Cash pledges pour in to boost reward fund after red kite poisonings
As anger mounts over the killing of raptors on the Black Isle, public donations have boosted a reward fund for information to more than Â£26,000.
Outraged nature-lovers have donated more than Â£4,000 towards a reward for information about the death toll, which now stands at 14 red kites and five buzzards.
More than 160 people have contributed to RSPB Scotlandâ€™s Justgiving site since it was set up last Friday.
The individualsâ€™ contributions will be added to a pledge of Â£12,000 made by a group of farmers and landowners from the Moray Firth area. An original fund of Â£5,000 was matched by an anonymous donor.
Duncan Orr-Ewing, head of species and land management for RSPB Scotland, said: â€œThe illegal killing of these birds has disgusted many in the local community and beyond, and we hope that by working together we can identify those responsible and help to eliminate wildlife crime.
â€œWe would also like to thank everyone who has given so generously on our Justgiving site in an effort to help bring those responsible to justice. The public outrage over the deaths of these birds is clearly reflected in the comments posted by those donating. Many more will share their anger and frustration and back the repeated calls for tough penalties against the perpetrators. We again urge anyone who has any information to contact Police Scotland as soon as possible.â€
Red kites were reintroduced to the Black Isle, north of Inverness, as part of a programme that began in 1989. Here are some of the comments left by people who have donated.
Tim Rouse: â€œLet this be a watershed moment, when wildlife crime starts getting tackled in earnest. Don’t let the Highlands become another wildlife desert.â€
Greer Hart: â€œTime to make the politicians and judiciary act more on behalf of the humane majority, in wishing to have wildlife criminals sought out and punished by imprisonment.â€
Jane Richards: â€œThis is a shocking crime. Hope you find those responsible and they don’t escape with just a risible fine.â€
Chris Roberts: â€œLet us hope it is a turning point.â€
Damion Willcock: â€œEnough is enough.â€