This report addresses the question: is there a pattern of suspicious activity surrounding the ‘disappearance’ of many satellite tagged golden eagles?
The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (Scotland) requested a thorough investigation of the fates of satellite tagged raptors, especially golden eagles. This report provides a major review of the movements and fates of golden eagles satellite tagged during 2004 – 2016.
Of 131 young eagles tracked, as many as 41 (31%) have disappeared (presumably died) under suspicious circumstances significantly connected with contemporaneous records of illegal persecution. These disappearances occurred mainly in six areas of the Highlands (predominantly in the central and eastern Highlands). Some, but not all, areas managed as grouse moors were strongly associated with the disappearance of many of the tagged eagles.
Tagging revealed that the persecution of young eagles is suppressing the golden eagle population in the central and eastern Highlands, and hampering overall recovery from historic, widespread persecution.
Wind farms were not associated with any recorded golden eagle deaths, and there were very few records of tagged young golden eagles near wind farms.
Operations associated with tagging had no discernible adverse effects on the welfare, behaviour or survival of the birds.Publication date: July 1, 2017