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Further recognition for Scotland’s Golden Eagles

11th January 2010

Sites important for golden eagles in the Cairngorms National Park, and parts of Highland Perthshire and Angus, 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 is about to ask the public what they think.

Today Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) launched a public consultation, on behalf of the Scottish Government, on the proposal to create a new Special Protection Area (SPA) for golden eagles covering the Cairngorms Massif. SPAs are protected under European legislation covering rare or vulnerable populations of birds in the European Union.

The site is one of a series being consulted on in Scotland. The other sites are Foinaven, Glen Affric to Strathconon, Glen Fyne and Glen Etive, Moidart and Ardgour, and the islands of Jura, Scarba and the Garvellachs. 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.

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.

Denise Reed, area manager for SNH said: “Our aim over the coming months is for local staff to give interested parties the information they need to best understand the wildlife importance of golden eagles in Scotland, the need to give golden eagles further protection and what the implications of this Special Protection Area designation are for land management. It is important that people feel they have been provided with all the information they need and that their views will be considered by Scottish Government.”

Hamish Trench, head of heritage and land management at the Cairngorms National Park Authority said: “CNPA welcomes the consultation on the proposal for greater protection for this iconic species in and around the Cairngorms National Park. Golden eagles are an important part of our natural heritage and capture the imagination of many people. Recently many individuals and schools have been following the progress of radio-tracked golden eagles in the Cairngorms National Park, showing the level of public interest. We encourage all those with an interest to participate in the consultation.”
The consultation will run for 12 weeks, from Wednesday 13 January 2010 to Wednesday 7 April 2010 inclusive. Click here for more information and how to comment on the consultation.

Responses can be made by email or in writing to SPA consultation responses, Scottish Natural Heritage, Great Glen House, Leachkin Road, Inverness, IV3 8NW.