Police and the Scottish SPCA are appealing for information after a golden eagle was found close to death by walkers on the Southern Upland Way, having been shot.
The animal welfare organisation was alerted on Saturday 6 October after a member of the public discovered the injured bird in north-east Dumfries and Galloway, adjacent to the Southern Upland Way.
The golden eagle is now receiving veterinary treatment and specialist care at their National Wildlife Rescue Centre.
Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn of the Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary said,
'This eagle has been caused tremendous pain and suffering.'
'It became grounded after being shot, which caused the feathers on its tail and wings to break and meant it was unable to search for food. If the eagle hadn't been found on Saturday it is very likely it would have starved to death.'
'Golden eagles are extremely rare and it is very concerning that someone would deliberately try to injure or kill such a magnificent creature.'
'As well as being cruel, injuring a wild bird is also a criminal offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and we are very keen to speak to anyone who has information about this incident.'
Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, said,
'I am extremely concerned and disappointed that this golden eagle, a very rare sight in this part of Scotland, has been shot and critically injured. This is completely unacceptable.'
'Shooting a protected wild bird is a criminal offence and I would urge anyone with information to contact the Scottish SPCA or Dumfries and Galloway Police. Thankfully this golden eagle has survived and is receiving specialist care, and I hope in time it makes a full recovery.'
This latest incident comes not long after a golden eagle was found dead in suspicious circumstances on Deeside - see UKH news.