Press release from RSPB Scotland (17/4/18):
RSPB SCOTLAND ASSISTS IN SEARCH FOR ‘MISSING’ EAGLE
Another satellite tagged eagle has disappeared in highly suspicious circumstances. RSPB Scotland has today (17th April 2018) been assisting Police Scotland in the search for the white tailed eagle in the Glen Quaich area of Perthshire.
Photo of White-tailed eagle ‘Blue X’, by RSPB Scotland
[RPUK map. Red stars indicate last known fixes of satellite-tagged golden eagles that have ‘disappeared’ in suspicious circumstances. Orange circle indicates area of interest. Data from the Golden Eagle Satellite Tag Review, published last year]:
Duncan Orr-Ewing, Head of Species and Land Management at RSPB Scotland said: “This is the fourth satellite tagged eagle (three golden eagles and now one white-tailed eagle) to disappear in highly suspicious circumstances in this very area since 2014. This location around Glen Quaich is dominated by driven grouse moor estates, and has been highlighted previously as a ‘black hole’ for wildlife crime against raptors”.
[Google map of Glen Quaich, surrounded by driven grouse moors]
Duncan continues: “A report published by the Scottish Government last May, prompted by the regular disappearance of satellite-tagged eagles, provided unequivocal evidence that the sudden disappearance of these birds when reliable tags suddenly stop transmitting is highly suspicious.
“This is the third of five white-tailed eagle chicks to have fledged from the first successful nest in East Scotland – the product of a Scottish Government-sponsored reintroduction project – to have disappeared in such circumstances, suggesting it has also been illegally killed.
“We call on the Scottish Government to introduce a robust licencing system for driven grouse shooting with sanctions for removal of licences where criminal patterns of behaviour are established to the satisfaction of the authorities. Those that obey the law and conduct their operations within it have nothing to fear from such a regulatory framework.”
Eagle Blue X was the 5th chick to fledge from the well known Fife pair. Only one is still alive: one died after landing on power lines (and was recovered for post mortem) and two others disappeared under suspicious circumstances. This is a very high attrition rate for the most important generation in the reintroduction project.
In 2017, 21 volunteers gave up a total of 815 hours to watch the Fife nest and make sure the breeding attempt was successful. They stopped a photographer from continuing to disturb the incubating female and undoubtedly saved the eggs from chilling.
Blue X hatched in 2017 and she was ‘gone’ by March 2018.
Here she is in the nest as a chick (photo RSPB Scotland). All that effort, for nothing.
For how long do you think the Scottish Government will tolerate this blatant criminality that brings shame and embarrassment to the decent, law-abiding citizens of Scotland?
They’ll tolerate it for as long as we allow them to.
Please, consider writing to Environment Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, who undoubtedly will be as appalled as we all are about this ongoing, out of control lawlessness, and ask her to act. Emails to: CabSecECCLR@gov.scot
UPDATE 18 April 2018: Pointless search for missing sea eagle ‘Blue X’ (here)
UPDATE 19 April 2018: Deputy First Minister’s constituency a hotspot for ‘disappearing’ sat-tagged eagles (here)
UPDATE 20 April 2018: “It can’t go on – Mark Ruskell MSP speaks out against illegal raptor persecution (here)