Police Investigate Eagle and Buzzard Killings

The raptor killing spree on Scotland's sporting estates goes on unabated. Police Scotland are currently carrying out enquiries after tests established that a Golden Eagle found dead in Angus earlier this month was illegally poisoned. They are also investigating the poisoning of a buzzard in the Ochils. Anyone with information on either incident should get in touch, they say.

The poisoned eagle, Fearnan, in the nest as a chick, 192 kb
The poisoned eagle, Fearnan, in the nest as a chick
© Keith Brockie

In the past five and a half years four other eagles, a red kite and seven buzzards have been shot, poisoned or trapped on sporting estates in the Angus Glens - and those are just the ones that the authorities know about. In January 2013, the nest tree of a pair of white-tailed eagles was felled. No-one has been prosecuted for any of these offences.

The latest dead eagle was discovered in the Glen Lethnot area in Angus after suspicions were raised by satellite tracking equipment that indicated it had remained in the same place for a significant period of time.

Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, said:

'This appalling incident, involving a species recently voted as the nation’s favourite bird, marks a dreadful end to the Year of Natural Scotland. '

'We have recently submitted a petition to the Scottish Government, asking for the golden eagle to be officially designated as the national bird of Scotland. Incidents such as this show very clearly why this iconic bird needs not just our recognition, but also greater protection.'

'We sincerely hope that those responsible are swiftly brought to justice and would encourage those with information to come forward.'

'I will be asking the environment spokesperson of all the parties in the Scottish Parliament to take cross-party action to stiffen the penalties for those convicted of such offences and to look again at the regulation of sport shooting. The current state of affairs is simply unacceptable.'

As police continue to investigate the eagle poisoning incident, officers request that anyone who was in Glen Lethnot and surrounding areas between the November 10 and November 25 contacts them.

Constable Blair Wilkie, Wildlife Liaison Officer for the Angus area said:

'Given the rural location of this crime, we appeal to anyone who was out walking, working, or indeed out on the hills for whatever purpose between those dates, to get in touch. You may not think that any information you have is of value to us, but please let us be the judges of that.'

'It's also important to stress to the public that in cases where poisoned baits are used to target birds of prey, the poisons present a wider threat. They are, without question, a significant health risk to both humans and animals.'

If you find what you suspect to be poisoned bait, police advise you do not touch it.

'Cover it if possible and contact the police with details of its location' says Constable Wilkie. 

'A team of officers is continuing to conduct searches in the Glen Lethnot with a view to recovering the bait used to poison this bird.'

Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident a dead buzzard found in Stirlingshire in September was poisoned, police have now confirmed.

A member of the public found the dead bird in the Sheriffmuir area, north of Bridge of Allan.

Officers from Police Scotland are appealing to landowners, hillwalkers and anyone who visits the Ochils and Sheriffmuir area who has any information about the killing, to contact them.

Anyone with information on either incident should call 101, or speak to any officer. Information can also be provided anonymously via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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