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BBC Scotland's Alan Grant reports
"The eagle's nest - at a secret location - has been monitored for five years"
 real 28k

Wildlife Liaison Co-ordinator Alan Stewart
"I'm very disappointed that this has happened, it's absolutely disgraceful that ithis type of conduct is still going on"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 23 May, 2000, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Protected eagle found poisoned
Golden Eagle
The eagle was watched 24 hours-a-day by volunteers
A young Golden Eagle whose nest was protected round-the-clock by volunteers has been found poisoned.

The dead bird was discovered by hillwalkers in West Perthshire - a post mortem examination found it was killed by bait laced with a well-known poison.

The eagle's nest was the subject of surveillance for the past five years.

Its exact location, in the Central Scotland police area, is being kept a secret but last year up to 100 volunteers were involved in the surveillance operation until the egg hatched.

They were in radio contact with police should anything untoward occur and the young eagle hatched successfully and was ringed last summer.

Poison carrion

However, it has been found dead having taken bait laced with alpha-choralose - a poison used for many years to kill wildlife.

Alan Stewart, a wildlife liaison co-ordinator with Tayside Police, said: "We suspected it had been killed illegally, it transpired in fact that the bird had been poisoned with alpha-choralose.

Golden eagle
Volunteers watched the eagle's nest
"I suspect that the poison bait had been put down to kill crows or ravens, but it just lets you see how totally indiscriminate this type of poisoning is.

"It's illegal anyway to kill crows or ravens with poison."

He said the carrion would have been laced with the poison and that eagles were "great carrion eaters".

Mr Stewart said a great deal of effort had been put into protecting the bird before it hatched.

He said: "In the Central Scotland police area there are between 70 and 100 volunteers in their own time, at their own expense watched this particular nest because for the nine years prior to that it had been targeted by egg collectors who took the eggs every year."

Poisoning condemned

Mr Stewart added: "It's absolutely disgraceful that this type of crime is still occurring, I hoped that we would leave this behind at the turn of the century."

The death is being investigated by Tayside Police but it is complicated by the fact the bird was found on the boundary of three different estates.

The Scottish Gamekeeper's Association has condemned the act.

It says eagles are not a threat to the grouse population and that it hopes no gamekeeper was responsible.

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See also:

28 Jan 00 | Scotland
Plan hatched to safeguard eagles
17 Aug 99 | Scotland
Golden eagles found poisoned
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