The most recently released number of dead birds found in Ross-Shire stands at 20, 14 of which are red kites and six buzzards.
An initial reward of £5,000 was offered by the RSPB to anyone who had information relating to the case, but the NFU, farmers, landowners, Scottish Land and Estates and the public have all donated to raise that total to £26,000.
Chief Inspector Ross MacKillop, local area commander for Ross and Cromarty, told the BBC, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank landowners, farmers and members of the local community in the Black Isle area for their patience, co-operation and assistance in dealing with this matter.
“All of our officers report that they received a great level of support and this is much appreciated. The most effective response to incidents like this is not just an appropriate police response but also a positive community response and that is what we continue to receive.”
The Scottish police, RSPB, SPSA and Scottish National Heritage have been working on the investigation into the found birds, some of which had been tagged as part of monitoring programs. Countryside organisations are encouraging anyone in the area with any knowledge of the incident to come forward.
Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman Alex Hogg said, “The discovery of some many birds in one area is unprecedented and alarming. Police Scotland deserve as much help as possible as they try to deal with the situation so we continue to encourage people to help them if they know anything. The indiscriminate use of poison is unacceptable and condemned by The Scottish Gamekeepers Association.”