Egg thefts drop to record low

The eggs of Golden Eagles are tageted by poachers
The eggs of Golden Eagles are tageted by poachers
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THE number of known people who are actively involved in stealing eggs from the nests of wild birds has dropped to a record low, new figures have revealed.

The UK National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) said the number of people it suspects are taking part in thefts has dropped from more than 60 four years ago to around 25.

Birds at risk of being stolen in Scotland include the Golden Eagle and Slavonian grebe.

Sea Eagles in Mull are the subject of round-the-clock CCTV surveillance to prevent thefts from their nests.

The NWCU is part of a group cracking down on the crime - the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW Scotland), which also includes the police and the RSPB.

The bird breeding season is under way - and the group has launched its annual crackdown on egg thefts.

Operation Easter is an annual national response to deter egg-thieves from targeting wild birds’ nests.

It began in Scotland in 1997, and sees its partners working together to share intelligence and ensure effective enforcement action against the egg thieves.

This has resulted in several seizures of egg collections across the UK.

Ian Thomson, head of investigations at RSPB Scotland, said: “Operation Easter has had tremendous success, over several years, in both detecting and deterring the activities of egg collectors in Scotland and further afield. However, we cannot afford to be complacent, and this outdated pastime continues to pose a threat to some of our rarest species such as Slavonian grebe and golden eagle. RSPB Scotland is very happy to support this operation.”