Here comes 2013….the year of natural scotland

imagesHappy Hogmanay!

Tomorrow marks the start of another Scottish government themed year: The Year of Natural Scotland, in which we’re encouraged to celebrate Scotland’s stunning natural beauty and biodiversity. Good job it wasn’t this year’s theme as there might have been some red faces in the government:

  • SGA gamekeeper Whitefield sentenced for poisoning four buzzards (he already had an earlier wildlife crime conviction). His sentence this time? 100 hours community service.
  • Scottish gamekeeper McLachlan, convicted for possession of the banned poison Carbofuran. Fined £635.
  • Scottish gamekeeper Barrie lost an appeal for his sentence of £520 for illegal possession and control of a wild bird.
  • COPFS choosing not to prosecute a Scottish gamekeeper who had been filmed beating birds to death with a stick inside a crow cage trap.
  • Scottish gamekeeper Christie convicted for wildlife crimes relating to the illegal use of a crow cage trap. His sentence? An admonishment (a telling off).
  • Scottish gamekeeper Graham convicted for allowing a buzzard to starve to death inside a crow cage trap. Fined £450.
  • Scottish gamekeeper McKellar convicted for possession of banned poison. Fined £1,200.
  • Scottish gamekeeper Scobie convicted for using banned poison. Fined £270.
  • A satellite-tagged golden eagle mysteriously ‘disappeared’ in the Angus glens.
  • A satellite-tagged golden eagle mysteriously ‘disappeared’ to the North East of the Cairngorms National Park.
  • Peregrine chicks mysteriously ‘disappeared’ from a nest site in Dumfries & Galloway.
  • A golden eagle was found dead, poisoned in Lochaber.
  • A golden eagle was found dead in suspicious circumstances on the Isle of Harris. Still awaiting results.
  • A satellite-tagged golden eagle mysteriously ‘disappeared’ in the Monadhliaths.
  • A poisoned raven, crow, and three poisoned baits were found in the Borders.
  • A satellite-tagged golden eagle was found dead near a lay-by in Aberdeenshire. Its injuries and its sat tag data suggested it had been illegally trapped on an Angus grouse moor and then dumped during the night and left to die.
  • A golden eagle was found shot and critically injured on a grouse moor in Dumfries & Galloway.
  • Barry, the sat-tagged hen harrier from Langholm mysteriously ‘disappeared’.
  • Buzz, the sat-tagged buzzard mysteriously ‘disappeared’ in the Angus glens. (More on this case in the New Year).
  • Willow, a sat-tagged marsh harrier mysteriously ‘disappeared’ in Galloway.
  • A hen harrier was found shot dead on an Aberdeenshire grouse moor.

These are just a few of the ‘highlights’ from Scotland this year – there are a few more that we can’t yet report but we will in the New Year. And of course this list doesn’t include other confirmed incidents from other parts of these fair isles such as England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic; a list that includes shot and poisoned sea eagles, buzzards, kites, harriers, peregrines and sparrowhawks. Nor does it include the incidents that went undiscovered.

We’ll be blogging quite a lot about the Year of Natural Scotland, which hopefully won’t be just a banner-waving exercise by the government but an opportunity for them to put their money where their mouths are. You don’t think so? No, neither do we. Why should 2013 be any different from the previous three decades of ineffective action?

A hint of what’s to come is the revelation that the theme will be highlighted during several events throughout the year. Two particular locations caught our attention: the Scone Game Fair and the Moy Game Fair.

The Scone Game Fair is of course organised by the GWCT. That’s the same GWCT that has recently asked for the addition of buzzards and sparrowhawks to the General Licences (that means they want permission to kill them…we’ll be blogging about that shortly). It’s also the same Game Fair that has previously attracted sponsorship from some very, how shall we put it, ‘surprising’ sources.

The Moy Game Fair is held on the Moy Estate near Inverness. If you’re unaware of this place, try googling it.

Thanks for all your interest and support in 2012…we’ll see you soon. Sláinte!

This golden eagle was found shot, critically injured &left to die on a Scottish grouse moor. Photo SSPCA
This golden eagle was found shot, critically injured and left to die on a Scottish grouse moor. Photo SSPCA

9 thoughts on “Here comes 2013….the year of natural scotland”

  1. Should be a good New Year for the shooting estates, more and more Scottish windfarms backed by the RSPB being built to desicate the so-called protected Raptors. Less and less chance of our judicial system ever realistically convicting a wildlife murdering criminal, even less chance of our finest in blue ever having the balls to do what they’re paid to do where wildlife persecution is involved. They’ll also be laughing out loud at the RSPB, SNH and NE comedians who will be making the jokes during the coming year, I nearly forgot the conjurors who are very adept at making things such as radio transmitters, Raptor corpses and evidence disappear. YES, IT LOOKS LIKE BEING A VERY GOOD NEW YEAR, unless that is you happen to be a protected bird of prey.

  2. Scotland is becomming less natural every month with new windfarms growing out of the natural wild land like mushrooms. The estates and there gamekeepers seem to be in charge of our legal system, courts and government. The only bright thing is Raptor Persecution Scotland for bringing all this crimes to our attention! So Happy New Year to this site and all who detest wild life crime.

