Saturday, 21 December 2013

Golden Eagle found poisoned in the Angus Glens

RSPB Scotland yesterday condemned those responsible for the killing of a satellite-tagged Golden Eagle, found poisoned on the hills above Glen Lethnot in Angus. The bird was discovered after Roy Dennis of the Highland Foundation for Wildlife, who was monitoring the eagle's movements, became suspicious when the satellite signal remained static for several days. He immediately alerted the police and RSPB Scotland investigations staff who later visited the area, which is intensively managed for grouse shooting, and a search of the moor allowed the recovery of the dead bird.

 The eagle's movement's prior to its discovery poisoned.



Tests carried out by the Scottish Government laboratory of Science and Advice for Scottish agriculture confirmed that the bird had been poisoned. The eagle, named "Fearnan", was ringed as a chick in a nest near Loch Tay in Perthshire in June 2011 and had spent much of its life in Badenoch, before moving to the Angus glens in early November. Just three weeks later, it had been poisoned.





The poisoned Golden Eagle © RSPB Investigations Team


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 Eaggle 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."


In the past five and a half years, another four eagles, a Red Kite and seven Buzzards have been shot, poisoned or trapped on sporting estates situated in the Angus Glens. 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.


Duncan Orr-Ewing, RSPB, fitting the satellite tag harness onto the eaglet prior to stitching and glueing the harness bands to establish a good fit (© Keith Brockie)

Mr Housden added: "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."

A recent report by RSPB Scotland revealed that a significant number of incidents of illegal killing of birds of prey took place in areas managed for driven grouse shooting.

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