The location where the dead red kite was found in July (now confirmed to have been poisoned – see earlier blog below) was given by Tayside Police as “Strathtay, near Aberfeldy”, Perthshire. I mentioned a number of sporting estates in my earlier post that have their addresses in this area. I’ve since investigated further and look what I’ve found –
According to Tayside Police’s press release about the latest dead red kite, over the last 15 years the following have been found poisoned in the same area where the recent red kite was found dead – 9 buzzards, 2 sparrowhawks, 2 crows, 1 common gull, 1 tawny owl, 1 pole cat and 1 domestic cat. In addition, they say 12 poisoned baits have also been found.
Compare the above list of dead animals & poisoned baits with the following list of dead animals & poisoned baits, which was reported in the RSPB’s Legal Eagle newsletter (January 2005, #43, page 3) – “In 14 separate incidents since 1998, 16 poisoned victims (9 buzzards, a cat, a tawny owl, 2 sparrowhawks, a common gull, a pole cat and a crow and 12 poisoned baits [rabbits, woodpigeons and a pheasant]) have been found, with traces of the pesticides mevinphos, carbofuran and alphachloralose“.
The 2005 RSPB report relates to the Edradynate Estate, which is situated in Strathtay, near Aberfeldy. Coincidence? You decide.
Nobody was convicted for the earlier alleged offences at Edradynate Estate thanks to the apparent chronic mishandling of the prosecution case. The Edradynate Estate head gamekeeper (aged 55) and underkeeper (22), both of Aberfeldy, were arrested in 2002 and charged with nine offences relating to the use of poisoned baits and also bird cruelty, including the use of spring traps. On 22 July 2004, two years after the original arrests and 13 court hearings later, the Fiscal dropped the case against them at Perth Sheriff Court. A spokeswoman for the Crown Office admitted the time taken to prepare the case for a trial had been a major factor in the decision to scrap it.
Link to RSPB Legal Eagle #43 here: legal_eagle_43_Jan2005
News report about the failed 2004 court case here: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Fury+after+’bird+killers’+walk+free.-a0119726014
and here: http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/nature/RSPB-Fury-as-gamekeepers-escape.2548762.jp