RSPB Scotland has welcomed the publication of a report by Scottish Natural Heritage exposing the absence of protected golden eagles from large tracts of suitable habitat in southern Scotland.
The findings are the culmination of more than two years work by independent eagle experts, prompted by the consistent ministerial interest in the species’ plight south of the central belt that has followed the poisoning of one of the area’s few breeding eagles near Peebles in 2007.
Duncan Orr-Ewing, RSPB Scotland Head of Species and Land Management, said: “We commend the publication of this report, which for the first time clearly shows the desperately low level of occupation by golden eagles of eminently suitable habitat across the southern uplands of Scotland.
“These magnificent birds should be given every opportunity to recover and reoccupy lost range, and must be protected in practice from the effects of human persecution, which remains a significant threat to this species, and in particular to this perilously small and isolated population.
“We need to see more work now to create conditions for re-colonisation by golden eagles, including a reduction in illegal killing, targeted habitat improvements to benefit existing pairs and sites with high potential for occupation, as well as a thorough appraisal of the feasibility of translocation as a tool to speed recovery.”
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