Death toll rises again in Ross-shire massacre as £5k reward offered

red kites gigrin david bowmanThe death toll in what we are calling the Ross-shire Massacre has risen again today with the discovery of another poisoned raptor. Today’s dead red kite is the 10th to be discovered in the last fortnight in a small area in Conon Bridge, along with four buzzards, bringing the total found to date to fourteen.

RSPB Scotland is offering a £5,000 reward for any information that leads to a successful conviction. Their money is probably quite safe.

Chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association, Alex Hogg, has put out the following statement:

The discovery of so many birds in one area is unprecedented and alarming“.

He’s either deliberately lying to make out that the mass killing of raptors in one area has never happened before or he has a very short memory:

In 2004, a gamekeeper on the Barns Estate in the Scottish Borders was convicted of poisoning 20 raptors (18 buzzards, 1 goshawk and 1 tawny owl). 25 dead raptors had been discovered but five were too badly decomposed to establish their cause of death (see here).

In 2013, gamekeeper Colin Burne was convicted of killing seven buzzards at the Whinfell Plantation, Penrith, Cumbria. A total of 12 dead birds had been found but five were too badly decomposed to establish their cause of death (see here).

This year, there is an on-going court case against a gamekeeper from the Stody Estate, Norfolk, after the discovery of 16 dead raptors (14 buzzards, 1 sparrowhawk and 1 tawny owl). Allen Lambert has admitted to storing two banned pesticides but he has denied killing the raptors. His trial begins in May (see here).

So far from this current incident being ‘unprecedented’, there are examples dating from 10 years ago right up to the present day of multiple dead raptors being found in a single incident – a telling indictment of just how little progress has been made in addressing this disgusting crime.

There’s also a statement on the SGA facebook page that includes this:

Articles in the Telegraph and Herald this week indicated, through research, that there is little or no shooting interests in the area” [Conon Bridge, Ross-shire, where the latest atrocity is gradually being revealed].

That’s also inaccurate. There may not be a driven grouse moor in the immediate area but there certainly are shooting interests…

Photo of red kites at Gigrin Farm, Wales, by David Bowman.

Previous blogs on the Ross-shire Massacre here, here and here.

11 thoughts on “Death toll rises again in Ross-shire massacre as £5k reward offered”

  1. “The discovery of so many birds in one area is unprecedented and alarming“.

    “He’s either deliberately lying to make out that the mass killing of raptors in one area has never happened before or he has a very short memory:”

    What is unprecedented is the discovery. The killing is not.

  2. Very true Dougie, As there are many hundreds of Red Kites, that by now should be on the Black Isle but are not, it is so obvious that mass killing such as this latest discovery has been going on for many years.

  3. That is exactly right, what is discovered will only be the tip of that bloody big iceberg of dead raptors which will have been vanished away after either being poisoned, shot or trapped and then bludgeoned to death. This fact should be shared with the media at every opportunity as some out there will take every chance to bury the true extent of the massacre which is really going on and play down what we at Project Raptor term ‘the silent slaughter’. We keep reading articles, such as the latest BBC online piece related to the Ross-shire massacre, where they keep on producing maps and statistics of poisoned birds found over the last few years, but never appear to mention the other dead and persecuted birds of prey which were found shot dead or had been bludgeoned to death after being deliberately trapped. To only talk of poisoning cases gives a false account of the true number of birds that are discovered unlawfully targeted and killed throughout this land every year.

  4. Some interesting points made here about a truly despicable crime. This website seems to have it’s finger on the pulse with regards to the killing of these Red Kites/Buzzards on the Black Isle. However, nobody seems to have mentioned so far that all these birds were xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx. I read this information on another site, possibly the Herald but was unable to locate it again. Surely this is important in identifying who poisoned the 14 birds found so far?

    [Ed: Thanks for your comment James. Part of it has been removed because we’re not prepared to publish specific information like that at this stage of the investigation].

  5. SNP supported disgrace!….it is happening with the tacit support of the SNP minister who has deliberately chosen to ignore all the evidence and failed to take any action…

  6. I spoke to the RSPB officer at Tollie red kite feeding station on the day the news emerged 6 of the areas red kites had been poisoned. (1st we heard of it was when 2 reporters turned up and interviewed my friends) The officer said that the Red kites there were reintroduced at the same time as those in Oxfordshire but while Oxfordshire has 1000pairs, the area around Tollie has under 100 pairs. Its all very sad.

  7. I think its obvious whats going on – as stated there is interest in shooting nearby and the last thing they want is kites in the vicinity

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