POLICE have released an image of dead bird of prey chicks after suspected illegal activities at buzzard and goshawk nests near Tomatin.
Officers have appealed for information after nests were disturbed and adult birds disappeared in unexplained circumstances in the Moy Forest area.
"Nest disturbance and disappearance of the adult birds suggests that the nests have been the subject of illegal activity," said a police spokeswoman.
"This activity is likely to have taken place over a number of weeks. During May four buzzard nests have all been abandoned and one of these has evidence of disturbance. The incidents were reported to the police at the end of May.
"A further nest site containing breeding goshawks has also failed with adult birds appearing to have abandoned the nest without reason.
The forest is managed by Forestry Enterprise Scotland (FES), and the vulnerable nest sites were being monitored by the organisation.
Inspector Mike Middlehurst, Wildlife Crime officer, said: “Raptor persecution is an ongoing issue for the Highlands and we need the public to come forward and work with us to try and eradicate this blight on the Highlands.
"Police Scotland with partners in the Highland Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime has worked to increase public confidence in reporting wildlife offences which has resulted in increased reporting.
“In this case a partner agency has a clearly documented history of birds being at this location. I appeal to the public to come forward with information which may assist us in detection of wildlife crime which either relates to this incident or any other.”
Giles Brockman, Environment Manager for Forest Enterprise Scotland said: “I am really disappointed to see this case of deliberate persecution on the National Forest Estate. Forest Enterprise Scotland will work closely with partners to stop this unacceptable practice.”
Detective Chief Superintendent, Sean Scott, Police Scotland’s Wildlife Crime lead said: “Police Scotland is committed to combatting wildlife crime, working closely with partners nationally and locally to tackle the persecution of Scotland’s iconic birds of prey. We will continue to use the latest available investigative techniques and tools to pursue those who commit raptor crime."Anyone who has seen anything suspicious, or may have information about the incidents, should call police on 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.