Last updated 14/05/2010
News release by Northern Constabulary
Police confirm they are investigating the deaths of three golden eagles in East Sutherland
12 May 2010 8:45:48 GMT
Police are investigating the deaths of three golden eagles and other birds of prey which have been found in the East Sutherland area during the past week.
Officers are working closely with their partners at the RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the National Wildlife Crime Unit.
The birds have been sent for forensic analysis in Edinburgh and Police are awaiting the results. Inquiries are ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.
Police would like to hear from anyone who may have information regarding the deaths. Anyone with information is urged to contact Northern Constabulary on 0845 600 5703 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Quotes from PAW Scotland partners
A Scottish Government spokesperson said:
"While the Scottish Government can't comment on an ongoing investigation we consider the persecution of any wildlife unacceptable. The protection of Scotland's wildlife has never before occupied such a prominent position politically or in terms of the law. We are continuing joint action to tackle raptor persecution across Scotland to reduce this threat to our birds of prey"
A spokesman for the Scottish Estates Business Group, which represents rural estates, said:
"This is deeply disturbing news. Estates and land managers throughout Scotland will be utterly appalled. If it transpires these birds have been poisoned then the full weight of the law should be brought to bear on those responsible."
Luke Borwick, chair of the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association said:
"I am appalled, disgusted, horrified by this news. If this is as a result of criminal activity, this has to stop."
A spokesman at RSPB Scotland 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. From good scientific evidence, we know that illegal killing of golden eagles in Scotland is having a serious impact on their population. Firm and immediate action is required by all right minded people in the countryside to stamp out illegal practices, which have no place in modern Scotland."
A spokesman for Scottish Natural Heritage said:
"We are aware of a current investigation by Northern Constabulary in East Sutherland which potentially involves wildlife crime. We are currently helping Northern Constabulary with their investigation."
Alex Hogg, chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association said;
"The SGA's position on wildlife crime is unequivocal, we condemn it and are fully behind the Scottish Government in its bid to stamp it out. And we have consistently made it clear that there is no place in our organisation for anyone found guilty of poisoning wildlife. It's a blight on the countryside we love, the wildlife we manage and the reputations of the landowners, keepers, shepherds and farmers who live and work there. If the scientific evidence shows that the birds which died were illegally killed then let the person who committed or authorised the offence be named and given the maximum penalty possible in a clear signal that this abuse will not be tolerated."