Tuesday May 25, 2010

First Red Kite Chicks In Ireland For 200 Years

The new chicks are the first Red Kite chicks born in Ireland in 200 years (Hans Hillewaert)

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley T.D. visited the Red Kite Project last Friday to view further progress on the reintroduction of the Red Kite in Ireland.

Red Kites have been extinct in Ireland for over 200 years until 2007 when the project commenced.

The Minister's visit took place during National Biodiveristy Week which begins on Friday and coincides with United Nations International Day for Biodiversity on May 22.

"2010 Is the year of International Biodiversity and the Red Kite Project is an excellent example of an Irish biodiversity project. We re-introduced the Kites to Wicklow in 2007 after an absence of 200 years and today I am delighted to highlight another milestone in this project," said Minister Gormley.

The Red Kite project is now a step closer to its goal of establishing a self sustaining Kite population in Wicklow with the discovery of chicks in a number of nests this year. 2009 saw the first breeding with eggs being laid in two nests, unfortunately neither nest produced any young.

"This season, 2010, nine breeding attempts have been discovered, currently six of these nests still have females incubating eggs, three having failed. Chicks have been confirmed in two of the nests so far, three chicks were seen in one nest and two in another," added Minister Gormley.

Golden Eagle Trust Red Kite project manager Damian Clarke said "The discovery of the first Red Kite chicks in over two hundred years was a significant milestone for Irish biodiversity.

"To see chicks in a typical Wicklow landscape reaffirms my belief that these birds will thrive here once given the chance.

"It is my hope that the Red Kite will, with time, once again be a common sight throughout Ireland. These Irish bred chicks are the first sign of that becoming a reality."

"This is a flagship project which is of huge biodiversity and tourist value to Ireland," the Minister continued. "To be here today as National Biodiveristy Week  commences is a double bonus as I get to witness the progress on the Kites project and at the same time highlight some of the activities we have organised to celebrate this very important week.

"In Ireland we have organised a week long series of celebrations around International Biodiversity Day. This provides a unique opportunity to raise public awareness on the importance of biodiversity.

"I would appeal to the public to check out for a list of local events and to participate in some way. Even checking out the website will help to raise awareness of this important matter," he concluded.

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