Tayside and Central Scotland

Charity 'devastated' after hen harrier illegally killed in Perthshire

Rannoch Image copyright RSPB Scotland
Image caption Rannoch, who was tagged as a chick in 2017, was found dead in the spring trap in May

A conservation charity said it was "devastated" after a satellite-tagged hen harrier was illegally killed on a Perthshire grouse moor.

The remains of the female bird were found by RSPB Scotland in a spring trap in May.

A post-mortem on the bird, which the charity called Rannoch, said it had experienced "significant unnecessary suffering."

The bird was tagged by the RSPB's Hen Harrier LIFE programme in July 2017.

Her movements were followed until November 2018 when she stopped moving in an area of moorland between Aberfeldy and Crieff.

The charity said the actions of the person responsible were "reckless and indiscriminate."

'Absolutely devastated'

LIFE project manager Dr Cathleen Thomas said: "We are absolutely devastated that Rannoch has been a victim of crime.

"The life of this beautiful bird was cut short in the most horrific way due to human actions.

"Satellite tagging has revealed the amazing journeys made by hen harriers but also uncovers how their journeys end."

The post-mortem report said: "The bird was trapped by the left leg in a spring trap at time of death.

"Death will have been due to a combination of shock and blood loss if it died quickly or to exposure and dehydration or starvation if it died slowly."

A Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) spokesman said: "As an organisation, where there is proven criminality, we share the abhorrence felt when a bird of prey is illegally killed.

"If such a case involves an SGA member, we take firm and appropriate action by revoking membership, as we have done on seven occasions in the past seven years.

"In this case, we understand that the estates co-operated fully with police, and police did not treat anyone as a suspect."

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