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Tuesday, 21 June 2016 11:52

Scottish courier's reduced rate service helps veterinary university conserve birds of prey

A Scottish logistics firm, Eagle Couriers, is helping the conservation of birds of prey, including the golden eagle, by working for a reduced rate with wildlife researchers at the University of Edinburgh's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

eagle couriers eagleThe company has been collecting samples from birds of prey from the far reaches of Scotland and transporting them back for research in Edinburgh.

With examples ranging from feathers and food, to even the bodies of a number of birds, including owls and eagles, the samples will shed much needed light on their habitats and the impact of land use in the surrounding area.

Gabriela Peniche, Conservation Biologist and PhD student at the Dick Vet, said: "The freshness of each sample is crucial for building a picture of how different environmental factors are impacting the wildlife and vegetation throughout Scotland. Eagle's swift delivery has helped hugely with this."

Drivers from Eagle Couriers have been dispatched as far North as Dingwall and Orkney to race samples back to Edinburgh for analysis.

Offering this service at a reduced rate, the service has helped to minimise costs for the project which promises to aid with conservation all over Scotland.

eagle couriers GabriellaFiona Deas, Co-Director of Eagle Couriers, said: "We have a huge reach all over Scotland so it's no problem to cover the distance and make sure Gabriela gets any samples she needs whenever they become available."

When raptor samples are discovered they are either handed over to the police if foul play is suspected for a full post-mortem, otherwise they are whisked to Edinburgh so that researchers can build a picture of their cause of death.

As eagles and other raptors are at the top of the food chain the introduction of toxins and infectious disease at any stage will be reflected by the effect on them.

This means that the team can get a good picture of whether certain pesticides or toxins are being over-used and propose plans to combat this.

The project is being undertaken by Gabriela, under supervision from faculty members at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary studies at The University of Edinburgh's Easter Bush Campus in Midlothian.

Collaborating with a wide range of organisations and institutions including Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Raptor Study Group, the Scottish Agricultural College, the University of the Highlands and Islands and the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme, it is hoped that the results will provide an evidence base for improving the environment for wildlife across the country.

This isn't the first time Eagle Couriers has taken on unusual animal deliveries, having helped rehouse two Madagascan false tomato frogs and reunite a lost dog with its owners.

Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary studies
Eagle Couriers
Scottish Raptor Study Group
Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme