Eagle chicks to be relocated

Golden Eagles could be translocated to south Scotland.
Golden Eagles could be translocated to south Scotland.
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The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project has confirmed that discussions have started on plans to relocate golden eagle chicks in Scotland.

The proposal being looked at as part of the project would see it transfer the birds from the Highlands next year.

A recent survey carried out by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) reavealed that there are over 500 pairs of eagles in the country, a 15% rise since 2003.

However, it is believed that no more than four of these pairs reside in the south of Scotland.

A Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) spokesman said: “Plans to translocate golden eagles from the north of the country are currently being discussed as part of the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project, but as yet nothing has been confirmed.

“Timings will depend on grant funding and a translocation licence application.

“Chicks will be identified from eyries which contain two chicks in late spring, they will be collected between five and eight weeks of age.

“At this stage the eaglets will be partially feathered, they can thermo-regulate and can feed themselves.”

Scotland is now thought to be home to the UK’s entire population of golden eagles.

The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project was launched in August 2015 to help boost numbers of Golden Eagles in the southern regions of Scotland and since then the project has secured more than £1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and has Scottish government backing.

A 2014 report published by SNH found that southern Scotland could potentially support up to 16 eagle pairs. Presently, there are no more than two to four pairs, with limited nesting success.

Following an approach by Scottish Land and Estates, RSPB Scotland and Buccleuch Estates to the Scottish Government, a partnership has been formed with SNH and Forestry Commission Scotland to take the work forward. The partnership is looking to involve a wide range of stakeholders and has launched a public consultation.