Four buzzards are among the birds of prey found dead. Photo: David Dixon CC-BY-SA-2.0

Four buzzards are among the birds of prey found dead. Photo: David Dixon CC-BY-SA-2.0

Police in the Highlands have again appealed for information after more dead birds of prey were found in an area near Conon Bridge.

The total of dead raptors now stands at 16, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has offered a £5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction of the perpetrator.

Four buzzard bodies and the remains of 12 red kites have now been discovered in a two-square-mile area on the edge of the Black Isle, south-east of Conon Bridge around Conon Brae, Balvail, Leanaig and Alcaig.

Tests have confirmed some of the birds have been poisoned.

Police said that if anyone finds any more dead birds or animals in the area they are asked to note its location and inform them on 101. “Under no circumstances should anyone touch or attempt to recover any dead animal,” a Police Scotland spokesperson said.

Duncan Orr-Ewing, head of species and land management for RSPB Scotland said: “This appalling incident highlights the very real threat illegal poisoning poses to fantastic species like red kites.

“The vulnerable Black Isle population in particular has been repeatedly hit by deaths due to illegal poison use.

“The Chilterns population in southern England is nearly ten times bigger, yet both projects started at the same time in 1989 with the same number of birds released into the wild.

“That is a shocking indictment on behaviour of some in this part of rural Scotland.

“We are offering a £5,000.00 reward for information that leads to a successful conviction.

“We urge anyone with information relating to this incident to contact Police Scotland so the perpetrators can be identified and brought to justice.”

Anyone with information can ring police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or contact the Crimestoppers website.

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