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47 golden eagles now in region

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By Fiona Reid
Farming
47 golden eagles now in region

A RECORD number of golden eagles are now soaring in southern Scottish skies, it was revealed this week

The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project say there are currently about 47 of the birds connected to the area – the highest number recorded locally for the last three centuries.

It follows a series of groundbreaking translocations of ‘free-flying young golden eagles’, aged between six months and three years, over the winter months.

Project manager Dr Cat Barlow said: “This novel-approach has provided a significant boost in our efforts to ensure golden eagles truly flourish in southern skies and is proving to be a groundbreaking technique for global raptor conservation management.

“This achievement was only possible thanks to the support of National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, our project staff and partners, NatureScot licensing team, raptor specialists, Advisory Panel members, estates, gamekeepers, CalMac Ferries, and of course the community in the south of Scotland. We’re incredibly grateful to them all.”

Francesca Osowska, from NatureScot, added: “The success of the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project is an inspiration, boosting the number of eagles in the region enormously over the last six years.

“We’re passionate about returning golden eagles to the places where they used to thrive. With wildlife declining across the globe, this project is a vital part of the wide-ranging work taking place in Scotland to protect and restore wildlife, reverse biodiversity loss and combat the climate emergency.”

The good news came as the full programme for this year’s Moffat Eagle Festival in September was unveiled.

The keynote speaker will be wildlife cameraman and presenter Hamza Yassin, who also won Strictly Come Dancing 2022. He said: “Golden eagles are my absolutely favourite bird of prey, so it is a real privilege to headline the prestigious Moffat Eagle Festival and to support the fantastic work of the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project.

“It’s truly wonderful to hear there are new record numbers of golden eagles soaring in southern Scottish skies thanks to the project. My hope is that soon these majestic birds will be seen right across the UK.”

Other highlights will include a chance to meet a real eagle, an eagle ride out on motorbike, a book event, an Eagle Hill Fell Run and talks by wildlife author Jim Crumley and Peter Cairns from Scotland: The Big Picture.

  • Pic by Phil Wilkinson

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