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Golden eagles to get protection boost

Last modified: 01 December 2009

Adult golden eagle at eyrie

News that one of Scotland's most iconic birds could soon receive better protection from damaging developments and disturbance was today applauded by RSPB Scotland.

Environment minister Roseanna Cunningham has announced proposals to create six large new Special Protection Areas (SPA) for golden eagles covering more than 400,000 hectares in northern and western Scotland. Consultations on the proposals will be started by Scottish Natural Heritage in the New Year.

A brighter future

Stuart Housden, director of RSPB Scotland, said: 'We heartily congratulate the Scottish Government on its proposals to classify these significant areas of upland Scotland to protect the habitat of golden eagles.  Extending the European site network, based on sound science, will help create a robust protective framework that can benefit eagles across Scotland and ensure that they have a long term future.'

Stuart continued: 'Golden eagles require large home ranges, which can be affected by land use changes such as poorly located forestry planting, loss of prey such as rabbits and hares, windfarms and – sadly- continuing persecution.

'The new SPAs will ensure that decision makers consider the needs of the eagles, and land managers qualify for support from the Scottish Rural Development Plan so that they can continue to look after them.

'This is a great day for Scotland’s unofficial national bird'.

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