Update on ‘missing’ or dead satellite-tagged raptors: golden eagle, Grampian

Let’s start with the sat-tagged golden eagle that was found dead, with two broken legs, in a lay-by in Aboyne in May. This is the eagle whose death was not reported until four months after it was found dead (see here). The evidence suggests this bird was caught in a trap on a grouse moor near to Brechin, Angus and was moved, while still alive, in the middle of the night and dumped in a lay-by in Aberdeenshire and left to die.

This incident prompted widespread outrage and the new Environment Minister, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, was apparently inundated with letters of complaint. Most people who wrote have now received a response, probably all similar to this one (see here). The Minister’s response provoked almost as much fury as the actual death of this eagle, and particularly the second paragraph:

I agree that the media reports were a terrible story of the suffering of a young golden eagle. The reports may suggest that the circumstances of this incident were suggestive of an offence however there is no hard evidence and it remains possible that there is an alternative explanation. It is therefore inappropriate for me to comment”.

We have since received unverified information (but from several independent sources) that the police have accepted the veterinary evidence that showed this eagle was indeed caught in a trap. We also understand that this veterinary evidence has been passed to the SGA and that apparently they are not disputing the findings (although they have yet to make a public statement – we wait with interest to hear about the findings of their own ‘inquiry’ (see here).

Why then did the Environment Minister’s response suggest that this eagle’s death was not neccessarily linked to a criminal offence? What possible “alternative explanation” is there to account for the death of this eagle? We’d like to hear it, and we’d also like to see details of the veterinary report. If these details can be released to the SGA then they should be released into the public domain for everyone to see. Send your email request to: ministerforenvironment@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

3 thoughts on “Update on ‘missing’ or dead satellite-tagged raptors: golden eagle, Grampian”

  1. We might have to wait for the results of the SGA’s investigation a wee bit longer….they are all still looking for the lost dug.

    1. In order to find the lost dog (or more likely its dead body), all they would have to do is a search of all the poisoned baits or illegal traps that have been set. Or maybe it was shot by a gamekeeper that thought it was a fox and the gamekeeper has done what comes naturally when he has done something wrong – bury the evidence.

  2. Burnistoun sketch ?

    Scene; A police interview room in deepest Scotland, an empty cell, one table with dead Golden Eagle on it and two chairs.

    Characters; Hoody, maybe that should be, Tweedy gamekeeper and wildlife crime officer.

    Police officer. ” Noo, tell me the truth pal, did you kill this eh…. big, broon parrot here?”

    Hoody gamie. “Naw”

    Police officer, ” OK, yer free tae go. Oh, afore ye go…… what aboot that haunch o’ venison ye mentioned?”

    Mmmm talk about burning all your bridges!

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