Police Scotland have opened an investigation on the Western Isles after the discovery of five dead eagles within the space of a week.
Two golden eagles and a white-tailed eagle were found dead on the Isle of Harris on 7th August, and another two golden eagles were found dead on the Isle of Lewis on 14th August 2021.
This article about the discoveries appeared yesterday in The Herald:
Police say they are investigating after five eagles were found dead in the Outer Hebrides in a space of a week.
Two golden eagles had been found dead two miles south of Bragar on the Isle of Lewis on August 14.
While two golden eagles and white tailed sea eagle were found dead near Bowglass on the Isle of Harris, a week before on August 7.
The birds found on August 7 were significantly decomposed but forensic work is being undertaken to try to establish how they died.
Although the eagles were found dead in similar circumstances, the incidents are not being treated as linked.
Inspector Jane MacKenzie said: “Around 1.25pm on Saturday 14 August 2021, officers received a report that two golden eagles had been found dead two miles south of Bragar on the Isle of Lewis. Enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances.
“Enquiries are also ongoing after two golden eagles and white tailed sea eagle were found dead near Bowglass on the Isle of Harris on Saturday, 7 August, 2021. They were significantly decomposed but forensic work is being undertaken to try to establish how they died.
“Eagles are protected birds of prey and Police Scotland will always investigate reports of these birds being found dead. It can be highly complex, requiring detailed scientific work, but we will always strive to bring anyone responsible for this type of wildlife crime to justice.
“Anyone with information about these birds, or any wildlife crime, can contact Police Scotland on 101, or make a call anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
That police quote is fairly circumspect, which is perhaps understandable given the investigation is still in the early stages and this isn’t an official police press release. However, local information provided to me suggests the investigation into the first incident is much further ahead than has been indicated here. Based on that information, I’m very surprised to see the journalist claim the incidents are not being treated as linked (presumably that information came from the police?). Hmm, I wonder…..
Although if a crime is confirmed, don’t expect the investigation to result in a prosecution. Despite Inspector MacKenzie’s fine words, which undoubtedly were given with genuine sincerity, I’m not aware of anybody being convicted for killing an eagle in Scotland.
If you have information about these five dead eagles, please contact Police Scotland on 101.