Police believe that a golden eagle missing from the Scottish Borders "has come to harm."
The bird of prey was reported missing on Wednesday 18 October.
Police are continuing their enquiries and are appealing for information from the public.
Detective Sergeant David Lynn, Police Scotland Wildlife Crime Coordinator, said: “Since the report was made, officers have been working with a range of partner agencies to establish more details and gather further information to establish the circumstances.
“The bird was last seen in the area to the west of Fountainhall, between Heriot and Stow on Thursday, 12 October. A full search of this area was carried out and officers believe the bird has come to harm and are treating its disappearance as suspicious.
“We are determined to protect these magnificent birds. We work closely with a number of partners to tackle wildlife crime, which can be challenging and complex to investigate. As our enquiry continues, I urge anyone with any information to contact us through 101 quoting reference number 1193 of 18 October. Alternatively, please contact Crimestoppers though 0800 555 111, where anonymity can be maintained.”
Dee Ward, chair of Scottish Land & Estates, added: “We’re hugely disappointed to hear the circumstances of Merrick’s disappearance. We fully support the Police Scotland appeal for information regarding this incident.
“What is particularly upsetting is that this is an eagle our own family estate donated to the project.
“We’re incredibly proud of the key role estates, land managers and gamekeepers have played in the success of the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project. This incident makes us all the more passionate about continuing that support.
“Many estates across Scotland are at the forefront of addressing our biodiversity crisis and are investing heavily to help wildlife and conservation alongside their other business activities – not to mention working with NatureScot and the Scottish Government to help deliver their Net Zero objectives. Initiatives like the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project are vital to ensuring that nature thrives.”
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