Hundred dead ravens found illegally culled at Scots loch

A dog walker spotted dozens of carcasses floating on Loch Freuchie, west of Dunkeld. Picture: Jim Purchase
A dog walker spotted dozens of carcasses floating on Loch Freuchie, west of Dunkeld. Picture: Jim Purchase
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The discovery of around 100 dead birds in a Perthshire loch has been reported to police amid concerns of an illegal cull.

A dog walker spotted dozens of carcasses floating on Loch Freuchie, west of Dunkeld.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), which licenses the culling of crows and ravens in the area, was informed and has reported the incident to Police Scotland.

Brenda Henderson from Crieff told a newspaper: “They all looked like young crows. There must have been close to 100.

“It was quite alarming.

“It had to be a definite cull of some sort. I was very shocked to see this.”

The grim discovery was made fewer than five miles from Strathbraan in Highland Perthshire where licences to shoot 300 ravens were suspended last year due to public anger over culling.

An SNH spokeswoman said: “These are disturbing photographs and while it is difficult to ascertain the circumstances from these pictures alone, we have reported this incident to Police Scotland for further investigation.

“We strongly encourage anyone who believes they have witnessed wildlife crime to contact the police as soon as possible.

“In cases such as these we advise that dead birds should not be handled and pets be kept away. We will assist the police with any inquiries they make.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Our inquiries are at an early stage and we are working closely with partner agencies to establish the full set of circumstances.”

The grim discovery was made less than five miles from Strathbraan in Highland Perthshire.

SNH sparked outrage when it issued a licence to shoot 300 ravens in the Strathbraan area.

Strathbraan Community Collaboration for Waders wanted to control raven numbers in an effort to safeguard the dwindling population of nesting waders.

The find at Loch Freuchie is the latest in a string of incidents in Highland Perthshire in which birds have died or gone missing in suspected foul play.

Last month the remains of a hen harrier were found in an illegal trap on a Perthshire grouse moor.