A golden eagle believed to be part of a project to boost numbers in southern Scotland has been found dead.
The discovery was made by the gamekeeping team on the Queensberry Estate north of Dumfries on Saturday.
The bird is understood to be part of the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project (SSGEP).
Buccleuch – which runs the estate – said the bird had no obvious signs of injury and tests were being carried out to establish the cause of death.
The eagle was spotted on the ground on Saturday afternoon.
It was found to be dead and both police and the SSGEP were informed immediately.
Benny Higgins, executive chairman of Buccleuch, said: “Buccleuch work closely with the SSGEP in the local area and we are extremely proud of our record in recent years of helping rebuild the population.
“The bird was removed from the site on Saturday and is being tested to understand the cause of death.
“Our team will continue to offer any assistance it can on this matter.”
Police Scotland confirmed it had been informed about the incident.
“Around 16:20 on Saturday, 11 February, officers received a report that a golden eagle had been found dead in the Mennock area of Sanquhar,” it said in a statement.
“Inquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances.”
The SSGEP has been relocating birds to the region since 2018.
It started bringing chicks from the Highlands but has now begun introducing older birds.
Last year the number of golden eagles in southern Scotland hit its highest recorded level since the early 19th Century.
There were estimated to be more than 30 birds in an area where there were fewer than five breeding pairs just four years earlier.
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