As if the news of last weeks dead golden eagle found with two broken legs was not bad enough, now a second golden eagle has been reported shot in Galloway. This time an alert was made early enough allowing the Scottish SPCA to make an appeal for any information after the eagle was found close to death on Saturday (6 October) after a member of the public discovered the injured bird in north-east Dumfries and Galloway, adjacent to the Southern Upland Way. It is difficult to understand why the police are unable to follow the example of the SPCA, waiting several months for the results of a postmortem only helps the person or persons responsible for these heinous crimes.
Golden Eagles are already under huge pressure from wind farms proliferation, how long will it be before the population becomes unsustainable?
Information from local sources indicate that the bird was discovered on the Buccleuch Estate, very close to the boundary with the Leadhills Estate, just to the north of Wanlockhead. Given that 350 birds of prey were killed on the Buccleuch Estate at Langholm during the winter of 1989/90 it comes as no surprise as the pair of breeding Golden eagles at Langhom were also part of this horrible slaughter.
Questions regarding £3.5 million of tax payer’s money spent in recreating a Red Grouse moor at Langholm must now stop until Birds of Prey are able to breed and winter on these moors without being persecuted.
It was well documented that Buccleuch estate were willing to take SNH to court to claim damages for destroying the moor after the first Langholm project. The problem being that this killing just adds to how the moor will be managed after the second hen harrier demonstration project finishes which should be “now”!
The golden eagle shot earlier this week is now receiving veterinary treatment and specialist care at the 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. As well as being cruel, injuring a wild bird is also a criminal offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and we are very keen to speak to anyone who has information about this incident. ”
This eagle will require lengthy rehabilitation and expert treatment in our care.
Although it’s very early days yet, it is feeding now and we are hopeful it will make a full recovery and we will be able to release it back into the wild next year.
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.” (If these kind of atrocities are allowed to continue indefinitely, golden eagles in Scotland will become even rarer.)
The fact that the shot eagle was found on a grouse moor in the Leadhills region ( a black spot for raptors) would appear to suggest a relationship with game shooting. We wonder if the Chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association will launch a second enquiry into this incident? Sadly it is extremely unlikely anyone will be brought to justice without two witnesses or a confession.
“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.”