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Missing golden eagle was shot, police believe

 A golden eagle that mysteriously vanished in the Borders during the autumn is now believed by police to have been shot. 

Police investigating the disappearance of the missing bird, named Merrick, are confident she died due to “human interference”. 

She was satellite-tagged, having come to the area in 2022 through the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project. The investigation found blood and feathers at the spot where she was last tracked on 12 October, west of Fountainhall between Heriot and Stow in the Borders. Officers are confident from “the nature and pattern of feathers and blood, and all other evidence, indicated that Merrick was shot and killed”. 

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) issued a statement saying it “shares the project’s anger at this awful news”. It added: “The SGA and its membership have been active partners in the success of this project to date, supplying donor eaglets and helping with provision of food for the young birds. 

“We will continue to do so, to help bring about the recovery of the species in the south of Scotland.” 

Last year it was reported the golden eagle population had reached record levels.