27 eagles, 7 years, 0 prosecutions

Last September we wrote an article called ’26 eagles, 6 years, 0 prosecutions’ (see here). We thought it was time to update it and it’s now called: ’27 eagles, 7 years, 0 prosecutions’.

Why update it now? Well mostly in response to Paul Wheelhouse’s comment yesterday that the Scottish Government “has achieved much since 2007” in relation to tackling illegal raptor persecution. Yes, ‘much’ has been achieved in terms of forming new committees and partnerships and having meetings and publishing soundbites, but what has actually been achieved on the ground, where it matters? According to the following list, absolutely bloody nothing.

As previously stated, some of these eagles on this list are just ‘missing’ and may not be dead, although the frequency with which these sat-tagged eagles are going ‘missing’ is indicative of something more sinister, of that there’s no more doubt. It’s also reasonable to point out that there may be (probably will be) a hell of a lot of other eagles that we haven’t included in this list because we just don’t know about them. We only see the tip of a very very large iceberg, as is becoming clearer to everyone by the day.

It’s also worth pointing out that if Scottish Land & Estates and the Scottish Gamekeepers Association had their way, we wouldn’t be able to report on any of these cases because presumably the police are still investigating them all. I can’t for the life of me think why those two organisations would prefer this information was kept secret.

_41773232_goldeneagle203MAY 2006: A dead adult golden eagle was found on the Dinnet & Kinord Estate, near Ballater, Aberdeenshire. Tests revealed it had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide Carbofuran. Grampian Police launched an investigation. Seven years and 2 months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

 

Dead GE_DaveDickJUNE 2006: A dead golden eagle was found on Glen Feshie Estate in the Cairngorms. Tests revealed it had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide Carbofuran. Northern Constabulary launched an investigation. Seven years and 1 month later, nobody has been prosecuted.

 

 

 

eagle-poisonedAUGUST 2007: A dead adult female golden eagle was found on an estate near Peebles in the Borders. She was half of the last known breeding pair of golden eagles in the region. Tests revealed she had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide Carbofuran. Lothian & Borders Police launched an investigation. Five years and 11 months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

 

 

bird-nAUTUMN 2007: Tayside Police received a detailed tip-off that a young male white-tailed eagle (known as ‘Bird N’) had allegedly been shot on an estate in Angus. The timing and location included in the tip-off coincided with the timing and location of the last-known radio signal of this bird. Five and a half years later, the bird has not been seen again. With no body, an investigation isn’t possible.

white_tailed_eagle_dead_rspb@body2MAY 2008: A one year old male white-tailed eagle hatched on Mull in 2007 and known as ‘White G’ was found dead on the Glenquoich Estate, Angus. Tests revealed he had been poisoned by an unusual concoction of pesticides that included Carbofuran, Bendiocarb and Isofenphos. A police search in the area also revealed a poisoned buzzard, a baited mountain hare and 32 pieces of poisoned venison baits placed on top of fenceposts on the neighbouring Glenogil Estate. Laboratory tests revealed the baited mountain hare and the 32 poisoned venison baits contained the same unusual concoction of highly toxic chemicals that had killed the white-tailed eagle, ‘White G’. Five years and 2 months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

glen orchyJUNE 2009: An adult golden eagle was found dead at Glen Orchy, Argyll, close to the West Highland Way. Tests revealed it had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide Carbofuran. Strathclyde Police launched a multi-agency investigation. Three years and 3 months later, estate employee Tom McKellar pled guilty to possession of Carbofuran stored in premises at Auch Estate, Bridge of Orchy and he was fined £1,200. Nobody has been prosecuted for poisoning the golden eagle.

Alma Millden 2009JULY 2009: A two year old female golden eagle known as ‘Alma’ was found dead on the Millden Estate, Angus. Tests revealed she had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide Carbofuran. Alma was a well-known eagle  – born on the Glen Feshie Estate in 2007, she was being satellite-tracked and her movements followed by the general public on the internet. Tayside Police launched an investigation. Four years later, nobody has been prosecuted.

TH1_17220118eagle glen ogilAUGUST 2009: A young white-tailed eagle was found dead on Glenogil Estate, Angus. Tests revealed it had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide Carbofuran. Tayside Police were criticized in the national press for not releasing a press statement about this incident until January 2010. Three years and 11 months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

Skibo eagle 2010MAY 2010: Three dead golden eagles were found on or close to Skibo Estate, Sutherland. Tests revealed they had been poisoned; two with Carbofuran and one with Aldicarb. Northern Constabulary launched a multi-agency investigation. One year later (May 2011), Sporting Manager Dean Barr pled guilty to possession of 10.5 kg of Carbofuran stored in premises at Skibo Estate. Three years and 2 months later, nobody has been prosecuted for poisoning the three golden eagles.

