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Tayside Red Kite Found Shot

Tayside Police are appealing for witnesses after an injured red kite was found half a mile north of the village of Braco in Perthshire. A man walking his dog on the morning of Wednesday 2 December found the bird. It flapped into a burn, where he managed to rescue it.  An x-ray (see picture below) has now shown that the bird had been shot.  A wing was broken and the bird had five shotgun pellets lodged in its body.

Alan Stewart, Tayside Police Wildlife Crime Officer, said: “A red kite is so distinctive with its large slim body and forked tail that it must be almost impossible to confuse it with any legitimate target such as a crow, pheasant or pigeon. These iconic birds are just beginning to get a foothold in Perthshire as a result of a number of re-introduction projects. I’d appeal to any person who may have witnessed the kite being shot that he or she get in touch with the police.”

The severely injured kite was taken to the Inglis Veterinary Centre in Dunfermline, where its broken wing was repaired and five shotgun pellets were removed from its body.

Michael McDonnell, the Argaty Red Kites Officer, who looked after the bird before it was taken to the vets, said: “This is an absolute disgrace. Shotguns do not have an extensive range and the shear volume of pellets within the bird means it must have been shot at close range. A red kite’s appearance is so unique that it couldn’t be mistaken for anything else, so it must have been a deliberate act.”

He added: “This bird was originally from nest at Argaty, but was sent to Aberdeen as a chick as part of the re-introduction programme for that area. It is fair to say that this is not the ideal homecoming for the youngster – he is very lucky to be alive!”

Bob Elliot. Head of Investigations for RSPB Scotland said: “This is, yet again, a case of blatant environmental vandalism in the sorry ongoing saga of illegal killing of birds of prey. Landowners and conservationists have collaborated in recent years with much hard work that has helped to re-establish these wonderful birds in our countryside, so this latest shameful wildlife crime is highly regrettable. Someone in the local community must know something that may shed light on this incident, and I would appeal to anyone with any information to get in touch with Tayside Police straight away.

The bird is now in the care of the Scottish SPCA wildlife rescue centre where it will be looked after until a decision can be made on whether it makes a full enough recovery to be returned to the wild.

Any person who has any information should contact Tayside Police on 0300 1112222.  Alternatively they can contact Mr Stewart direct on 01738 892650 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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