Shoot management is good for golden eagles, according to the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association (SGA). The SGA stated last week that keepers have identified 55 “active” eagle eyries on grouse moors in east and central Scotland, all of which have been in place since the last census in 2003.

A recent Freedom of Information request also revealed that the majority of the 66 Scottish eagle chicks used in an Irish reintroduction programme, came from “keepered uplands”. The SGA said eagle numbers were constrained in the west by a lack of small prey, reduced deer numbers and extensive forestry, while there were fears that wind turbines were also affecting eagle territories.

However, Alex Hogg, chairman of the SGA also admitted that illegal persecution had been a constraining factor. “The conservation work done by many of our members in this area is forgotten because of the actions of a few. As an organisation we, along with the other members of the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime (PAW), continue to address this issue. Recently the organisation expelled four members for wildlife offences, including raptor persecution.”

The rest of this article appears in the 10th July issue of Shooting Times.

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