More Golden Eagles Planned for South Scotland

This is a new project to help boost numbers of Golden Eagles in the South of Scotland. Launched in August 2015, we are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for major funding to develop the work.

The 2014 report published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) found that Southern Scotland could potentially support up to 16 eagle pairs. Presently, there are no more than 2 to 4 pairs, with limited nesting success.

Following an approach by Scottish Land & 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 currently looking to involve a wide range of stakeholders, and we have launched a public consultation.

The initiative has the support of Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, who said:

“The Golden Eagle is a truly magnificent bird and is one of Scotland’s most iconic species. This project aims to boost the population of eagles in the south of Scotland and I heartily welcome the Heritage Lottery Fund support to help achieve this. We know that the area could potentially support more than a dozen pairs of eagles, which offers tremendous opportunities for wildlife tourism and biodiversity. I’m especially pleased to see such strong partnership work to hopefully make Golden Eagles a regular sight in the skies above the South of Scotland once again.”

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“A revived population of Golden Eagles offers wonderful opportunities for tourism and wider benefits for the south of Scotland. And of course, it would be thrilling to see more golden eagles in this wonderful part of Scotland.”

Mark Oddy | Chairman

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Douglas McAdam, Chief Executive of Scottish Land & Estates, welcomed the new project: “This project began as a collaboration between Scottish Land & Estates and RSPB Scotland when we agreed to work together to try and understand what as limiting the Golden Eagle in the South of Scotland. With Heritage Lottery Funding now awarded, the Development Phase of the project can progress and we look forward to working with our partners, and our member estates who will be an important factor in helping to increase the number of golden eagles in the South of Scotland.”

Duncan Orr-Ewing from RSPB Scotland said: “We’re delighted by the support for this important project from the Heritage Lottery Fund and to be working in partnership with Scottish Land & Estates, Buccleuch Estates, SNH and Forestry Commission Scotland. Golden eagles are one of Scotland’s most iconic species and it’s wonderful that this project will help reinforce their population in the south of Scotland, contributing to the delivery of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, and also meaning that more of these birds will be returning to their historical ranges in this part of the country. We look forward to progressing this project further with the partnership and seeing golden eagles thrive here in the future.”

Colin Edwards, Environment and Biodiversity Advisor with Forestry Commission Scotland added:
“The golden eagle is often viewed as a classic symbol of all things wild and natural. It is a magnificent bird with an impressive wingspan – and is quite unmistakeable. Historically, golden eagles bred throughout much of upland Britain, so we are pleased to play our part in this project and help re-establish eagles in the south of Scotland, especially if it helps bring increased tourism benefits to the local economy.”

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Roy Dennis, a World expert on raptor reintroductions and a member of the National Species Reintroduction Forum for Scotland, said “Golden Eagle recovery in Southern Scotland is an essential part of large ecosystem restoration and I congratulate the Minister on this exciting and important initiative, and wish the project all success.”

Professor Des Thompson, Principal Adviser on Science and Biodiversity with Scottish Natural Heritage, comments

“Having more golden eagles in the south of Scotland could be transformative for tourism and wildlife. This is a key Scottish Biodiversity Strategy Route Map project. The Community support for this project has been tremendous. We look forward to building on this to ensure that the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway are ‘first-best’ places to see eagles when heading north from England, and heart tugging when heading down across the border!”

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Dr Cat Barlow has been appointed as project manager to take the work forward. Project funding from Heritage Lottery Fund and LEADER Scottish Borders & D&G has been secured for a five year delivery phase.

Guided by the Scottish Code for Conservation Translocations, the team has undertaken a formal assessment of habitat and other management measures to reinforce the population and been granted a licence to undertake a translocation of Golden Eagles.

Additional information / links

For further information please contact:
Project Manager: Dr Cat Barlow
South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project
C/o Southern Upland Partnership
Studio 1 Lindean Mill
Tel: 01750 725154

Photography by Laurie Campbell:

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