Plans to relocate golden eagle chicks to boost population

image copyrightPeter Cairns/RSPB
image captionThere are believed to be only four breeding pairs of Golden eagles in the South of Scotland

The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project has confirmed discussions have started on plans to relocate golden eagle chicks in Scotland.

The proposal being looked at as part of the project would see it transfer the birds from the Highlands in 2017.

Over 500 pairs of eagles were recorded in the country in the latest RSPB survey, a 15% rise since 2003.

But it is believed that no more than four of these pairs reside in the south of Scotland.

A Scottish Natural Heritage spokesman said: "Plans to translocate golden eagles from the north of the country are currently being discussed as part of the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project, but as yet nothing has been confirmed.

"Timings will depend on grant funding and a translocation licence application."

"Chicks will be identified from eyries which contain two chicks in late spring, they will be collected between five and eight weeks of age.

"At this stage the eaglets will be partially feathered, they can thermo-regulate and can feed themselves."

Scotland is now thought to be home to the UK's entire population of golden eagles.

The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project has secured more than £1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and has Scottish government backing.

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