Wildlife experts have hit out after the death by poisoning of a rare golden eagle in Royal Deeside.
The death could badly effect the golden eagle population
The adult bird was found by a hill walker between Banchory and Braemar.
Tests have revealed it contained traces of the pesticide carbofuran and police have appealed for help in tracing the culprit.
Grampian Police wildlife crime officer David MacKinnon said it was especially unfortunate as there was a low local population of golden eagles.
Pc MacKinnon said: "All crimes against wildlife are disappointing but this incident is even more so due to the species involved.
"There are estimated to be only around 18 breeding pairs of golden eagle in the Grampian area."
The officer said the birds live for 20 years or more and usually raise between one and two young per year.
He added: "Based on the low population of these specially protected birds this incident will have a significant effect on the population. The birds will have eggs or dependent young at this time of year.
"I appeal to members of the public, particularly land-based workers, hill walkers, ramblers, bird watchers, mountain bikers and people who enjoy the outdoor scene around Deeside to report anything suspicious.
"Under no circumstances should any suspected baits or poisoned victims be handled and people are asked to keep pets well away."