Fota Wildlife Park are delighted to announce the hatching of a very endangered White-Tailed Sea Eagle chick which hatched at the park on Saturday evening.
The new white-tailed sea eagle chick which has yet to be named was born on Saturday to mother Maeve who incubated the egg for the last 5 weeks and now will help feed the chick with dad Conor. Speaking about the arrival Park Director Sean Mckeown said "the arrival of the eagle chick is great news here for the staff of the park who have a fondess for the White Tailed Sea Eagles's Conor and Maeve, it is very hard to breed this particular eagle and therefore we will be monitoring the progress of the chick around the clock for the next few weeks."
As part of the monitoring Fota Wildlife Park have installed a webcam to monitor the chick and hope to have a live feed to the public via their website in the coming days. Head of Marketing for the park Stephen Ryan believes the webcam could be very popular, "we are very excited at the prospect of showing this eagle chick to the world as it is conservation in action and I'm sure that it will get thousands of hits as soon as we go live as there is a huge appetite for this both here in Ireland and throughout the world".
The White-tailed sea eagle is the largest eagle in Europe and is also a very endangered species, this is especially the case in Ireland where they became extinct in the early 1900s following the advent of gamekeepers and game production on estates aswell as the introduction of strychnine as a poison. A reintroduction programme in Killarney for the White-tailed sea eagle is currently being undertaken by the Golden Eagle Trust and the National Parks & Wildlife Service and the park looks forward to future cooperation with this project in the areas of conservation and education.
The birth of the White Tailed Sea Eagle also came at a time of change for the eagles at the park as there home has been completely rennovated to let them fly above their fellow native animal the Harobour Seal. Mr Mckeown believes the new area will give people a fantastic view of some of Ireland's greatest wildlife, he added "you can now see an eagle with a wingspan of 2.5m fly over your head which is something we are very excited about and delighted that we can now showcase a fantastic enclosure to encorporate the two native species at the park".
The new enclosure joins the seal area with the eagle area via a fenced tunnel above the existing pathway and thus gives the public the unique opportunity to now see the white tailed sea eagle fly overhead. The opening of this enclosure to the public comes a week after President of Ireland Mary McAleese open the new €4m entrance complex at the park.
The Park is also hosting an array of activities this Easter Weekend including a Nestle Chocolate hunt, live music, magic shows and kids activites. To find out more details on the weekend activities at the park and how you can see the new white tailed sea eagle online visit thier website www.fotawildlife.ie or follow them on www.facebook.com/fotawildlife