Farewell to one of the good guys

One of the leading lights in the fight to protect sea eagles in Western Scotland has sadly passed away.

Finlay Christine was a police officer with Strathclyde Police when he set up the Mull Eagle Watch initiative in 1991. The project was designed to protect the recently reintroduced white-tailed eagles from illegal egg-thieves and other forms of disturbance by providing around-the-clock protection of their nests.

Working in partnership with other agencies (Strathclyde Police, RSPB, Forestry Commission Scotland, SNH and the Mull & Iona Community Trust), as well as hoards of volunteers (both from local communities and from far-afield), this project has gone from strength to strength and the high density of breeding sea eagles on Mull today is testament to their success. Mull is now known as ‘Eagle Island’ and visitors flock to the Sea Eagle viewing hides every year, bringing in over £5 million to boost the local economy (see here).

In his retirement year of 2009, Finlay’s work was deservedly recognised when he was awarded the RSPB President’s Award (see here) and PAW Scotland’s Wildlife Crime Coordinator of the Year Award (see here).

Those of us fortunate to have known him enjoyed the company of a warm, passionate and dedicated man who didn’t seek the limelight or plaudits; he just wanted the sea eagles to be given every chance. He achieved that with some style.

Our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Sgt MacDonald presented a WTE print to Finlay on his retirement in 2009. Photo C. Davies.
Sgt MacDonald presented a WTE print to Finlay on his retirement in 2009. Photo C. Davies.

6 thoughts on “Farewell to one of the good guys”

  1. I didn’t know Finlay, nor did I ever meet him, but for his work on Mull I am truly grateful. The Eagle Watch initiative proved that wildlife-watching is a big earner and employer in rural locations and his passion for the eagles and the project showed that conservationists and landowners/managers can and will work together for the common good.

  2. Yes, I met Finlay once and he was an inspiration. Showed me around Mull for the day. A person like him will always live on in the great work that he did and I am sure he will be missed by so many.

  3. I trained with him at the Scottish Police College. He was a fit, determined and often wily officer, who I understand used his skills dealing with those who abuse animals and his white tailed eagle, Sad to hear, only now, in this November. as we are set to remember 193 officers and staff who served with Strathclyde Police, who died in the first 18 months of the present epidemic.

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