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Perthshire keepers ally with conservation body to stamp out raptor persecution

Tayside and Central Scotland Moorland Group has teamed up with Wildland, the company established by Scotland's largest private landowner, Dane Anders Povlsen

Perthshire grouse moors are tackling raptor persecution head on by collaborating with Wildland to support eagle conservation.

A satellite tag has been fitted to a golden eagle chick at a site in the Strathbraan area so the team can follow its movements. Wildland has been tagging raptors in the Cairngorms for several years and the bird can be tracked by the public on the Animal Tracker smartphone app.

“We are excited about this project,” said Tayside and Central Scotland Moorland Group (TCSMG) coordinator, Alice Bugden. “This unique collaboration will hopefully allow us to get beyond some of the polarisation of recent times. There has been a lot of negative attention in recent years about alleged persecution of eagles. We are focused on positive action. It has been refreshing to liaise with Wildland, who have years of experience of tagging and recording raptor movements on their own holdings. Unlike some bodies who keep tagging work secret, Wildland are committed to transparency, and our community feels this is the way forward for raptor conservation in the uplands.”

Alleged raptor persecution in the area has created divisions in the past after two golden eagle tags stopped functioning on the same day in 2019 and it is hoped that this new collaboration will mark a new era.

“Obviously, everyone hopes the chick, when tagged, will survive,” said Strathbraan resident and gamekeeper, Ronnie Kippen. “This is certainly the ‘A’ plan and why landowners have been willing to fund the project.

“However, we also know that a significant number of eagle chicks in the wild will die naturally within the first year, largely because they are inexperienced hunters. No one is in control of those aspects, but we venture forward with optimism and it would be great to see the wee one survive.”

Matt Cross will be writing a full report in Shooting Times published 23 June.