DUBLIN An eagle that disappeared from Ireland
more than 100 years ago took flight again on Thursday as part
of a scheme to reintroduce native birds of prey to the country.
Ireland's Environment Minister released six young
White-tailed Eagles, one of the world's largest birds of prey,
into a national park in the southwestern county of Kerry.
"These eagles had pride of place in the cultural and
natural heritage of Ireland for hundreds of years but due to
trapping and shooting in the 19th and early 20th centuries they
became extinct," Minister John Gormley said.
The eagle chicks came from Norway and were flown into Kerry
in June. Some 15 chicks will be brought into the region
annually over the next five years as part of the
Organizers hope the project will replicate the success of a
similar scheme to reintroduce Golden Eagles, driven out of
Ireland by zealous gamekeepers and eager collectors in the
Adult Golden Eagles were brought to Donegal in northwestern
Ireland in 2001 and a Golden Eagle chick was born to one of the
reintroduced pairs in April this year -- the first to be born
on Ireland's shores for nearly a century.
Kerry's rugged Atlantic coastline is an ideal habitat for
the White-tailed Eagle, which likes to feed on the carcasses of
dead seals and porpoises.
The bird has a wing span of up to 2.5 meters (8 feet) and
in neighboring Britain is confined mainly to the northwestern
tip of Scotland.