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Iconic White-tailed Eagles arrive in Munster 

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23 iconic White-tailed Eagles arrived in Kerry Airport on Friday as part of a long-term wildlife reintroduction project that is being led by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

A QUICK PEEK: Eamonn Meskall Regional Manager National Parks and Wildlife Service showing Peter Jones a quick peak of a White-tailed Eagle chick that arrived in Kerry Airport on Friday. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

PRECIOUS CARGO: Members of the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Dept of Agriculture checking the 23 White-tailed Eagle chicks that arrived in Kerry Airport on Friday. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

The Eagle chicks were collected this month from nests in west-central Norway and transported by plane to Kerry, and will be reintroduced to the wild after six to eight weeks in purpose built flight cages where they will be cared for and monitored by NPWS staff, before being released at four Munster sites in August.

This significant biodiversity initiative is part of a long-term scientific collaboration to restore a native and once-extinct bird to Irish skies and will see the release this year of the young eagles at four sites across Munster, including Killarney National Park, along the River Shannon, the lower Shannon estuary, and a site in Waterford.

As they mature, these chicks will join and strengthen the small Irish breeding population that has become established since the reintroduction programme began in 2007.

EXCITING

“This is an incredibly exciting and technically complex project whose success depends on the collaboration of many groups, including our NPWS teams, local farmers, conservationists and communities, the Norwegian Authorities and many other partners in Norway," Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, said.

"Their collective efforts over many years have brought us to this point. I’d like to pay tribute to all involved and acknowledge their commitment to making this project a success, now and in the years to come. White-tailed eagles are magnificent birds and, as top predators, they also play a key role in the functioning of ecosystems. Having been driven to extinction in the 19th Century as a result of human actions, this reintroduction project is delivering real impact for the species. Despite the many challenges that remain, 2021 will mark the rare success of three Irish-born chicks fledge from a single nest on Lough Derg. I was privileged to release six of these stunning creatures last year in Kerry and I can honestly say that watching them soar through the skies on their first Irish flight is a memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I’d like everyone in Ireland to have the opportunity to observe this once-extinct species in its natural habitat.”

SUCCESS

Last year 10 eagles were released along the River Shannon. Nine survived their first year, and currently they are dispersed at a number of locations in Ireland, and one is in Scotland. Previously, one hundred young White-tailed Eagles were released in Killarney National Park between 2007 and 2011. Birds from these releases subsequently dispersed widely throughout Ireland with first breeding in 2012 on Lough Derg, Co. Clare.

Since then a small breeding population of eight to 10 pairs have successfully fledged over 30 chicks, with an additional five chicks likely to fledge into the wild in Munster in the next few weeks. Indeed, this year one nesting pair on Lough Derg has produced three chicks, which are due to fledge shortly. This is uncommon, even in the very extensive wild populations in Norway.

VULNERABLE

Some Irish-bred eagles are now reaching maturity and starting to breed in the wild themselves. However, a scientific review of the reintroduction project indicated the small population is still vulnerable to mortality factors such as illegal poisoning. The breeding population was also negatively impacted by Avian Influenza in 2018 and storm Hannah in 2019, and indeed, adverse weather this year when pairs were on the nest. Thus, this supplementary release is required to bolster the existing population.

Young eagles have been collected under licence in June 2021 by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) and co-workers. The birds will be tagged, including with satellite tags, before release to allow the project to monitor their progress and their integration into the existing Irish breeding population.

 

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How to boost your immune system with nutrition

By Tara Tangney from Activate Fitness The immune system is precisely that — a system. To function well, it requires stability. While there is no magic bullet for increasing immunity, […]

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By Tara Tangney from Activate Fitness

The immune system is precisely that — a system. To function well, it requires stability.

While there is no magic bullet for increasing immunity, there are ways to keep your immune system strong so that you are better prepared to fight off infections and heal quickly.

As long as your immune system is running smoothly, you don’t notice that it’s there, but if it stops working properly – because it’s weak or can’t fight particularly aggressive germs – you get ill.

Without an immune system, we would have no way to fight harmful things that enter our body from the outside or harmful changes that occur inside our body. Here are five ways to ensure you support a good immune system coming into the wintery months:

1. Eat More Vegetables

While all vegetables have health benefits, some pack a more powerful immune-boosting punch than others. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, and other cruciferous vegetables are rich in fibre, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and tomatoes are rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), which helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections.

