Tag: poisoning

Update | Poisoned Golden Eagle

Police Scotland have issued a statement about the Golden Eagle found poisoned near the notorious Invercauld Estate in March. This is the same estate that likes to talks about the amazing conservation work that it does (while misleadingly quoting figures about the huge numbers of endangered birds that breed there), but of which the RSPB’s Ian Thomson more accurately says in the quotation below, “Raptor persecution crimes on grouse moors in this area happen regularly. In 2019, a young eagle was photographed caught in a trap less than two miles from here, and in 2016, a line of illegal traps targeting birds of prey was found set across the hill less than three miles away.” Note in the statement below the very clear and unequivocal line: the bird had been illegally and intentionally poisoned. Grouse estates talk absolute bollocks about encouraging raptors and having zero tolerance for wildlife crime. For decades they have routinely targeted and illegally killed birds of prey because they threaten the profits they make selling farmed Red Grouse to shooters who have neither the integrity to question why there are so few raptors on grouse estates nor the self-awareness to wonder what will happen to their own reputations when the whole shitshow collapses and they are shown to have propped it up for so long.

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Scotland | Golden Eagle found poisoned on Invercauld Estate

Police Scotland have launched an appeal for information (good luck with that, wildlife criminals make the mafia seem like blabbermouths) after a Golden Eagle was found dead on a shooting estate in a so-called ‘national park’ that – how can we put this without being sued – has long been linked with wildlife crime and raptor persecution: the Cairngorms. There are very few details but apparently the bird ‘contained pesticide’. To ordinary folk, a pesticide might seem an odd thing to find in a Golden Eagle, but these extremely toxic chemicals (most of which are banned) are routinely used to eradicate native wildlife. We’ve covered numerous examples on this website involving everything from Buzzards, Sparrowhawks, Peregrines, White-tailed Eagles, Red Kites, Hen Harriers, and of course Golden Eagles. Most occur on or near shooting estates.

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What do multi-agency searches for raptor poisoners tell us?

According to a statement released by Durham Constabulary, on April 21st, Operation Sunbeam, which included members of the Barnard Castle Neighbourhood Policing Team, RSPB, Natural England and the National Wildlife Crime Unit, saw searches carried out at two properties in Teesdale. This follows an incident last year when two Buzzards were found dead in Teesdale woodland. Forensic tests indicated they were illegally poisoned with a banned pesticide. While it’s of course encouraging to see multi-agency efforts to tackle wildlife crime like this, it’s concerning that they seem to be becoming more regular. In January this year a joint agency investigation was set up to investigate the killing of a Buzzard. RPUK has pointed out there were three such raids in March this year alone: in Lincolnshire, Dorset, and Devon (the latter following the poisoning of yet another Buzzard). What does that tell us? That the efforts that are having to be put into tackling these crimes confirm just how serious and widespread the use of poisons to kill birds of prey really is.

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Poisoned kite first to fledge in Strathspey since 1880

Police Scotland has confirmed that a Red Kite found dead in the Ruthven area near Moy, Tomatinin in October, had been poisoned with a banned pesticide. So another day, another raptor poisoned with a banned pesticide. Which pesticide isn’t identified but it will be one of the eight listed on the Possession of Pesticides (Scotland) Order 2005, many of which are well-known to be favoured by certain employees of the shooting ‘community’ for their toxicity: Aldicarb, Alphachloralose, Aluminium phosphide, Bendiocarb, Carbofuran, Mevinphos, Sodium cyanide and Strychnine. Several of these chemicals are the base ingredients of the infamous ‘Nidderdale Cocktail’ which poisoned two spaniels in North Yorkshire in April this year. Inevitably this poisoning has led to a discussion about the licencing of grouse moors. Would a poisoning incident like this have taken place if an estate’s licence to sell Red Grouse to shooters was potentially be at risk? It’s difficult to realistically see what difference licencing would make in cases like this…

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Dead and Dying | Old World Vultures 101

Vultures have a bit of a poor reputation. They’re often thought of as little more than dirty scavengers with ‘faces only a mother could love’, typically photographed with their heads stuck inside a corpse or fighting over dead or dying animals. The reality, though, is more nuanced. play hugely important roles in many ecosystems, helping to reduce the spread of disease and bacteria by cleaning up carrion (vultures have very strong stomach acid, which allows them to feed on carcasses infected with anthrax and rabies unlike many other scavengers). In their absence, carcasses take three times as long to decompose, and contacts between mammal scavengers at carcasses increase three-fold. Sadly, though , Vultures are now one of the most threatened groups of birds on the planet.

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