, including the white-tailed eagle.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking