Highlands & Islands MSP and species champion delighted at Golden Eagles Award

The Golden Eagle has been voted No.1 of Scotland's Big 5. SGD16985

The Golden Eagle has been voted No.1 of Scotland's Big 5. SGD16985

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The Golden Eagle has topped the vote in a campaign to find Scotland’s favourite wild animal.

The Big 5 campaign, which is part of the Natural Scotland 2013 celebrations, saw the Golden Eagles come out top of 12,417 votes cast.

The campaign was run jointly by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Visit Scotland and was launched in the spring of this year.

The bird of prey was competing against the red deer, red squirrel, harbour seal and otter.

 The golden eagle received 4,773 of the 12,417 votes cast.

The red squirrel was second with 2,523; the red deer 1,819; otter 1,794 and harbour seal 725.

Other animals received 783 votes, with the top three being wildcat, pine marten and puffin.

Highlands & Islands MSP Rhoda Grant, who signed up to the Scottish Environment LINK Wildlife proclamation to become a champion for the Golden Eagles, said: “I am delighted obviously that the Golden Eagles has topped this vote. It is an absolutely amazing bird which is an iconic trademark of Scotland and the Highlands & Islands in particular.

“Scotland is home to all of the UK’s breeding pairs of golden eagles, and the species has done well to recover after almost being wiped out in the last two centuries.”

She continued: “The fact that visitors to our area may be fortunate to get a sighting of these magnificent birds, positively affects the local economy and tourist trade and brings added income to the area, so what we have here is a classic win win situation.”

Ms Grant added: “If we can continue to properly protect this great species we can start to see a growth in their numbers letting our future generations benefit from the splendour of watching these birds.”