By Bernie Bell
I thought/hoped that that might get your attention. Orkney is proud to be host to Sea Eagles again after all these years, and much care is taken to protect the birds which are becoming regular visitors to the island of Hoy……
I was appalled to read of the intentional killing of Sea Eagles in Dorset, and pleased to see that Wild Justice are taking action about it.
My view of the views of the local MP are probably not printable in TON, but maybe some MP’s will be more responsive to nurturing wildlife. Wild Justice ask folk to contact their MP requesting that they speak out for the Eagles, and wildlife in general.
With their permission, I’ll present their appeal…
Last week, following the news that two White-tailed Eagles from the Isle of Wight reintroduction project had been found dead, and an appeal from Dorset Police for information, Chris Loder MP took to Twitter to declare that ‘Dorset is not the place for eagles to be reintroduced’. He also stated that he’d prefer Dorset Police to focus on issues other than potential wildlife crime. Following widespread public criticism, Mr Loder doubled-down on his viewpoint, going on to accuse eagles of ‘killing our lambs and plaguing our farmers’.
Mr Loder is entitled to have whatever views he wants on the matter of White-tailed Eagles (although his statements included inaccuracies which should have been checked) but his remarks exemplify the intolerance which is shown all too often to wildlife in our country. Whenever conservationists seek to restore lost wildlife there seems to be an uproar, whether it be White-tailed Eagles, Pine Martens, Beavers or even restoring woodlands or wetlands. Mr Loder is not alone in his views and, in a strange way, he has done us all a favour by voicing them so publicly.
Those who oppose wildlife restoration seem to us to be a very vocal minority, but they will appear like a potent force unless the rest of us speak out. So please will you write today to your elected representative (Member of Parliament, Member of the Scottish Parliament, Member of the Senedd or Member of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly) to speak up for White-tailed Eagles, birds of prey, and threatened wildlife in general?
Here is a draft letter, but the more you use your own words the better – this is just to show how easy it is. It is good to end with a clear question asking for their views, and you should make sure you give your name and address to show that you are a constituent, please.
TEXT TO CONSIDER SENDING TO YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE:
I am writing to you as a constituent, to ask for your opinion on a wildlife issue that is very important to me. I was saddened to hear the recent news that two White-tailed Eagles have been found dead in Southern England, but I was dismayed to read Chris Loder MP’s view that ‘Dorset is not the place for eagles to be reintroduced’ and that eagles are ‘killing our lambs and plaguing our farmers’.
White-tailed Eagles are a native UK species; they belong here. Dedicated conservation organisations, such as the Roy Dennis Foundation, have worked hard to reintroduce this remarkable bird, which was previously driven to extinction in the UK through a range of factors but mainly the type of human persecution that is now, rightly, illegal.
White-tailed Eagles have been successfully reintroduced to Scotland, thanks to a lengthy and expensive, but very successful, project by many individual conservationists and conservation organisations. Since the recent releases on the Isle of Wight, members of the public have been thrilled to spot White-tailed Eagles soaring in skies across the UK; from Scotland to the Midlands, and even over Westminster. On Mull the reintroduced White-tailed Eagles draw people to the island to see the birds, enjoy the scenery and spend their tourist money in the local community. Whichever way you look at it, they are an asset.
Birds of prey, including eagles, have suffered centuries of persecution in the UK. It’s disheartening to see outdated, anti-bird-of-prey sentiments being expressed by elected political representatives. Raptor persecution is still a problem today, despite it being a wildlife crime, and perpetuating these antiquated opinions is not what we need in the midst of today’s biodiversity crisis.
I hope to see the UK become a place that White-tailed Eagles, and indeed all native birds of prey, are both welcome and able to thrive in a healthy natural environment, free from persecution.
Can I ask if you would welcome White-tailed Eagles and other birds of prey in your constituency?
Provide name (including surname) and address (to show that you really are a constituent and therefore deserve a proper response)
We’d be interested to see replies that you might receive.
There’s another quick and easy way you can voice your views. Yesterday evening we launched a simple poll on Twitter asking whether you welcome White-tailed Eagles or not – over 800 responses were received yesterday with overwhelming support for eagles – please add your voice in their favour here – the more the better. Thank you!
Wild Justice (Directors: Mark Avery, Chris Packham and Ruth Tingay).
Image: By Christoph Müller (http://www.christophmueller.org) – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=68003968