244JUNE 2010: Leg rings with unique identification numbers that had previously been fitted to the legs of four young golden eagles in nests across Scotland were found in the possession of gamekeeper James Rolfe, during a multi-agency investigation into alleged raptor persecution at Moy Estate, near Inverness. It is not clear how he came to be in possession of the rings. The bodies of the eagles from which the rings had been removed were not found. No further action was taken in relation to the discovery.

wtefarr2010JUNE 2010: A golden eagle and a white-tailed eagle were found dead on Farr & Kyllachy Estate, Inverness-shire. Tests revealed they had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide Carbofuran. Northern Constabulary apparently did not search the property until July 2011. Three years and 1 month later, nobody has been prosecuted.

LochindorbDECEMBER 2010: A decomposing carcass of a white-tailed eagle was found and photographed on Logie (Lochindorb) Estate, Morayshire. It was reported to Northern Constabulary. By the time the police arrived to collect it, the carcass had disappeared. The police said they couldn’t investigate further without the body.

247135-police-operation-after-golden-eagle-poisoned-with-illegal-pesticide-410x230MARCH 2011: The body of a young golden eagle was discovered on North Glenbuchat Estate, Aberdeenshire. Tests revealed it had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide Carbofuran. Grampian Police launched an investigation and raided the property in May 2011. Two years and 4 months later, we are not aware of any pending prosecutions.

wtseAPRIL 2011: The body of a white-tailed eagle was found at the base of cliffs on Skye. The person who discovered it (a professional medic) considered it to have been freshly shot with a rifle, decapitated with a sharp implement and thrown from the cliff top. He took photographs and alerted Northern Constabulary and RSPB. There was a delay of two weeks before the now probably decomposed carcass was collected. A post-mortem was inconclusive. This incident was not made public until one year later after a tip off to this blog. Two years and 3 months later, we are not aware of any pending prosecutions.

ge headNOVEMBER 2011: The signal from a satellite-tracked young golden eagle (hatched in 2010) stopped functioning when she was at a location in the Monadhliaths, a well-known raptor persecution black spot in the Highlands. Her last known location was checked by researchers but there was no sign of the bird. Another technical malfunction of a satellite transmitter or another ‘disappearance’ in suspicious circumstances?

Lochaber poisoned ge March 2012MARCH 2012: The body of a young golden eagle being tracked by satellite was discovered in Lochaber. Tests revealed it had been poisoned with the banned pesticides Aldicarb and Bendiocarb. Information about this incident was not made public until three months later. One year and 4 months later,  we are not aware of any prosecutions for poisoning this bird.

 

ge headMARCH 2012: The signal from a satellite-tracked young golden eagle (hatched in 2011) stopped functioning when the bird was in the eastern glens, a well-known raptor persecution blackspot. Another technical malfunction of a satellite transmitter or another ‘disappearance’ in suspicious circumstances?

 

May2012 GE tayside grampianMAY 2012: The dead body of a young satellite-tracked golden eagle (hatched in 2011) was discovered near a lay-by in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire. The data from its satellite tag & the injuries the bird had when found (2 broken legs) suggested it had been caught in an illegal trap in the Angus glens and then removed, under cover of darkness, to be dumped in another area where it was left to die, probably a slow and agonising death. Information on this incident was not released until almost five months later, by the RSPB. It appears the police failed to properly investigate this incident as we understand that no search warrants were issued. One year and 2 months later, we are not aware of any pending prosecutions for killing this bird.

ge headMAY/JUNE 2012: The signal from a young satellite-tracked golden eagle stopped functioning when the bird was north-east of the Cairngorms National Park. Another technical malfunction of a satellite transmitter or another ‘disappearance’ in suspicious circumstances?

 

optableOCTOBER 2012: An adult golden eagle was found shot and critically injured on grouse moor at Buccleuch Estate, near Wanlockhead, South Lanarkshire. The bird was rescued by the SSPCA and underwent surgery but it eventually succumbed to its injuries in April 2013. Nine months later, we’re not aware of any pending prosecutions for shooting this bird.

