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