Golden eagle 'disappears in suspicious circumstances' in Scotland

Golden eagle 'disappears in suspicious circumstances' in Scotland
Golden eagle 'disappears in suspicious circumstances' in Scotland

A golden eagle has disappeared in 'suspicious' circumstances in Scotland.

Police searches have been carried out on an estate in Aberdeenshire after data stopped coming through from the satellite-tagged young male in early March.

See also: Golden eagle is Scotland's favourite wild animal

See also: England's last golden eagle feared dead

Speaking to the BBC, RSPB Scotland Head of Investigations Ian Thomson said: "As soon as we became aware of this bird's disappearance, we notified Police Scotland, in line with PAW Scotland (Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime in Scotland) protocols, who concurred that the circumstances were suspicious.

"These tags are very reliable and the sudden cessation of transmissions strongly suggests the bird has died.

"Had the bird succumbed to natural causes, we would expect to continue to receive data and to be able to locate and recover the body of the eagle with ease."

However, the North Glenbuch Estate said it was "shocked by the clear implication" that the estate may have been involved in its disappearance.

Laura Sorrentino, director of the estate, said she believed their head gamekeeper had actually filmed the eagle in question in the area on this week.

She said: "RSPB suggests that the bird has died and that no data had been recorded from its transmitter since March 5 or 6 when it was last recorded in the vicinity of our estate.

"The estate head keeper filmed what he firmly believes to be the eagle in question yesterday afternoon at 2.17pm and that film was sent to the wildlife crime officer later yesterday. We will also be contacting RSPB."

According to the Barrhead News, Mr Thomson added: "The circumstances surrounding the disappearance of eagle 338 are similar to a number of previous cases currently being considered by an independent review of satellite-tagged birds of prey commissioned by the Scottish Government.

He urged anyone with information "about the disappearance of this bird to contact the police".