 

ge headMAY 2013: The signal from a two-year-old satellite tracked golden eagle stopped functioning after it’s last signal from North Glenbuchat Estate in Aberdeenshire. Another technical malfunction of a satellite transmitter or another ‘disappearance’ in suspicious circumstances?

7 thoughts on “27 eagles, 7 years, 0 prosecutions”

  1. This is just another testament to all the hot air (otherwise known as fart gas) that comes from the mouths of those who have been entrusted to safeguard this country’s wildlife when, in fact, little has been achieved in dealing with the criminals who pollute the countryside.
    People need to wake up to the fact that there is little to choose between criminals. Whether they be drug dealers, house breakers, muggers, car thieves or raptor killers etc. They are all rotten common criminals. All tarred with exactly the same brush. If you are not law abiding then you are a criminal. It is as plain and simple as that. The lowest form of human life.
    Wildlife criminals, raptor persecutors in particular, all like to think that they are justified in their actions because (in their view) some misguided people have made laws that go against their activities. You are wrong – prisons have lots of inmates who harbour such warped thoughts to justify their criminal behaviour.

  2. In the Spring/Summer 2013 SNH publication, “The Nature of Scotland”, the Chief Executive of SNH, Ian Jardine states (in his Welcome foreword) that “Land managers and gamekeepers are key figures in shaping our countryside, and understanding their role and aspirations is absolutely essential to any consideration of its future. Kenneth Stephen’s article looks at the modern role of the gamekeeper for whom wildlife management and habitat conservation are increasingly central to their activities”.

    Further on, in the article entitled “Discover Scotland’s Wildlife – Meet our Big 5”, one of which is the Golden Eagle. In the article, it is stated that it is mainly found in the Highlands and Islands but with a presence in the Borders and Southern Uplands too. From what I have read in Raptor Persecution Scotland, I doubt if the latter two locations have any Golden Eagles at all.

    In another article, “Caring for Scotland’s Countryside”, Paul Wakefield of Scottish Land and Estates, talks of his admiration for landowners’ commitment to nature and the collaborative work that often lies behind this vital contribution to Scotland’s environment.

    Has anyone ever investigated how Scotland’s landscape and rural economy would be without the present regime running the show? Do we always have to have the present stranglehold over vast areas of our country, by people who have long outstayed their welcome? Many members of the public are more informed about what is going on in the countryside, and deprecate the slayings of our birds of prey, and other creatures. Has anyone got any information on just how much persuasion the shooting industry has on our politicians, judges, fiscals and police, and how many of them are strategically placed in the SNH and some conservation and animal welfare organisations. I recently challenged one such organisation with a presence in Scotland, as to why they seemed to be mute on the issue of birds of prey being persecuted, and thereby endangered. What Scotland needs is a strong and determined force to change the attitude of those at Holyrood regarding who they listen to, on wildlife matters and the protection of the environment, both land and sea. Many similar-minded people have come to the conclusion, that a great anchor is holding Scotland back from achieving its full potential with regard to a more vibrantly run landscape; one that will have more public consultation behind decision-making, a move away from the “tired” old ways that only benefit a few. It may have to be, that the land will have to come under public control and leased out only to those who will bring the greatest economic benefit using ethically sound ways of doing so. Snaring, poisoning, trapping and shooting are anachronisms along with the people employed to use them.

    1. Good comments of which I agree wholeheartedly. I too was perturbed with what I read in in the SNH publication.

    2. Couldnt agree more Ron, very well said..the criminals involved here have been given every chance to mend their ways and change to the clearly expressed will of the vast majority of scottish people..and yes, that clearly includes in the countryside, this is not a countryside v town debate. …it disgusts me to see our parliamentary representatives [and our civil servants] kowtowing to the old school tie mob who still manipulate policy. There are plenty of people out here who understand the countryside – its ecology and its management – who could advise Wheelhouse and his colleagues, who no doubt think they are producing a political compromise. Dead eagles are in no way a compromise – they are a shame and a disgrace for this country.

  3. Some very good points well made in this blog, the problem arises if this statement “ the Scottish Government “has achieved much since 2007” in relation to tackling illegal raptor persecution” hadn’t been challenged, then others would have quoted it as fact, its all to obvious that some of these estates take the enviroment ministers and the Scottish Land and Estates words with a pinch of salt, look at the significant find of poisoned baits found at Leadhills early this year, whilst some Estates might be doing a little to reduce the poisoning figures, it would seem others are going all out to set new records on their own, once again its time wasting tatics, another doormat just the same as the last one

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