Grampian Police are appealing for information after a shot peregrine had to be destroyed. The badly injured falcon was discovered in woodlands at the Pass of Ballater in the Cairngorms National Park on 27 April by a dog walker. Tests showed the bird had been wounded by a shotgun, with the pellets causing a serious fracture to its right leg.
Force Wildlife Crime Officer Dave MacKinnon says ” I am appealing for anyone, particularly in the upper Deeside area, who may have information as to who is responsible for shooting this protected bird. It is an absolute disgrace that anyone thinks they have justification for shooting a rare and specially protected bird.
There are a few known peregrine nest sites in the Ballater area. These birds like to nest on cliffs hence the reason for them choosing to trying to live and breed in upper Deeside.
This latest incident of raptor persecution in Grampian clearly indicates that some people are still prepared to break the law risking a custodial sentence, the reputation of their employers, their livelihoods and their right to possess firearms.”
This statement hints that the finger of suspicion might be pointing at someone who works in the shooting industry, perhaps on a shooting estate. The Pass of Ballatar runs through land owned by Invercauld Estate, according to a well-known geographical resource. However, this bird wasn’t neccessarily shot at the Pass of Ballater, it was just found injured there. It could have been shot somewhere else nearby – there are several other well-known shooting estates in this area close to Ballatar whose employees have also previously been convicted of wildlife crime.
Anyone with information should call Grampian Police on 0845 600 5700.
BBC news story here
More details here