  3. I second “Happy New Year” to this site…a small shining light in an increasingly dark rural Scotland. Will this be the year of a huge public outcry over our mismanaged, degraded and despoiled countryside…or will the spin doctors, as we head towards the Independence Referendum, merely churn out the same old “Bonny Scotland” crap to keep the natives happy?

    I suspect that some of the large organisations which some folk slag off in this Blog are actually rather pleased that it keeps showing up whats going on…they havent the political bottle to do it themselves.

    Oh yes…and “Ban Driven Grouse Shooting” should be the slogan for 2013…anything less is a pathetic cop-out.

    1. Ban Driven Grouse Shooting.
      Try and slip it through the Scottish Government as Van Driven Grouse Shooting then tell them it was a typo at the last moment! I think they are so desperate for events it might work!

  4. Most of the public don’t know or don’t care so sites like this bringing persecution to their attention are needed all the more. We just keep spreading the word by mouth,email etc.to friends, colleagues, people we meet birding, walking etc. etc. It all helps and will not always be “hidden” away. Oh nearly forgot “Happy New Year” to all on this site and may shooting estates problems be large expensive ones. Slainte.

  5. Well a new year and also for Scotland the year of natural Scotland, what a fantastic opportunity and what “ could” we expect, Raptors aside for one moment but to start with you couldn’t look any further than a complete and concerted effort to save Scotland’s most iconic native mammal, the Scottish wildcat. A complete ban on snares and a joint effort from all parties to end the use of poison baits, perhaps a captive breeding program to save them from extinction with the possibility of re introducing them back into the wild later down the line. Will year 13 be lucky or unlucky for the Wildcat? A new chance for those who shoot and allegedly claim to be conservationists to stand up and for once help conserve the wildlife of today for the next generation. A chance for the magazine that uses King George the sixth quote on wildlife to actually take head of the quote or at least have the dignity to stop using it. A chance for shooting organisations with conservation in their titles to actually do something for conservation and for the vast majority of its law abiding members or drop this word from their titles. A chance for the SGA to rid itself of the idiots running it and elect someone with at least an inkling of common sense.
    What should we expect. 4 days into the year of natural Scotland and the SNH fail to respond to advice from conservationists with concerns over safety and misuse of the clam trap preferring instead to listen to the responses from the shooting lobby.
    The last Scottish Wildcat being found dead on a roadside stinking of Carbofuran, highly paid Barristers in courts arguing that a snare isn’t a trap and getting criminals of on technicalities. Lip service from Magazines and Organisations that are afraid to rock the boat in case they upset a few readers or members. More mathematical magic from Alex and completely irrational comments linking fake video eagles and the holocaust from Bert. Clueless government departments bending over to appease the shooting lobby on the promise of tax revenues coming in from the millions of pounds spent in the hills even though none of them ever make a profit. Yep probably another year of the same.

    1. Yes, the Year of Natural Scotland is now upon us, but to be honest I really don’t expect much change from the shooting estates and judicial system. However, there may be opportunities to prove to the nation that the Scottish government and SNH are guilty of hypocrisy on a mass scale – but it will need financial backing from the larger charities.

      We all know that the majority of wildlife crimes are ignored by the televised media and newspapers tend to run two-sentence reports tucked away on page 23, but just for this year, the Year of Natural Scotland, every time there is a major wildlife crime a full or half-page advert should be run in some of the national newspapers. For example, if there is a raptor death, the RSPB run the advert, if it’s a Badger death then the SSPCA could run the advert. I realise that this will be expensive, so it would also be possible to combine the adverts with a membership/donation request. This could help to pay for the adverts, and at the same time getting previously ignored items some coverage.

      If there are RSPB/SSPCA staff reading this, then please take this on board. Show gruesome images and get the information out there. The wider public are generally unaware of the issues affecting wildlife, so we have to show the public exactly what is happening in our countryside every single day.

  6. Retrieved xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx When I looked at it at home it had one broken wing but two matching bloody holes, 1cm diameter, on stomach & back, otherwise in pristine condition. Earlier in the trip I saw xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Could this be an airgun kill and who is it best to report it to. The carcass is wrapped in my freezer to preserve it.

    [Ed: Hi Ann. Many thanks for your report. We’ve edited out some details, especially location, but will pass on your full report to RSPB Investigations. They should be in touch with you shortly].

  7. PS when we wanted to deter approx 14 magpies from our garden as they had effectively cleared all other birds from our garden and were landing on our rabbit runs, eyeing up our bunnies, we bought a ‘Crow Be Gone’ cd from the web for $19.95. When the 75 minute recording of various raptor cries is played it unsettles magpies and crows and they generally fly away to another area. It is humane and doesn’t seem to have any effect on non-corvid birds, who just carry on feeding, or our rabbits! I was upset to find xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Our rabbits are let out during the day in open topped runs, but they have plenty of chairs, tables and fencing to hide under if predators approach from the sky. Maybe some areas of covercamouflague could be provided for game birds as a ‘safety retreat’ from raptors, or are pheasants less intelligent than domestic rabbits?

    [Ed: Thanks Ann. Interesting points. Some of your message has been edited again, so as not to give away your location while the investigation is ‘live’ – hopefully someone will be in touch with you soon to follow up on your grisly findings]

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