South Scotland

Durisdeer raven and red kite poisonings investigated

Red kite
Image caption The Galloway Red Kite Trail is reckoned to be worth a large amount to the local economy

Police are investigating the poisoning of a red kite and a raven in hills near Durisdeer in Dumfries and Galloway.

The birds were found at different locations in the Lowther Hills.

RSPB Scotland's head of investigations Bob Elliot said incidents such as this put the recovery of the red kite in the region in jeopardy.

Pc John Jamieson, of Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary, appealed for help from the public with any information about the incident.

He said there had already been a "positive response" to appeals for information from the local community.

However, he urged anyone with further details about the poisonings to get in touch.

"The barbaric and indiscriminate practice of using illegal poisons in the countryside to target protected species is obviously both a serious wildlife offence and cannot be tolerated in a modern rural society," he said.

Mr Elliot, of the RSPB, said the case was of both conservation and economic concern.

"Red kites have just this year bred in Nithsdale for the first time since the 1830s, and cases such as this put the recovery of this species in Dumfriesshire in jeopardy," he said.

"Visitors to the Galloway Red Kite Trail have spent at least £21m in the region since 2004, with more than £2.6m spent by people who came specifically to see the kites.

"Illegal killing of our birds of prey doesn't just affect the conservation status of these magnificent birds, it also impacts on tourist perceptions of the area, and thereby the local economy."

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