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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 July, 2004, 05:49 GMT 06:49 UK
Ospreys set for Spanish journey
The number of Osprey in Spain has fallen
Scottish ospreys are being transported to southern Spain in an effort by conservationists to drive up their numbers.

Five nestlings from the Highlands will be introduced to Cadiz with 20 being moved over the next four years.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) said the birds will be housed with other young ospreys from Finland, Germany and Sweden.

SNH's Professor Colin Galbraith said he believes the scheme will work.

The ospreys will be kept in special aviaries on stilts until they are old enough to fly.

They will then be released on the site, which has a rich source of food and is used by older birds.

We hope to help the osprey recolonise its traditional range across the Mediterranean region
Prof Galbraith
Prof Galbraith said: "It forms part of a wider programme to help ospreys in Spain, including attempts to eliminate deliberate killing of birds of prey.

"It is important that Scotland plays its part in such international conservation projects; indeed it is pleasing that our own osprey population has increased over recent years - thanks to the efforts of many conservationists.

"By working with the Spanish authorities we hope to help the osprey re-colonise its traditional range across the Mediterranean region."

Ospreys have increased in Scotland, from only one occupied osprey nest in 1954 to 162 in 2003.

A successful reintroduction will allow Spain to reverse the extinction of ospreys from the mainland.

The last known breeding pair of ospreys on mainland Spain was near Malaga and was lost in 1982.

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