Karen Rentoul, our Operations Officer in Southern Scotland, and member of the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project Board, enthuses about good news from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
27 March 2017 should go down in history as a good day for nature in south Scotland. At least, it ought to, for the Heritage Lottery Fund has announced a grant of £1.3 million towards boosting the golden eagle population in south Scotland. The small, fragmented population of two to four successful pairs has to benefit from this award.
A uniquely special partnership has formed to make a difference. Scottish Land and Estates and the RSPB have joined forces with Buccleuch Estates, Forestry Commission Scotland, The Langholm Initiative, and SNH to make a real difference for the fortunes of golden eagles. Through hard work to improve the prospects of these iconic birds, and painstaking work with local communities to develop exciting initiatives to benefit both, we are on the threshold of one of the most exciting conservation programmes this decade in Scotland.
One of the key Scottish Biodiversity 2020 Challenge projects, this ground-breaking initiative paves the way for a massive impetus for nature in south Scotland. Working with local communities, schools, members of the Scottish Raptor Study Group, a wide range of land managers, and the tourism sector, we have a great opportunity to place golden eagles at the heart of economic rejuvenation in some of the more hard pressed parts of Scotland. And if we can bring benefits for these birds, we should bring wider gains for other wildlife so dependent on the upland and woodland haunts of this marvellous part of Scotland.
Think of this – with good fortune and the rallying support of organisations and people committed to making a success of Scotland’s nature – we can make a difference. For many thousands of people, a sojourn in the uplands of Galloway, the Borders or even closer to the Central Belt, may soon be rewarded with the sight of golden eagles.
Sparkling eyes, frenetic texts, excited blogs and cries of delight may soon be the hallmark of a trip to these parts. What more could you ask for, and return trips should be rewarded with even greater treats.
Let’s celebrate some good news, and wish golden eagles and all who are rooting for them the very best of good fortune. Ambition, fortitude, trust and good luck should see us succeed in this endeavour.
You can find out more about the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project here.