Further recognition for Scotland’s Golden Eagles

Areas important for golden eagles along Scotland’s west coast may be in line for additional protection. Following a recent decision by the Scottish Government to look at recognising more areas in Scotland important for this bird, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is about to ask the public what they think. On 11 January SNH launched a public consultation, on behalf of the Scottish Government, on the proposal to create a new Special Protection Areas (SPA) for golden eagles at Glen Fyne, Glen Etive, Moidart and Ardgour and the islands of Jura, Scarba and the Garvellachs. SPAs are protected under European legislation covering rare or vulnerable populations of birds in the European Union.

The west coast sites are part of a series being consulted on in Scotland. The other sites are Foinaven; Glen Affric to Strathconon and the Cairngorms Massif. Scotland already has eight SPAs for golden eagles but the Scottish Government has decided to look at adding up to six more to supplement the conservation of this important bird. Golden eagles once ranged over most of Britain but since the 18th century they have been restricted to the more remote and upland areas of Scotland and are still vulnerable. Continue reading....

The consultation is open to all those who have an interest in the area. This includes owners and occupiers of the land, recreational users such as walkers and climbers, scientific groups such as ornithologists and people living in the local area. All comments received during the consultation process will be collated by SNH and reported to Scottish Ministers. Ministers will then consider the comments before deciding whether to approve the new sites.

Kristin Scott, SNH’s area manager for the West Highlands said: “SNH is pleased that the Scottish Government is considering increasing the numbers of protected sites for golden eagles and we look forward to running the consultation exercise on their behalf.” Andrew Campbell, Operations Manager for SNH in Argyll added: “Golden eagles are one of Scotland’s iconic species and we have responsibility for an important proportion of Europe’s golden eagle population in parts of our country. The existing SPAs show that eagles and traditional land management can co-exist happily side-by-side. Increasing the profile of golden eagles may also bring other benefits to the local economy through the growing opportunities that exist for activities such as wildlife watching.”

The consultation will run for 12 weeks, from Wednesday 13 January 2010 to Wednesday 7 April 2010 inclusive. More information and how to comment on the consultation can be found at www.snh.org.uk.

This story was published with kind permission of the Ileach local newspaper.

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