The report, A Conservation Framework for Golden Eagles: implications for their conservation and management in Scotland, by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) was published on 2 July.

It stated that parts of Scotland no longer have viable populations of native golden eagles, despite having the ideal habitat conditions for the species to thrive.

The report concludes there is clear evidence of the eagles’ decline in areas where there still appears to be use of illegal poisoned baits.

However, Scotland’s shooting organisations have hit out at the report’s accusations and defended grouse moor managers.

Alex Hogg, of the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association (SGA), told Shooting Times the claims are completely unfounded: “It is typical of SNH to jump to conclusions and blame illegal poisoning for golden eagles failing to thrive in some parts of Scotland.”

“They have, however, no evidence to back up their claims. Grouse moors have changed markedly in recent years and there is no longer the carrion there used to be. Most of the sheep have gone and deer numbers have been decimated. And in areas where there are deer many stalkers are now burying the grallochs to deter the vast populations of ravens from growing even higher.”

The full report is available on the SNH website at www.snh.org.uk.

The rest of this article appears in 3 July issue of Shooting Times.

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