Police investigate golden eagle’s disappearance – as officers believe bird ‘has come to harm’


Police are treating the disappearance of a golden eagle as suspicious and believe the bird has come to harm.

The bird of prey, named Merrick, was last seen in the Fountainhall area of the Scottish Borders, between Heriot and Stow, on 12 October.

The disappearance was reported a few days later to Police Scotland, which is investigating.

Detective Sergeant David Lynn, who is wildlife crime coordinator, said: “A full search of this area was carried out and officers believe the bird has come to harm and are treating its disappearance as suspicious.

“We are determined to protect these magnificent birds.”

The disappearance of Merrick is being treated as suspicious. Pic: Gordon Macpherson

The loss of Merrick – who is a satellite-tagged – is a blow to the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project, which aims to boost numbers of the bird species.

The conservation group said Merrick moved from Rottal Estate near Kirriemuir in the Angus Glens, a traditional sporting estate, to the Scottish Borders in 2022.

Before her disappearance, she was said to be “thriving and exploring” all over south of Scotland and Northern England.

She was photographed in Weardale and filmed in the Nidderdale area.

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Michael Clarke, chairman of the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project, said: “The disappearance of any golden eagle is extremely upsetting, but particularly when there is evidence to suggest that they have come to harm under suspicious circumstances.

“The project’s translocated eagles have captured the hearts and minds of many people, including children, who will all share in our utter shock, disappointment and sadness at the nature of Merrick’s disappearance.”

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