Tests confirm red kites found dead were illegally poisoned
Police have launched an investigation following the birds' deaths in Dumfries & Galloway.
Tests have confirmed that two out of three red kites found dead in Dumfries & Galloway last month were poisoned.
Post-mortem examinations revealed that illegal pesticides were used to kill the two birds, with the results on the third not yet through.
The bodies of the birds were discovered near Kirkcudbright in early May.
Police have now launched an investigation and are working with the Scottish SPCA and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture to trace those responsible.
'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.'Detective constable Gary Story
Detective constable Gary Story said: "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."
Two of the birds were found dead by a member of the public on May 10. The third was discovered within 100 yards of the others on May 15.
The police are working with a number of land owners and farmers, as well as liaising with the RSPB.
They have carried out searches in the vicinity of where the birds were found in an effort to locate the poisoned bait.
DC Story added: "We are absolutely determined to put a stop to the deaths and apprehend those who are responsible."
In 2017, a study revealed that Galloway Kite Trail in Dumfries & Galloway had generated more than £8.2m for the local economy since its launch in 2003.
The trail, a self-guided tour circling Loch Ken, takes visitors to some of the best locations to see kites, as well as promoting activities and services provided by local businesses.
'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.'Scottish SPCA inspector Paul Tuchewicz
Following the deaths of the birds, Scottish SPCA inspector Paul Tuchewicz said: "On May 10, 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, 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 May 15, another dead kite was found within 100 yards of the first two birds. The cause of death is still to be determined."
If you have any information in relation to the death of the birds or knowledge over who may be using illegal pesticides in the area, call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.