Monday, 13 August 2007

Reward offered after Borders eagle poisoned

A Golden Eagle from the only breeding pair in the Scottish Borders has been found poisoned. A joint investigation by Lothian and Borders Police, RSPB Scotland, the Scottish SPCA and the Scottish Executive searched land and property, and discovered some poisoned bait on a grouse moor in the Borders.

The shocking discovery of this illegally poisoned bird was made on 12 August and the death is especially sickening as the pair raised a chick this year. Although the chick has fledged, and is now semi-independent, it was still being fed by both parents and so there are now significant concerns for its safety.

RSPB Scotland is now offering a reward of £1000 for information with regards to the case, and people should call PC Mark Rafferty on 07785 248 455. Bob Elliot, head of investigations at RSPB Scotland said: "Despite being excellent Golden Eagle country, the Borders has been a real black hole in terms of Golden Eagle breeding in Scotland. Sadly, illegal persecution of birds of prey continues to be a shameful fact of life in parts of Scotland in the 21st century, and unfortunately the evidence shows that there is a correlation between the location of grouse moors and the incidence of raptor poisoning.

“Now, after 9 or 10 years together, the Borders has lost its only breeding pair of golden eagles, and we hope that by offering a reward, a member of the public will help the police to catch the perpetrator and bring them to justice."

PC Mark Rafferty, wildlife crime officer with Lothian and Borders police said:
"Despite the efforts of myself and other Wildlife Crime Officers and our partners, the illegal and indiscriminate use of poisons is still alive and well in the Borders area. I'd ask for the public and particularly the gamekeeping community to come forward with information on this or any illegal wildlife crime"

Photo: PC Mark Rafferty with the poisoned eagle (RSPB)