So, it’s been two years since 22 dead birds of prey were discovered in a small area around Conon Bridge in the Highlands. It was one of the most significant illegal raptor persecution crimes ever uncovered in the UK.
Are we any closer to finding the culprit(s)? Of course not. Here’s what we do know:
- 22 dead raptors (16 red kites + 6 buzzards) were found in the same small area over a period of weeks in March/April 2014.
- Sixteen of those raptors were later confirmed poisoned: 12 red kites + 4 buzzards.
- No cause of death has been given for the other six victims.
- The poison used was a banned substance.
- Nobody has been arrested.
- Nobody has been charged.
- Nobody has been convicted.
According to a ridiculous Police Scotland press statement, these birds “were most likely not targeted deliberately but instead were the victims of pest control measures“. Quite how they’d know this without having spoken to a known culprit is anybody’s guess (see here) and until they do, that’s all their conclusion can be, a guess.
The police are still withholding the name of the poison used – we’re told this is ‘for operational purposes’. We’re also told that this is still ‘a live investigation’.
What it actually is is a shambles and it has been from the start.
The first six dead birds were discovered between 18-24 March 2014 and poisoning was immediately suspected. The police put out a press statement on 25th March (here) but at that stage they hadn’t conducted a proper search, so by telling the world about this suspected crime they gave the culprit(s) every opportunity to hide any remaining evidence. A thorough police search didn’t take place until 9th April (see here) – three weeks after the discovery of the first dead birds. Unsurprisingly, no evidence to link the crime to a suspect was found.
Two years on and we’re no closer to seeing justice prevail. It’s just another unsolved raptor-killing crime amongst hundreds of others.
Previous blogs on the Ross-shire Massacre here