Golden Eagle disappearance investigated by police


A satellite-tagged Golden Eagle from the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project has gone missing in the Scottish Borders – and police are treating it as suspicious.

The missing bird, a female nicknamed 'Merrick', came to the area in 2022 through the scheme. She was last seen on 12 October in an area to the west of Fountainhall. Police Scotland's Det Sgt David Lynn said that after a full search they believed the eagle had come to harm.

'Merrick' was brought to the south of Scotland last year to help boost numbers (South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project).

The loss of Merrick is a setback to the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project, which earlier this year reported record numbers of the raptor. Michael Clarke, who chairs the group, said: "The disappearance of any 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."

He said they remained "more resolved than ever" to ensure the Golden Eagle population in southern Scotland continued to thrive

Police Scotland said it was working with other organisations to gather information and establish the circumstances of the disappearance. The force urged anyone who could help with their inquiries to come forward.

The Scottish Gamekeepers' Association said it condemned wildlife crime in all its forms.

"Everyone who has supported SOSGEP will be extremely disappointed at this news," said chairman Alex Hogg. "As an organisation our support is reflected in the fact that 23 of the project's 28 donor eaglets have come from gamekeeper-managed estates. We remain proud of that involvement and will continue our support."