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Last Updated: Monday, 3 December 2007, 14:02 GMT
Sea eagle feared killed on estate
Sea eagle arriving in Scotland
The sea eagles arrived in Scotland from Norway in August
A rare sea eagle is feared to have been killed on a shooting estate in Scotland, according to police.

The bird, also known as a white-tailed eagle, was one of 15 released in Fife in August as part of a reintroduction programme to boost numbers.

Tayside Police said it had received information that the bird had been killed on a grouse moor in Angus.

Wildlife crime officers said while a body had not been found, there had been no recent sightings.

They have also been unable to trace the bird through a radio tag fitted to its leg.

Alan Stewart, Tayside Police wildlife and environment officer, said they were contacted by an anonymous person who provided very specific information about where it had been killed.

The person also named the individual responsible and when the killing was alleged to have happened.

Last sightings

Mr Stewart said the date corresponded with the last sightings of the bird which, with its distinctive white wing tags, was regularly spotted in north east Angus, especially between Kirriemuir and Montrose.

"We recently received confidential information that a white-tailed eagle had been killed on an Angus grouse moor," he said.

"What backs up this information were the regular sightings of the white-tailed eagle in the area up to the approximate date of the report of it having been killed.

"Since then, despite the bird being radio tagged, it has disappeared off the radar."

It never ceases to amaze me that some individuals can kill such a wonderful species
Stuart Housden
RSPB Scotland

Police have not named the estate alleged to have been involved, but Mr Stewart added: "The particular estate named by the informant has been at the centre of concerns over illegal practices in the past few years.

"If indeed the bird has been killed it saddens me that some people are still 100 years behind modern times."

Sea eagles were once widespread across Scotland but were persecuted to extinction by 1918.

The birds were reintroduced to the UK on the Isle of Rum with eagles brought over from Norway every year from 1975 to 1983, then on Wester Ross from 1993 to 1998.

There are now 42 pairs breeding in west Scotland and the final phase of the reintroduction began in east Scotland earlier this year.

Stuart Housden, director of RSPB Scotland, said he was shocked and saddened by the deliberate act of illegal persecution by a selfish estate.

"It never ceases to amaze me that some individuals think they are above the law, and can kill such a wonderful species, that so many people are trying so hard to restore to its natural range."

Anyone with any information on the killing has been asked to contact Tayside Police.

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