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Three golden eagles released in south of Scotland

The £1.3 million project aims to increase the number of golden eagles in the south of Scotland where numbers are low. Photo: ITV Border

Three golden eagle chicks have been released in the Moffat Hills in the south of Scotland.

Golden eagles have been historically low in numbers in the Southern Uplands. The release of the chicks is part of a £1.3 million project to boost numbers of the iconic bird of prey in the area.

The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project is in charge of the ‘ground-breaking’ operation and is asking for volunteers to assist with the monitoring the birds.

Transported from the Central Highlands, two of the birds settled in their new habitat in mid-June, with the third female eaglet arriving six days after.

Prior to their release, each of the raptors was tagged so they can be easily identified and tracked via satellite.

The chicks were named Edward, Emily and Beaky, by three local primary schools who adopted them.

Becky and Edward, two of the eaglets that were released into the south of Scotland. Credit: South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project
Emily - one of the golden eaglet released in the south of Scotland Credit: South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project

The UK has over 500 breading pairs of golden eagles. The vast majority inhabit the Highlands and islands. Only 2 to 4 breeding pairs remain in the south of Scotland.

The project aims to increase numbers, however, in the past they have been persecuted by landowners. Concerns have been raised to suggest that the project has not taken into consideration the safe guarding of the raptors.