Species Champions: Golden eagle

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The Golden Eagle is a magnificent bird of prey regarded by many as Scotland’s national bird.  The most recent national golden eagle survey (2015) put the UK population at 508 pairs – all in Scotland. This was a rise of 15% from the previous (2003) survey and indicates ongoing recovery of a population affected by widespread persecution since the mid-19th century.
However, the species continues to fare poorly in certain areas: a Government commissioned report in 2017 found that of 131 young golden eagles fitted with satellite-tags, a third disappeared in suspicious circumstances significantly connected with contemporary records of illegal persecution – mostly on managed grouse moors in the central and eastern highlands.

Action Needed

1. Support of strong measures to tackle wildlife crime, especially on grouse moors.
2. The introduction of an effective licensing system for driven grouse shooting, with sanctions including the removal of such licences where illegal practices are confirmed.
3. Support the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project which aims to boost numbers of Golden Eagles in this region.

Threats

Illegal persecution, especially in areas managed as grouse moors.

Unsustainable culls of mountain hares in some intensively managed upland areas, which reduce the availability of an important prey species.

MSP Species Champion

Andy Wightman

Member for: Lothian

Party: Scottish Green Party

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