Police have said they are following up “a number of inquiries” as they hunt for vandals who took a chainsaw to the perch of two nesting ospreys in north Wales on Friday.
The nesting platform had been set up by conservation programme Brenig Osprey Project in partnership with the North Wales Wildlife Trust.
The platform was host to a breeding pair that had already laid their first egg.
North Wales Police’s rural crime team is investigating and have said they believe the perpetrators arrived by boat at about 9.45pm and would have a “strong motive” to rid the lake area of ospreys.
The team tweeted on Sunday: “We are following up a number of inquiries and also using the latest technology to help us move this investigation in the right direction.
“Motives are a huge clue for this crime and a phone call today has given us one that we hadn’t considered.”
Rob Taylor, the team’s manager, said in a video appeal posted on Twitter: “Ospreys are a very rare, highly protected schedule 1 bird – the greatest protection in the UK.
“They’re very iconic in Wales, we literally until a few years ago only had one breeding pair and now we have a handful of breeding pairs and this was one of them.
“Their first egg had been laid yesterday.”
Mr Taylor said the team had footage of the act because there were cameras on the platform, adding: “We’re pulling all the stops out to try and catch the person or persons responsible for this.”
“Believe me they will receive the full force of the law if we do catch them.”
He continued: “The whole team are absolutely devastated and I am sure the whole community are – these birds give a lot of people a lot of pleasure.
“I can’t understand how anybody would do something like that.”
On Sunday, the North Wales Wildlife Trust tweeted an image of the two ospreys looking at the space where their nest should have been.
Brenig Osprey Project said they had cleared one of the nearby platforms that was not in use to see if the breeding pair would relocate to it, and potentially lay another egg.
They thanked the public for all their offers of financial support and volunteering.
In a Facebook group, it said: “Until we know whether they’ll use it, our protection measures will be mostly reactive and there may be limitations on what can be delivered at the new platform.
“Again, please bear with us whilst we get things in place – we’ll update everyone as soon as we possibly can.”
The group urged anyone with information to contact North Wales Police quoting crime reference number Z059732.
It finished: “We might be signing off now for a little while, and may take longer to get back to inquiries than normal.
“Please rest assured that this is because we are concentrating on the birds themselves – but we’ll do everything we can to keep you informed.”