Last Remaining Golden Eagle in England Feared Dead

Golden Eagle
A seven and a half week old Golden Eagle chick waits to be returned to it's nest after being GPS satellite tagged at a remote nest site near Loch Ness on June 29, 2015 in the Highlands, Scotland. The last remaining golden eagle in England is believed to have died. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

England's last remaining golden eagle, one of the largest and most iconic birds of prey, is believed to have died. Wildlife experts say that the bird, usually observed at Riggindale near Haweswater in Cumbria since 2001, has not been seen by Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) staff since November..

Sad news that the remaining Golden Eagle in the Lake District appears to have gone missing with no sightings during weekend watches so far.

— BirdGuides (@BirdGuides) April 12, 2016

Since the 1960s, golden eagles have inhabited Cumbria. "They first colonized here [in Cumbria] in 1969. The first pair of golden eagles were succeeded by others for the best part of 50 years. This last male eagle has been on its own since 2004, when its mate died, and now in 2016, we believe the last remaining golden eagle, one of the iconic bird species in Britain, has died after around 20 years," Josh Jones, news manager at BirdGuides, Britain's leading birding and wildlife website tells Newsweek. "Golden eagles, which are top of the food chain, are a good indication of how healthy our ecosystem is. Unfortunately they're now gone - we have lost these birds altogether from England."

Birdwatcher Alan Tilmouth, shared the sad news on the @Birdguides Twitter account on Wednesday evening.

"I was very disappointed. It was the last half of the last breeding pair of golden eagles in England. It's the end of an era for many thousands of birdwatchers in this country. For many of them, this golden eagle would have been the first one they ever saw, and it may have been a bird they visited annually," he tells Newsweek . "I went to see that bird on an annual basis to see that pair of eagles. It was a fantastic day out seeing one of the largest birds of prey flying over English skies. It is extremely sad we won't be able to see golden eagles ever again in England."

Lee Schofield, site manager at RSPB Haweswater, said in an official statement: "When the eagle didn't appear last month we thought there was a chance he might be hunting in a nearby valley but over the past few weeks we've been gradually losing hope."

There are an estimated 440 annual breeding pairs of golden eagles in the U.K., which are mostly found in the wide-open moorlands and mountains of Scotland, The Guardian reports.

Adrian Long, of Birdlife International, the world's largest nature conservation partnership is hopeful that this won't be the end of golden eagles in England. "On the off chance that some of the eagles from Scotland decide to head south, we will see eagles in England again," he tells Newsweek.