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Rare Hen Harrier Shot And Killed
The young female hen harrier had been fitted with a satellite transmitter as a chick as part of the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project.
Scientists monitoring the bird, named Annie, became concerned in mid March, when data confirmed she had stopped moving.
After extensive searching, RSPB Scotland Investigations staff, liaising with Police Scotland and Natural England, recovered the body of the bird from a remote moorland in South Lanarkshire.
It was sent to the SAC Veterinary Centre laboratory near Edinburgh where it was confirmed that it had been killed by a gunshot.
RSPB Scotland yesterday appealed for information on the crime.
Director Stuart Housden said: “It is little wonder these magnificent raptors continue to be absent from large areas of our uplands.
“This case clearly shows what happens to some of our hen harriers when they leave protected nesting areas and move around the UK’s uplands.
“This is just the latest incident of criminal persecution of this species, following the confirmed shooting of birds in Aberdeenshire, Moray and Ayrshire in the last two years.”
He added: “RSPB Scotland urges anyone with information that will help identify the perpetrator of this crime to contact Police Scotland by dialling 101 as soon as possible.”
The hen harrier is one of the UK’s most threatened raptor species and declined by 20 per cent in the period 2004 to 2010. Very few pairs now nest on areas managed for driven grouse.