Golden eagles could be returned to England for the first time in 170 years under plans being considered by the Government, the Environment Secretary said on Tuesday.
Red-backed shrikes and wildcats are among the other lost species under consideration for reintroduction, while beaver colonies will be released into the wild, George Eustice said.
The reintroductions are part of the Government’s plans to restore and protect biodiversity, reduce flooding and limit carbon emissions, which include banning the sale of peat products and trebling tree planting.
“We want to see a more nature rich Britain, with further action to bend the curve of species loss in this country,” Mr Eustice said.
A new England Species Reintroduction Taskforce will examine the potential for reintroducing lost species, and will “fully take biodiversity, social and economic impacts into account”.
Golden eagles declined in England during the 19th century after persecution from farmers and gamekeepers, and have been practically extinct since 1850.
Mr Eustice said his department would work closely with Knepp Castle, the 3,500 acre estate in West Sussex, which has pioneered the concept of rewilding under the stewardship of owners Charlie Burrell and writer Isabella Tree.
Rewilding, which entails reducing human input on the land, has grown in popularity in recent years, with Boris Johnson said to be personally keen on the concept.
But it has elicited a wary response from farming groups and some landowners, who fear the reintroduction of predators such as golden eagles and lynx could threaten livestock, as well as deer and grouse.
Rewilding Britain, which supports projects across the country, said: “Bringing back native species repairs the holes in our shredded ecosystems, helps rebuild the intricate web of life with its amazing diversity, and returns some of the wonder that's now sadly missing from our natural world.”