Police say no criminality after death of YouTube star osprey 'Laddie'

Officers were investigating after the bird of prey was found dead near Loch of the Lowes reserve in Perthshire.

Police say they are not treating the death of Scotland’s ‘most famous bird of prey’ as a criminal matter.

Officers were investigating after Laddie – one of the breeding pair of ospreys at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s (SWT) Loch of the Lowes reserve in Perthshire – was found dead near the site on May 3.

Laddie became a viral sensation after delighting birdwatchers on YouTube. He first appeared on the nest in 2012 and paired up with another osprey known as Lady.

The raptor, also known as LM12, returned to Loch of the Lowes on March 27 for the 13th consecutive year and reunited with his current mate, known as NC0, to the delight of staff at the reserve and thousands of enthusiasts monitoring the nest via the reserve’s live webcam.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust said the pair bonded immediately, with NC0 laying her first egg on April 17 and subsequently producing another two eggs over the course of the week.

But the promising start to the 2024 osprey breeding season was shattered when Laddie failed to return from a fishing expedition on Sunday, April 28

Earlier this month, police issued an appeal after the remains of a protected species of osprey was discovered near Loch of the Lowes and subsequently identified as Laddie (LM12).

A spokesperson for the Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “It is with a very heavy heart that we announce that LM12, a male osprey that has bred on the Trust’s Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve since 2012, was found dead near Dunkeld on Friday May 3.”

Police Scotland have ruled out foul play but say inquiries into the osprey’s death are ongoing.

A spokesperson said: “Following initial tests on the bird, no crime has been established at this time.

“Further tests and a post mortem will take place in due course to gather more information on this death and our enquiries continue.”

The Scottish Wildlife Trust say several other male ospreys are now showing an interest in the nest, and the resident female is still in the area and hunting well.

Ospreys are a protected species in the UK, with around 250 to 300 breeding pairs in Scotland.

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