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Investigation launched after red kites illegally poisoned

Credit: PA Images

Police are appealing for information after three red kites were found dead in Kirkcudbright in early May.

A post mortem examination confirmed that two of the birds had been illegally poisoned and results of the third are yet to be confirmed.

An investigation has been launched and remains ongoing in respect of the deaths of these birds and we have been working very closely with the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) to establish as much information as possible relative to the deaths.

What we have established is that illegal pesticides have been used to kill two of the birds. The pesticides identified have been banned in the UK for many years but despite this there would still appear to be those who leave out poisoned bait, whether that is to target crows, foxes, raptors or other wildlife.

– Detective Constable Gary Story
Credit: PA Images

“On 10 May 2019 we were contacted by a member of the public who found two deceased red kites within 50 yards of each other in Kirkcudbright.

“One of the birds had a tracker and we were able to check the last known location of the kite, which was a nest. The nest was being used by ravens when we found it.

“After post mortem, the birds were found to have been poisoned with a banned substance. Such acts are a criminal offence and the Scottish SPCA is determined to put a stop to wildlife crime by working with Police Scotland and others.

– Scottish SPCA inspector Paul Tuchewicz

Red kites were saved from national extinction by one of the longest-running protection programmes. They've been successfully re-introduced in England and Scotland.

The birds are listed under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, stating it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb at, on or near an ‘active’ nest.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland or Crimestoppers.