Police appeal after protected bird of prey poisoned

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Police investigating the death of a protected bird of prey have said it was poisoned.

The body of the red kite was found by a member of the public in the Durham Hill Lane area of Kirkpatrick Durham in Castle Douglas on 20 January.

An investigation has been launched and officers involved in it have appealed for information.

PC Alan Steel, a specialist wildlife crime officer, said the illegal use of poison can be deadly for wild birds.

He said: "Due to the inherent scavenging nature of red kites, they are particularly vulnerable to the illegal use of poisonous bait.

"Red kites are legally protected and Police Scotland works closely with partner agencies, including the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice."

RSPB Scotland's head of investigations said illegal poison use can also harm pets and people.

"Numbers of detected cases of illegal poisoning of our birds of prey have, thankfully, been very low in recent years, so this case is of serious concern," Ian Thomson added.

"The Galloway Red Kite trail, just a few miles from where this bird was killed, is a popular tourist attraction and of great benefit to the local economy."

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