Search Results for: satellite-tags

Yet another Hen Harrier disappears in ‘suspicious circumstances’

The RSPB is reporting that yet another satellite-tagged Hen Harrier, this time a female called Yarrow, has disappeared in ‘suspicious circumstances’ (legalese for ‘we have a damn good idea what happened but right now we can’t prove it’). Using the rolling total on Raptor Persecution UK (as far as most people are concerned the most accessible – and certainly most current – talliers of just how many Hen Harriers have ‘disappeared’ or been confirmed illegally killed) that would make fifty-three since 2018! Of course birds die naturally but when they do their satellite-tags don’t die with them. They keep on transmitting, sending location data to researchers. Yet when Hen Harriers die their satellite-tags almost always in effect die too – because whoever kills them is removing the tag and burying it, wrapping it in lead, destroying it etc etc etc. Those are not the actions of for example birdwatchers or raptor researchers or anyone except wildlife criminals who do not want Hen Harriers on ‘their’ moorland. To be fair, that might not just be gamekeepers – some landowners don’t want them either.

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BOFF! THWACK! KAPOW! The Golden Eagle Satellite Tagging Group sorts out the SGA

In a typically thorough and measured Raptor Persecution UK post, Ruth Tingay discusses the ridiculous PE01750, a petition submitted by Alex Hogg on behalf of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) to the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform Committee. Ruth describes how papers have been published on the ECCLR Committee’s website, including a formal response to the petition by the Golden Eagle Satellite Tag Group (GESTG), a research group established in Scotland by scientists as “a forum for data exchange, tagging coordination and general cooperation”. In her words the GESTG “takes apart the SGA’s petition pretty much line by line and eviscerates it “. Boy, do they ever…

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Natural England and FOI data on Hen Harriers

Natural England comes in for a huge amount of flak because as the government’s conservation watchdog we need it to be effective – but it clearly isn’t. The appointment of Tony Juniper as NE Chair in March 2019 brought a brief flicker of hope that the department would take up the fight for wildlife again, but that hasn’t transpired. NE’s support for the slaughter of badgers to protect dairy farming is an especially egregious example, and there are far too many cases of NE supporting the shooting industry (they work very closely with shooting lobbyists BASC for example and have blocked access to countryside to help out a shoot adjacent to an SSSi in Wiltshire). Surely though NE aren’t deliberately hiding information from the public? After all, it’s we ‘the public’ that fund Natural England. Data on where these birds are being killed comes via satellite-tags that we the taxpayer are buying. We fund the staff working on collecting the data. And of course we pay them to run the epically stupid Hen Harrier ‘brood meddling’ scheme which sees Hen Harrier chicks moved from grouse moors to ‘protect them’ from illegal killing on grouse moors before re-releasing them back into the countryside when of course they fly back to the grouse moors and are illegally killed…

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Hen Harrier artwork auction

As we and other sites (most notably the must-read Raptor Persecution UK) have noted many times, the relatively recent roll-out of lightweight satellite tags has been crucial in revealing the extent of Hen Harrier and Golden Eagle persecution across the UK. Originally developed to plot the wanderings of birds of prey outside the breeding season, the tags have pointed to the huge scale of illegal killing of raptors by the grouse shooting industry. Now artist Dan Evans is donating an evocative iol paiting of a male Hen Harrier to a fundraiser orgainsed by the Nidderdale Raptor Study Group, in conjunction with the Northern England Raptor Forum, to support the world-renowned RSPB Investigations Team to buy more tags to track more Hen Harriers…

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Sat tag discovered in river wrapped in lead

The RSPB has just released news of a satellite-tag discovered in a river wrapped in lead sheeting. That’s right, an environmental toxin has been used to mute the signal from a tag previously fitted to a Golden Eagle that ‘vanished’ somewhere near a grouse moor several years ago and chucked into a river to sink into the same oblivion that some estate owners wish on all birds of prey. If it was a storyline in a novel it would be a nice twist, but probably too ‘out there’ for a reader to be convinced it could happen. At least until now…Oh, and check this post for what the laughable Scottish Gamekeepers Association are reported as saying…

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PROJECT CamTag

Last year a selection of campaigners were approached by a small team calling themselves 3rd Eye Technology (3ET) with a proposal to invent camera satellite tags. Led by a member of the birding community whom we’ve known personally for many years, 3ET stated that they intended “to produce a CamTag® to work in conjunction with existing satellite tags“. Collecting live photographic evidence to help with future investigations is a logical next step. It would also be useful, say 3ET, to use the technology to capture images of the birds’ day to day lives, learning more about their interactions with other harriers or predators for example.

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Dead Hen Harriers | 33 and counting

Raptor Persecution UK, the globally important blog covering crimes against birds of prey has covered the disappearance “in suspicious circumstances” of yet another two Hen Harriers on grouse moors in the Cairngorms National Park – this time two (of three) young birds satellite-tagged by Wildland, “a collection of estates in the Cairngorms and Sutherland, bought by the Polvsen family and being managed with an impressive vision for conservation”. Danish billionaires, the Polvsens are now Scotland’s largest private landowners and have pledged to “restore the Highlands for generations to come” – that includes iconic wildlife, but given the numbers of Hen Harriers killed on grouse moors they’ll have their work cut out…

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