Tag: raptor persecution

Poisoned Golden Eagle WAS found on a grouse moor

Of course it was, but how do we know for certain? Because thanks to Ian Thomson, a man who knows more about ‘sorting fact from fiction’ when it comes to raptor persecution than probably anyone else on the planet (the inevitable result of a career spent investigating the endless crimes committed by Scotland’s grouse estates), there is unequivocal clarification that the Golden Eagle found dead on the notorious Invercauld Estate in the so-called Cairngorms National Park in March was indeed found on a grouse moor – and not on tenanted farmland, which was how estate manager Angus McNicol appeared to be trying to spin the story a few days ago (to quote from newspapers covering the discovery, “The area where the bird was found is on a let farm in an area which is managed for sheep farming and is on the edge of an area of native woodland regeneration. It is not managed for driven grouse shooting”). Ian, who is directly involved in the investigation and would not risk his reputation and integrity by simply making things up (in stark contrast with the grouse shooting industry of course), left a comment on the Raptor Persecution UK blog which firmly contradicted Mr McNicol’s ‘assertion’.

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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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Wales | Osprey platform cut down

You may remember being told to try to always see the good in people. Apparently it’ll be in there somewhere if you look hard enough. If you see the best in everyone, you will be happier and you’ll make others happier too, according to various vacuous online ‘goodness gurus’. Seriously, let’s be honest here: some people are just too far gone for any of that to apply. Just how deep would you have to dig to find any scrap of goodness in someone who deliberately takes a chainsaw to a nesting platform built for one of our rarest birds – a species that some of the hardest working and innovative conservationists in the country have dedicated substantial portions of their lives to bringing back to the UK, that tourists from Scotland to Wales, from Rutland water to Poole Harbour have thrilled to, that were wiped out by ignorance, greed, and exploitation and are only just now beginning to slowly recover their numbers. No, there really can’t be any goodness in a man (and it will be a man) who takes a boat onto a lake under cover of darkness and commits a crime that will be breaking the hearts of every volunteer, researche, and scientist who has worked so extraordinarily hard to bring the Osprey back to its former home…

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Operation Wingspan | Raptor Persecution

Back in December last year we wrote about the launching of Operation Wingspan, an initiative to tackle wildlife crime in Scotland based on the seven wildlife crime priorities set out by the UK Wildlife Crime Tasking and Co-ordination Group and the National Wildlife Crime Unit. A few months on and Operation Wingspan has produced a new video aiming to help tackle raptor persecution in Scotland. Anyone already interested in the awful rates of persecution of birds of prey on Scotland’s grouse moors will probably not find anything new in this video, but then it almost certainly isn’t aimed at those in the know. This video, it seems to us, is meant to bring raptor persecution to a new audience, because as has been said at umpteen Hen Harrier Days, raptor conferences, and campaign marches the general public (depressingly given the coverage) aren’t even entirely sure what a ‘raptor’ is, let alone the fact that gamekeepers are under orders to eradicate them from the uplands and from woodlands all over the UK.

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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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Red Kite shot near Cotswolds shooting estate

A Red Kite (a protected species of course was shot close to the village of Salperton in the Cotswolds, about eight miles east of Cheltenham, on March 12th. Who would want to shoot a Red Kite? There are few details at the moment, but interestingly the local police released a tweet (see above) with two hashtags that presumably suggest where their thoughts lie: farming and shooting. alking of the shooting industry, anyone living locally will have had beels rung by the mention of Salperton. Yes, it is a village near Cheltenham, but it’s also the location of Salperton Park, and if you Google ‘pheasant shoot salperton’ – well, suddenly a possible connection between pheasants and blasting down a Red Kite (which will possibly have been scouting out a nesting territory in March when the shooting took place) emerges…

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JustGiving | Peter Howe’s Project #camtag

The licencing of grouse moors is now the default position for many conservationists working to stop the illegal persecution of Hen Harriers, and while we (mostly) respect the conservationists involved we have very, very little respect for the idea of sanctioning grouse shooting, permitting the ongoing slaughter of native predators in traps and snares, and hoping against hope that the vague threat of an unenforceable licencing system will stop highly experienced wildlife criminals that have been getting away with it for years from continuing on down the same path. Call us cynical, but it seems to us that licencing is exactly what the raptor persecutionists want: once they’ve ticked the box and been granted licences, that will effectively be the end of trying to stop grouse shooting. And while there is grouse shooting there will always be the illegal killing of Hen Harriers, Golden Eagles, Goshawks and whatever avian threat estates imagine might impact their profits in the years to come…Is there an alternative? Step forward Peter Howe, founder of 3rd Eye Technology (3ET), and his ingenious idea to develop a tiny camera that could sit alongside the satellite tags that are fitted to more and more birds of prey.

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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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