AS PART of a series of ground-breaking translocations, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project has this week revealed that it successfully transported eight more golden eagle chicks from the Scottish Highlands, Perthshire, Angus and the Islands to a secret location in south Scotland this summer.

Earlier this year, led by the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project, Scottish Raptor Study Group workers in the Scottish Highlands, Islands, Angus and Perthshire carefully collected chicks from a number of supportive estates under licence from NatureScot before taking them to the release site in a confidential location in the Moffat Hills.

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The birds were then cared for in specially-designed release aviaries and supplementary fed to help them adjust to their new habitat before their release.

Experts at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies also provided considerable support throughout the process to monitor the health and wellbeing of the birds.

Border Telegraph: South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project

The new additions bring the total population of golden eagles in the south to around 46 – more than quadrupling the population to the highest number recorded in the area for three centuries.

Speaking about the project’s latest news and his involvement as the keynote speaker at this year’s Moffat Eagle Festival, star of BBC Springwatch Iolo Williams said: “It is absolutely fantastic to hear that the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project has once again successfully transported so many golden eagles to the area, and incredibly exciting that Iona, who I was given the honour of naming back in 2021, has settled with Edward near Moffat.

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“The work of this outstanding project is playing a vital role in boosting the small golden eagle population in the south of the country. It is brilliant to think that there is an even greater chance of seeing this iconic predator, which is so important to maintaining a healthy ecosystem, soaring in southern skies.

"I can’t wait to attend the Moffat Eagle Festival in September, and hopefully quietly spot some of the golden eagles when I’m there.”

Cat Barlow, Project Manager for the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project, added: “This is an incredible year for the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project. We are thrilled to bring eight more chicks to the region - the greatest number we have transported in any one summer so far, bringing the population of golden eagles in the area to an all-new record high.

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"And we’re incredibly excited to see some of the first birds that we translocated in the area now nesting together. This is a significant new step in our work to ensure the south of Scotland golden eagle population is self-sustaining and continues to thrive in southern skies for many generations to come.”