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The Eagle Reintroduction Wales (ERW) project: An assessment to restore our native-lost eagles

Lane, Sophie-Lee 2021. The Eagle Reintroduction Wales (ERW) project: An assessment to restore our native-lost eagles. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

The Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) were once widespread across historic Britain, before declining at the hands of human persecution during the 18th and 19th Centuries. With both eagle species now breeding in limited parts of Northern Britain, both eagles are currently extinct from many parts of their historic range, including England and Wales. This thesis examines the feasibility of restoring either/or both native species of eagles to Wales, by addressing the standard reintroduction criteria set out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; Chapter One). Little scientific research has previously been conducted on this notion, however, this thesis provides evidence that both species were historically widespread across Wales prior to the 18th Century, and the extinctions of both species were attributed solely to persecution by humans (Chapter Two). With knowledge that the Welsh landscape has been devoid of eagles for over 150 years, breeding ranges of ecologically similar birds of prey were mapped to examine their habitat assocations and avoidance of modern-day anthropogenic factos, providing proxy environmental indicators of how reintroduced eagles would potentially use the Welsh landscape (Chapter Three). Species Distribution Models (SDMs) were then created to examine the distribution of suitable habitats that meet the breeding requirements of both species across Britian, including Welsh local maps(Chapter Four). By understanding the distribution of breeding eagle habitats in Wales, spatial analysis and mapping of anthropogenic land uses was overlaid with breeding habitats, to reveal Wales’ modern-day availability to sustain populations of both the Golden and White-tailed Eagle (Chapter Five). This thesis provides the most in-depth assessments to date, of the feasibility of restoring either/or both eagle species to Wales. The biological, ecological and environmental evidence gathered in this thesis, provides the fundamental information needed to initiate restoration programmes (Chapter Six), and further discuss the additional regional assessments that need to be carried out to complete the license application to reintroduce eagles to Wales.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Funders: KESS
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 31 January 2022
Date of Acceptance: 31 January 2022
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2022 11:58
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/147082

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