THE Guardia Civil and their environmental protection counterparts, Seprona, are investigating the killing of a protected eagle this past weekend.

The killing took place in the village of Iznajar, south of Cordoba City, on Sunday.

The Eagle in question, a breeding male Bonelli’s Eagle named Nicasio, had been fitted with a GPS tracking device to monitor its location and was native to the neighbouring town of Loja.

The Group for the Rehabilitation of Autochthonous Fauna and its Habitat (GREFA) reported its disappearance and the authorities took over the investigation to discover the perpetrator.

According to the GPS data, the bird was circling high above the Iznajar reservoir when it was killed, and once the hunter knew what he had shot, he removed the GPS tracker and threw it into the lake to avoid detection.

The body of the raptor was then thrown into a nearby garbage container.

Investigators tracked down the location of the incident using last known GPS coordinates, as well as discovering feathers belonging to the bird at a popular hunting spot close to the reservoir.

After conducting numerous interviews, the Guardia Civil have arrested a 46-year-old man from Archidona for the crime of killing a bird protected under the Andalucian Catalogue of Threatened Species.

According to the report delivered by Seprona, the man corroborated the story given away by the GPS tracker but claims he shot the bird by accident.

He is now awaiting punishment at the judicial court of Granada where he faces a hefty fine and his hunting licence will likely be revoked.

Bonelli’s Eagles, named after the Italian ornithologist that discovered the species, are native to southern Spain and can grow to have a wingspan of over five feet.

Their population has been in great decline since the 1970s thanks to a decline in natural habitat, hunting and electrocution and are now classed as extremely endangered.

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