A golden eagle which was found close to death after being shot would have endured tremendous pain and suffering, an animal welfare charity has said.
The Scottish SPCA is treating the injured bird after it was discovered by a member of the public in the north eastern area of Dumfries and Galloway, close to the Southern Upland Way.
The bird was at risk of starving to death if it had not been found.
Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse condemned the shooting of the bird as "completely unacceptable".
Chief superintendent Mike Flynn, of the Scottish SPCA, told how the creature was unable to fly after it had been shot, leaving it unable to search for food.
He branded the shooting "cruel" as he appealed for anyone with information about what happened to come forward.
Mr Flynn said: "This eagle has been caused tremendous pain and suffering. It became grounded after being shot, which caused the feathers on its tail and wings to break and meant it was unable to search for food.
"If the eagle hadn't been found on Saturday, it is very likely it would have starved to death."
He went on: "Golden eagles are extremely rare and it is very concerning that someone would deliberately try to injure or kill such a magnificent creature.
"As well as being cruel, injuring a wild bird is also a criminal offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 and we are very keen to speak to anyone who has information about this incident."