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Fears growing for missing golden eagle, last tagged over Perthshire

Keepers searching the Loch Tay area.
Keepers searching the Loch Tay area.

Concern is growing for a missing golden eagle which vanished in an a area of Perthshire known as a persecution hotspot for birds of prey.

The eagle’s tracking device stopped transmitting while it was roosting around Loch Tay, in the Strathbraan area.

It is the latest in a long line of similar disappearances, after more than 50 tagged eagles were reported missing across Scotland between 2004 and 2016.

Police Scotland has mounted an investigation, amid fears that the eagle has been killed.

However, estate bosses say no remains have been found suggesting that it could be flying around with a faulty tag.

This weekend, gamekeepers, shepherds and farmers joined a search for the bird, which sent out its last sat-tag signal nine weeks ago.

Tim Baynes, moorland director at Scottish Land and Estates said: “Local estates have been actively involved in efforts to find the golden eagle, which had been roosting in the area and was seen in the vicinity around mid-May.”

He said: “We have been told that eagles were seen shortly after the last ping from the satellite tag was recorded and eagles were frequently seen thereafter, but it is not possible to establish if one of them is the tagged eagle while they are flying around.

“Farmers, gamekeepers, shepherds and local people have been looking out to see if they can find any trace of this bird.”

Mr Baynes said: “Raptors are a common sight in the area, particularly buzzards, but also hen harriers and golden eagles. It is important to all of us that we establish what has happened to this young bird.”

He added: “We realise that when a tag stops transmitting there will be speculation as to whether it has died or has been killed.

“However, as searches have found nothing and eagles were recorded flying in the area shortly after the tag stopped transmitting and thereafter, this bird could well be still flying around with a malfunctioning tag.

“What we know at this stage is a tag stopped working and we are appealing for anyone who may have any information to contact Police Scotland.”

A spokesman for conservation charity RSPB Scotland said: “This is an active and ongoing police enquiry and it would be inappropriate to comment at this stage.”

 

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