Hunting fears as rare golden eagles vanish in Scotland’s ‘Bermuda Triangle’

‘Highly suspicious’ disappearance of prized raptors prompts new legal measures

Several rare and highly-prized golden eagles have vanished in Scotland’s avian “Bermuda triangle” amid fears that they are being systematically hunted.

A fifth eagle disappeared without a trace in Cairnghorm National Park last month, a 100 square kilometre area between Moray and Aberdeenshire that has drawn comparisons with the Caribbean island for the regular disappearance of birds.

Angus, the latest victim of the unexplained phenomenon, was fitted with a satellite tracer that was last used to locate the eagle on 13 May.

The head of investigations for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland (RSPB), Ian Thomson, told a local paper: "It's becoming a bit of a Bermuda Triangle. These birds are disappearing as they travel around.

“It's exceedingly disappointing that they are disappearing so young in their lives before having the opportunity to breed. There have been proven cases of deliberate killing of birds in this area which makes it highly suspicious.

Four other birds of prey have gone missing in the last three years, beginning with a formerly-endangered white tailed eagle in 2010. More recently, three of the golden variety have vanished from the same nesting area, one of which was found to have died from illegal poisoning.

"Several birds have disappeared completely without trace in an area where there has been confirmed poisoning, Mr Thomson added. “It is of great concern. We have great legislation protecting these birds in this country but people continue to target them in a complete disregard of the law."

The news comes during announcements by the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) that its members have the knowledge to boost conservation efforts in an attempt to overcome accusations that land-owners regularly persecute the wild birds.

The association has recently expelled four members for wildlife offences, but Chairman Alex Hogg said the good work completed by many grouse managers was being "overlooked".

"The conservation work done by many of our members in this area is forgotten because of the actions of a few. They are willing to assist wider eagle conservation and have skills to be an asset," he said. "As well as educating, we have expelled members found to commit wrong-doing and where conflicts arise, as they will, we advocate lawful solutions.

Earlier this week, the Scottish government announced a series of policies designed to crackdown on offences against birds of prey. Prosecutors in the wildlife and environmental crime unit have been ordered to work with Scottish police and Scottish Natural Heritage has been asked to examine if general licences for trapping and shooting wild birds could be restricted.

A special group will also be established to review how wildlife crimes are treated within the legal system. It will examine whether the penalties imposed are tough enough to protect species including the golden eagle, hen harriers and red kites.

Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse, who unveiled the initiative, said: "Outdated, barbaric and criminal practices put at risk some of our most magnificent wildlife and have horrified a wide range of people across Scotland and those who love Scotland,

"Through these new measures, I am keen to maximise the opportunity for offences to be detected and offenders to be tracked down. I am determined to stop illegal persecution of raptors that continues to blight the Scottish countryside."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Biomass Sales Consultant

£20000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Company...

Java Developer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My Client are a successful software hous...

Senior Analyst - Financial Modelling

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This really is a fantastic chance to joi...

MS Dynamics NAV/Navision Developer

£45000 - £53000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: **MS DYNAMICS N...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game