Golden eagle project swoops for national honour




  • In Science
  • 2022-12-05 10:47:10Z
  • By BBC
 

A pioneering conservation scheme in the Moffat hills has received major recognition.

The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project (SSGEP) has been named Scottish project of the year in the National Lottery awards.

It was set up five years ago to help ensure the survival of the iconic species in the area.

The work - which sees birds relocated from the Highlands - has seen numbers rise from just a handful to nearly 40.

Project manager, Dr Cat Barlow, said things had been progressing well.

"We are in year five of a six-year project at the moment," she said.

"The birds are doing really, really well - there are more golden eagles in the south of Scotland than we have seen for nearly 300 years which is brilliant."

However, she said there remained plenty of work to be done.

"It is still early days from a golden eagle point of view because they are a very long-living bird," she said.

"They take nearly five years to mature to breeding so, even though we have been going for five years we haven't quite had that breeding success yet.

"Those young birds are still establishing and learning to hunt and finding their territories.

"Fingers crossed next year we'll start to see those first steps."

She said that financial assistance from the National Lottery had been essential for the scheme but it had still been a shock to take the honour.

"It was quite a big surprise to get nominated and to be a finalist - so to win Scottish project of the year is absolutely fantastic," she said.

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