Red kites are protected by law. Photo: Walter Baxter CC-BY-SA-2.0

Red kites are protected by law. Photo: Walter Baxter CC-BY-SA-2.0

Police have launched an investigation after the death of three red kites in Dumfries and Galloway.

Tests revealed two of the raptors found near Kirkcudbright were killed by a banned poison.

Officers said they were still awaiting the results of tests on the third bird. They said they have carried out searches in the area to find the poisoned bait responsible for the deaths.

The bodies were discovered in early May. Police Scotland are appealing to the local community for help in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

The officer leading the investigation, Detective Constable Gary Story, said: “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 and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture 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.

“The use of such poisoned bait is illegal and totally unacceptable and those responsible should understand that their unlawful activities not only serve to have devastating consequences on their intended targets but also on various other forms of wildlife.

“We are absolutely determined to put a stop to the deaths and apprehend those who are responsible and are currently working with a number of landowners and farmers as well as liaising with the RSPB to share information we have learned relative to each of the deaths.

“We have also carried out a number of land searches in the vicinity of where the birds have been located with a view of trying to locate poisoned bait at these locations. It is anticipated that further land searches will take place in the near future.

“I would urge anybody with any information relative to the deaths of the birds or anybody with knowledge of who may be using illegal pesticides in the Stewartry area to make contact with Police Scotland on 101. Alternatively, if you wish to pass information anonymously, please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Scottish SPCA inspector Paul Tuchewicz said: “On 10 May 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 [examination], 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.

“On 15 May, another dead kite was found within 100 yards of the first two birds. The cause of death is still to be determined.

“If anyone has any information, please contact Police Scotland or Crimestoppers.”

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Police appeal for sightings of missing Ben Alder walker
  2. Police appeal for information on missing Torridon walker Martin Rhodes
  3. Police appeal for information after mystery tent found near Beinn Eighe
  4. Police appeal for sightings of Glen Nevis camper David Munro
  5. Police appeal for sightings of missing Cairngorms walker James Robertson