Roseanna Cunningham condemned 'deliberate' and 'illegal' prosecution of birds of prey
Roseanna Cunningham told MSPs the Scottish Natural Heritage report gives “clear evidence” of illegal behaviour.
She pledged action to tackle the problem, including working with Police Scotland to pilot the use of special constables in Cairngorms National Park.
There were 131 golden eagles tagged in Scotland between 2004 and 2016. Ten died of natural causes, five were killed, and the tags on 41 birds stopped without malfunctioning.
The experts identified six areas where clusters of birds have disappeared in the Northern Monadhliaths, Angus Glens, East Grampians including Ladder Hills and Glaick Forest/Glen Tilt. Further clusters have been identified in the Upper Tay/Forth and South Loch Ness.
131 golden eagles were tagged in Scotland between 2004-2016
They concluded: “A relatively large number of the tagged golden eagles were probably killed, mostly on or near grouse moors where there is recent, independent evidence of illegal persecution.”
The tags on 41 birds stopped without malfunctioning and five were killed
A Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) spokesman said: “The illegal killing of any eagle is condemned wholeheartedly by the SGA and all law-abiding gamekeepers.”