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  1. ITV Report

Young golden eagle killed by another in territorial attack

Becky and Edward, two of the eaglets that were released into the south of Scotland. Credit: South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project

A young golden eagle that was reintroduced into the south of Scotland has died after being attacked by another.

Three golden eagle chicks were released in the Moffat Hills 12 months ago in an attempt to boost the historically low population in the area.

One of the females, called Beaky, appeared to be acting 'aggressive and domineering' towards the males. The project suggests she killed one of the males, and the other is now missing.

The £1.3 million project is run by the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project.

A post-mortem will determine the cause of death.

“This is distressing and extremely surprising. We have never heard of such incidents before, despite having worked with eagle release projects in other parts of Europe. For the project team, and the estates which kindly allowed us to take these male eagle chicks, this is very difficult."

– SNH’s Professor Des Thompson, a project director.

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Golden eagle expert, Roy Dennis, says although the behaviour is common for territorial breeding eagles, it is unheard of for newly flying birds.

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

The project says a new release site will be secured for next year as Beaky has now claimed the current area as her own territory.