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Golden eagle shot in Scotland

09/10/2012 13:08:38

The golden eagle, now recovering with the SSPCA, was shot in Dumfriesshire. Photo credit SSPCA

Condemnation as golden eagle found shot
October 2012. RSPB Scotland has condemned the shooting of a golden eagle, found barely alive, by a walker in Dumfriesshire. The bird was discovered on Saturday 6th October on a grouse moor near Wanlockhead, close to the Southern Upland Way. However, it is not clear precisely where the shooting occurred.

Undergoing treatment
The eagle, an adult male, was recovered by Scottish SPCA inspectors and is undergoing treatment at its new rehabilitation centre near Alloa.

Shotgun pellets in tail and wing
Examination by vets showed shotgun pellets had caused injuries to the tail muscles and one wing. The bird also had extensive feather damage, suggesting it had been floundering on the ground for some time and had not been able to feed. It is too early to tell whether the bird will recover.

Poison & traps
Stuart Housden, Director RSPB Scotland commented "With one golden eagle already found poisoned this year, and a second bird the apparent victim of an illegal trap, this is yet another appalling incident. Whoever pulled the trigger must have deliberately targeted one of our most iconic birds, with lethal intentions.

"Whoever it was has access to a shotgun, and the confidence to use it in this area. Much has been made of an apparent recent decline in the illegal poisoning of Scotland's birds of prey, but this, and other recent criminal incidents, show that efforts to stamp out the illegal persecution of strictly protected wildlife have a considerable way to go."

Appeal for information
The Scottish SPCA is appealing for information after the eagle was found close to death having been shot. The golden eagle is now receiving veterinary treatment and specialist care at the Scottish SPCA's National Wildlife Rescue Centre.

Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said, "This eagle has been caused tremendous pain and suffering.

"It became grounded after being shot, which caused the feathers on its tail and wings to break and meant it was unable to search for food. If the eagle hadn't been found on Saturday it is very likely it would have starved to death. Golden eagles are extremely rare and it is very concerning that someone would deliberately try to injure or kill such a magnificent creature.

Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, said, "I am extremely concerned and disappointed that this golden eagle, a very rare sight in this part of Scotland, has been shot and critically injured. This is completely unacceptable. Shooting a protected wild bird is a criminal offence and I would urge anyone with information to contact the Scottish SPCA or Dumfries and Galloway Police.

"Thankfully this golden eagle has survived and is receiving specialist care, and I hope in time it makes a full recovery."

The Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline is 03000 999 999.

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