Police investigate after rare eagle found dead in Dorset

Dorset Police are appealing for information after a white-tailed eagle was recovered by a multi agency operation, one of two found dead in the south of England.

Both birds were part of the reintroduction programme set up on the Isle of Wight to bring back this rare bird of prey to the South Coast.


In summer 2021, white-tailed eagles were spotted for the first time in more than 200 years in Durlston, Arne and Poole Harbour.

White-tailed eagle found dead in DorsetEagle
Dorset Police

The white-tailed eagle sadly found dead in Dorset

“Post mortem and toxicological examinations

Dorset Police reported:

“An investigation is underway to ascertain the cause of death of both birds, who are undergoing post mortem and toxicological examinations.

“These birds are extremely rare and we ask the public to be vigilant.”

Police say that the eagle was found in Dorset in late January, but haven’t revealed the exact location.

Isle of Wight reintroduction programme

The project to reintroduce white-tailed eagles to the South Coast began in 2019 and is led by Forestry England and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation.

An initial six birds were released on the Isle of Wight, followed by a further seven in 2020 and 12 in 2021.

White tailed eagle at rspb arne
Library image / Terry Smith

This white-tailed eagle was spotted in Arne by RSPB volunteer, Terry Smith

Satellite tracker

The birds are all fitted with a satellite tracker, allowing the team to monitor their flight paths and track their progress. Three other eagles, from the group released on the Isle of Wight, are known to be currently in Dorset.

White-tailed eagles are Britain’s largest birds of prey with a wingspan of up to 2.5 metres and were once widespread across England.

Contact Dorset Police

Dorset Police are asking for anyone with information relating to the death of these birds to report it to Dorset Police at 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk, quoting occurrence 55220015571 with their contact details.

Alternatively, to report the information anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org.

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