South Scotland

Scottish Borders bird of prey shootings investigated

Goshawk Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption RSPB Scotland said there were only about 150 breeding pairs of goshawks in the country

Police wildlife crime officers are investigating the shooting of two birds of prey in the Borders.

The first incident happened on 14 February when a dead goshawk was found on land near Abbey St Bathans and it was reported to RSPB Scotland.

Forensic analysis confirmed the bird had been shot and police were contacted on Thursday.

Officers are also probing the shooting of a goshawk found dead by a dog walker near Eddleston Quarry on 2 March.

Police have appealed for information about both incidents.

'Protected species'

Wildlife crime co-ordinator, PC Steven Irvine, said: "An inquiry was already under way into the shooting of the goshawk in March and we are now conducting inquiries into the earlier shooting of the bird in February.

"These birds are a protected species and unlawfully killing them is a very serious offence.

"Anyone who can assist with these investigations should contact police immediately."

Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland's head of investigations, said goshawks were one of Scotland's rarest breeding raptors, with only about 150 breeding pairs.

"Despite the fact that most of their diet consists of crows, woodpigeons and rabbits, species that are perceived as pests by some farmers and gamekeepers, cases of illegal persecution against this species are not uncommon, depriving people of the opportunity to see this charismatic and spectacular bird of prey," he said.

"We join with the police in asking that if anyone has information about this crime, or other raptor persecution incidents, they contact Police Scotland."