Deaths of three golden eagles investigated by police

The deaths of three golden eagles in the Highlands of Scotland are being investigated by detectives.

Published:  12 May 2010

The eagles and a number of other birds of prey were found dead in the same area of East Sutherland during the past week.

They have been sent to Edinburgh for forensic analysis to establish whether the deaths were suspicious. It is not yet known whether the birds were poisoned.

Northern Constabulary officers are working on the investigation with the RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the National Wildlife Crime Unit.

 


Police appealed for anyone with information about the deaths to contact them.

An SNH spokesman said: ''We are aware of a current investigation by Northern Constabulary which potentially involves wildlife crime.''

There have been many cases of eagles being poisoned around Scotland in recent years.

Last June one was found dead in the Glen Orchy area of Argyll, having died from poisoning caused by toxic insecticide, while last July a poisoned eagle was found dead in Glen Esk in Angus.

Golden eagles live mainly on the open moorlands and mountains of the Highlands in Scotland, though a few are found in Cumbria.

An estimated 442 breeding pairs are in the UK.

They are threatened by habitat change and illegal killing, and the RSPB lists them as birds of conservation concern.

An RSPB Scotland spokesman said: "Subject to confirmation by the authorities, this is an extremely serious incident. Our staff are working closely with the Northern Constabulary, the National Wildlife Crime Unit and Scottish Natural Heritage to assist with the police investigation."

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