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Wild Isles golden eagles scenes filmed on private sporting estate, but the RSPB won't tell you that

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

When it became known that the RSPB had financed David Attenborough's latest wildlife programme, Wild Isles, there was widespread condemnation amongst rural communities that the charity would try to use the platform to further their campaign of hostility against them.

The decision to take the charities’ money prompted “much internal agonising” at the BBC, according to Radio Times, over the question of whether the corporation should be “taking money from groups with any kind of campaigning agenda, particularly on a series with the environment at its heart”.

As part of the financing deal the BBC will also air a companion documentary commissioned by the charities themselves. Saving Our Wild Isles, also narrated by Sir David, is “inspired by the series” and will be shown on iPlayer.

The RSPB continue to claim gamekeepers are responsible for much of the bird of prey persecution that takes place in this country, rather than acknowledge the great service that moorland managers and gamekeepers do to protect some of our most endangered species in the UK.

Indeed the RSPB's own record of conserving wildlife is, despite the millions at their disposal, often abysmal, as the example of Lake Vyrnwy shows us.

Therefore it was instructive and revealing that the magnificent scenes of young golden eagles learning to fly in Wild Isles in a rare landscape of transcending beauty were not filmed on, or anywhere near, a RSPB reserve.

No, in order for the BBC's team to find such a spectacle they had to go to a privately owned sporting estate where the land is managed by gamekeepers.

Now of course this was not mentioned by the RSPB or the BBC at the time of screening, probably to spare their embarrassment at the viewing public realising what everyone living in the uplands already knows. The only way our rarest wildlife is going to survive is through encouraging and supporting moorland managers and gamekeepers.


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