The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA)has sent a letter to environment minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP, following the RSPB’s assertions that a golden eagle found in Deeside in May 2012 was killed following persecution. The eagle had suffered two broken legs, which the RSPB claims were sustained by being caught in illegal traps.

The SGA’s letter expresses the organisation’s concerns at the incident being recorded as a crime, and outlines its own investigations. Its report maintains that traps used by the estate on which the bird was injured were Mark 4 Fenn traps, which the SGA believes are too weak to smash an eagle’s legs.

Furthermore, the likelihood of an eagle getting both of its feet into any of those traps at the same time is very small.

One explanation offered is that the eagle could have flown into a deer fence, thus breaking its legs. However, the SGA does admit that without the full post-mortem report, X-rays and all the telemetry data, it is difficult to come to a definitive analysis.

The rest of this article appears in the 6th March issue of Shooting Times.

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