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No action for now on eagle owls

Last modified: 19 November 2010

European eagle owl

There is no clear evidence of a wild eagle arriving on the UK's shores.

The RSPB has welcomed today’s decision from Richard Benyon, the Natural Environment Minister, on non-native eagle owls in the UK.

Dr Mark Avery is the Society’s Conservation Director. Commenting on today’s announcement, he said: “Currently, there is limited evidence to show that eagle owls are posing a threat to native wildlife, but the situation could change in the light of new evidence. We therefore welcome the Minister’s decision today not to take any action now, but to continue to monitor the situation and reconsider if the circumstances change.”

Widely kept in captivity

Eagle owls are Europe’s largest owl. This bird is widely kept in captivity, which is believed to be the origin of those birds at large in Britain.

Dr Mark Avery added: “There is no clear evidence of a wild eagle owl arriving on our shores, whereas there is a lot of evidence of captive birds escaping into the wild. We believe it would be advisable for the government to consider ways of preventing further captive birds from joining the wild population.”

He concluded “One of the birds at potential risk from eagle owls is the hen harrier. The best way to safeguard the future of the hen harrier in England is to reduce the level of illegal human persecution of this bird.’’

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