The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

East coast eagles make comeback

Good news has come from the RSPB Scotland on the white-tailed eagle reintroduction project, which has successfully led to a chick being born and fledged in Fife. The Dick Vet have been the veterinary partners since the reintroduction project began in 2007, working to provide veterinary assistance to the programme.

A sea eagle chick

Jo Hedley, a Veterinary Surgeon from the Exotic Animal and Wildlife Service, in the Hospital for Small Animals, confirmed the chick’s health in July and the good news has now been made public.

The programme started six years ago, following a gift of 85 birds from Norway, where there is a strong sea eagle population and follows up on the successful reintroduction of the birds to the west coast of Scotland more than 30 years ago. This chick is the first to have been hatched in 200 years in the east of Scotland and a further step to reintroducing the bird across the country.

The Dick Vet has worked closely with the RSPB Scotland on this project since 2007 and we are delighted that it has led to this successful conclusion with a healthy chick fledging. Eighty-five eagles were released on the East Coast and this is hopefully the start of their recovery in mainland Scotland. This is one of a number of conservation projects with which the School is involved and shows the strong ties we have with other conservation bodies across the country.

Jo HedleyDick Vet Clinician in Exotic Animal and Wildlife Medicine
Jo Hedley and a sea eagle

As can be seen in our photographs, Jo carried out a health check of the chick, including the fitting of a satellite tag so that its movements can be tracked. The project is being run by RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Forestry Commission with the Dick Vet working in partnership with these organisations to provide specialist veterinary expertise.

The RSPB has asked the public to e-mail them reports of any sightings of white-tailed eagles on the east coast to eastscotlandseaeagles@rspb.org.uk.

More informationon on the project is available on the RSPB’s website and in a recent BBC news story.

Related Links

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

BBC News story

The Exotic Animal and Wildlife Service