The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) plans to reintroduce between 50 and 70 osprey chicks in Ireland this year under a new osprey reintroduction programme.
The NPWS has been looking at the potential to reintroduce the bird to Ireland and, over the past two years, this has involved research and consultation with ornithological, historical, Irish language, archives and other sources.
Birds will be sourced from Norway for the programme.
“The osprey programme is at a very advanced stage of design and finalisation,” a spokesperson for the NPWS told the Irish Farmers Journal.
“The intention is to bring 50 to 70 osprey chicks into Ireland over a five-year period. The project focus will be primarily the southeast of Ireland, at least initially. Birds will be sourced from Norway.”
In particular, this osprey reintroduction programme is informed by experts and expertise from various other osprey reintroduction programmes in Europe, and by the very considerable expertise and experience of NPWS staff, particularly those involved with the white-tailed eagle reintroduction programme into Ireland, the spokesperson added.
The NPWS, Minister of State for heritage Malcolm Noonan and Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said they were especially grateful to colleagues, to authorities in Norway and to local landowners here.
“Without their support and concrete help, this flagship project would not be possible.
“While this osprey reintroduction programme obviously involves a wild animal and is therefore subject to biological, environmental and other natural factors, the NPWS believes it has a very strong chance of success.
“In the interests of the success of this project and to protect the bird’s security and welfare, as well as to respect landowners who are enabling this programme to be undertaken, operational details of this programme need to be confidential,” he said.
Reintroducing this iconic species will contribute to restoring biodiversity in Ireland, will support Ireland’s commitment to the UN CBD, will reestablish a key species, will promote conservation awareness, will certainly command not only conservation but general public and political support to the highest level in Ireland and will likely contribute economic benefits to local communities, the NPWS said.
The osprey is a large bird of prey and was once native to Ireland. The bird became extinct in the late 18th century.