by Ruth Brooker
It is suspected that a young golden eagle died after its legs were broken by an illegal trap.
On 5 May 2012, the Scottish Agricultural College laboratory in Aberdeen carried out a post-mortem examination. This concluded that the raptor had suffered two broken legs due to trauma “that could be consistent with an injury caused by a spring trap” and that these injuries “would prevent the bird from being able to take off”.
Golden eagles are protected in certain areas of Scotland, so many have been fitted with a satellite transmitter by local landowners in conjunction with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
This eagle’s data showed that it had not moved for several days; its body was discovered lying face down with its wings folded back on a quiet country road near Aboyne in Deeside.
However, there are inconsistencies in this case regarding the movements of the eagle. Its satellite data showed that on 28 April 2012 at 6am it was located on a hillside overlooking Glen Esk.
Over the next 15 hours, the satellite readings showed that the bird did not move at all until 9pm that night. By 4am the next morning, it had moved 10 miles north to the roadside in Deeside where its body was discovered.
The Scottish Gamekeepers Association will open its own inquiry into this case that it says has “a number of irregularities”. An Association spokesman commented that “during the night, when eagles do not readily fly, it has inexplicably moved to a new position, hidden under a tree and close to a road. Here, over the next four days, this eagle suffered a lingering death”.
The RSPB are calling upon anyone who can provide information on this case to contact the wildlife crime officer at Tayside or Grampian Police. They are also offering a £1,000 reward for information.
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