New force to fight wildlife crime

Image caption, The new group will help protect birds like golden eagles

A new partnership to fight wildlife crime has been launched in Tayside.

The group will help tackle crimes ranging from poisoning golden eagles to the torture and death of more common animals, Tayside Police said.

The Tayside Partnership against Wildlife Crime was launched by Scottish Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham.

It will bring together a number of bodies concerned with upholding wildlife conservation law.

Those involved include police wildlife crime officers, Scottish Natural Heritage, the RSPB and landowners.

'Vital tool'

Supt Ewen West, from Tayside Police, said: ''Wildlife crime can involve anything from poisoning a golden eagle to cracking open freshwater pearl mussels.

"Rare species are put at risk, more familiar animals and birds suffer cruel torture and death.

"Wildlife crime threatens a far greater range of creatures and plants than people imagine, even damaging the environment on which they depend."

Ms Cunningham said the group would create a "safer environment" for all plants and animals in the region.

"The partnership is a vital tool in enforcing wildlife crime legislation and will also build on the good work already done in the area through Operation Countrywatch," she said.

"There is no place for crimes against wildlife in a modern Scotland."

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