2. Eat Balanced Meals

Include all macronutrients in your meals. Protein is particularly important for healing and recovery. Protein sources include leaner sources of meat, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, milk, beans, soy, nuts and seeds. These foods are also good sources of zinc, a mineral that promotes healthy immune function and aids in wound healing. Healthy fats are also essential to support our immune health. Try to include a variety of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your daily diet. These are found in avocados, fatty fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. These foods provide good fats but are also rich in phytonutrients and fat-soluble vitamins. For example, a small handful of nuts such as almonds is a great source of vitamin E. Wild-caught salmon is one of the only foods naturally rich in vitamin D. Fatty fish are also rich in essential fats called omega-3s, which are known for their multiple health benefits.

3. Regular Exercise

Exercise is one of the main aspects that support a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise promotes cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and offers protection against a variety of diseases. And just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to a healthy immune system, improves blood circulation allowing immune system cells to move through the body more freely and do their job more effectively.

4. Good Quality Sleep

Getting enough sleep has many health benefits. The lack of sleep puts your body into ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing adrenaline and increased stress hormones into the body. Research shows that in general, adults need at least seven hours of sleep for optimal health and well-being. As we sleep our immune system works to heal and repair the body. A few tips for getting a good night’s sleep include avoiding caffeine in the evenings, turning off your screens (TV, laptop, phones, etc.) well before bedtime and sleeping in a cool, dark room.

5. Manage Your Stress

You may not often think about how stress affects your ability to fight off infection, but your state of mind can have a significant impact on your health. When you are experiencing more stress, your immunity is compromised, which puts you at a higher risk of getting sick. Managing stress may help you fight germs and infections. Stress management techniques include breath work, meditation, yoga, moderate exercise, walking etc. Having a support system of close friends and family can also help us feel connected and stay strong throughout stressful times.

Although there is no magical potion for immunity, you can take these five steps to boost your immune system which is very important as we enter the colder and darker mornings of winter. Don’t underestimate your lifestyle’s impact on your ability to help keep your immune system strong. Good nutrition, quality sleep, and managing stress can all have a significant impact on your health. If you need help with your nutrition, send us an email at nutrition@activate.ie and we will be happy to help you!

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Ireland’s newest and toughest cycle will be a thrilling challenge

Ireland’s newest cycling event comes to Kenmare this month with an exciting and challenging course for the experienced cyclist. Already attracting attention within cycling communities around the country, Velo Kenmare […]

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Ireland’s newest cycling event comes to Kenmare this month with an exciting and challenging course for the experienced cyclist.

Already attracting attention within cycling communities around the country, Velo Kenmare will tackle some of Kerry’s toughest climbs and highest mountain passes.

Taking place on October 22, Velo Kenmare is an 135km timed loop route starting and finishing in Kenmare. The total climbing distance is 1,650m, and organisers hope to appeal to serious cyclists who are looking for a new and thrilling challenge.

No stranger to cycling events, Velo Kenmare is being managed by Elite Events Management, who also successfully deliver iconic cycling events Wicklow 200, Ride Dingle and the Ring of Beara Cycle.
Cyclists are encouraged to register for Velo Kenmare on the Velo Cycle Ireland website www.velocycleireland.ie but places are limited for the enjoyment and safety of all participants, and anyone interested is urged to sign up soon as places are filling up.

TOUGH CLIMBS

​​​​The tough enough mountain climbs are over Molls Gap, Ballaghbeama Pass, Ballaghasheen and Coomakista. The route will take in breathtaking scenery Kenmare is famous for, and incorporating some of the most stunning parts of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ring of Kerry. It is hoped visitors to the cycle event will be encouraged to stay for a few days, and will all be given €20 vouchers or ‘Velo Dollars’ to spend in local shops which will be redeemable against goods and services in Kenmare.

Riders will be allotted a time slot to allow for a staggered start, taking them along a fully marshalled route, with medical cover, bike mechanic support, and hot food and entertainment at the finish in Kenmare.

Making its mark, Velo Kenmare participant race packs will come inside a yellow Velo Kenmare water bottle and finishers’ medals are in the shape of a yellow cow bell. Prizes will be awarded for the quickest top three male and top three female finishers, and fastest male and female will be awarded the title of King and Queen of the Kerry Mountains.

Experienced cyclists are encouraged to take on this exciting new challenge, testing themselves and their clubmates for the fastest finish across these four gruelling climbs, through some of the most beautiful landscape in the country for the best welcome back at the finish.

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