28 OCTOBER 2017 • 4:07PM
Sir Ian Botham has reopened a row with one of Britain’s leading wildlife charities, accusing it of being "dishonest" and "milking" the disappearance of a rare bird of prey.
The former England cricketer said the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) had “milked it” when a bird in Scotland, believed to have been a golden eagle, went missing in March, and then “swept it under the carpet” when a landowner claimed to have spotted the bird a month later.
The RSPB maintains the eagle is still missing and accused Sir Ian, an advocate of grouse shooting, of “PR spin”.
The case bears similarities to an incident in February when the charity revealed that a rare hen harrier, also thought to have been hunted illegally, had been seen alive and well after going missing for 10 months.
Asked what changes he would make to the organisation in an interview with the Shooting Gazette, Sir Ian said: "I think they [the RSPB] need to be more honest.