A group of 15 farmers in the Scottish Highlands is offering a £12,000 reward for information about the killing of birds of prey.

The reward matches that offered by the RSPB after 13 red kites and four buzzards were discovered north of Inverness in recent weeks, with tests showing several had been poisoned. The reward will be paid for information that leads to a successful prosecution.

See also: Farmers step up efforts for farmland birds

NFU Scotland’s regional board chairman for the Highlands, Jim Whiteford described the incident as “horrifying and disgusting”.

He added: “I am heartened by the news that a group of farmers and landowners, many of whom are NFU Scotland members, around the Conon Bridge area have been able to add a generous donation towards the conviction of whoever has done this horrific deed.

“I would urge anyone with any information to contact Police Scotland on 101.”

“We have been appalled by these tragic and senseless bird deaths. By pulling together as a community to do all we can to help, we want to send a strong and clear message that any form of wildlife crime is totally unacceptable. We would urge anyone who has any information to come forward.”
Alex Matheson

One of the landowners involved in collating the reward is Alex Matheson from the Brahan Estate, which operates a red kite centre in partnership with RSPB.

Mr Matheson said: “We have been appalled by these tragic and senseless bird deaths. By pulling together as a community to do all we can to help, we want to send a strong and clear message that any form of wildlife crime is totally unacceptable. We would urge anyone who has any information to come forward.”

Police are working with the RSPB, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and experts from the Scottish Agricultural College to investigate the deaths.