Kestrel is latest victim of ‘vermin’ trap on grouse moor

We’ve blogged a bit recently about wildlife that has been caught/killed in traps set by gamekeepers on grouse moors (e.g. see here, here).

These traps are used to kill so-called ‘vermin’ (e.g. stoats and weasels) but we’ve seen plenty of evidence of non-target species also being trapped and killed (e.g. red squirrel, song thrush, mistle thrush, pied wagtail, red grouse, rabbits, ring ouzel).

Here’s another victim – a kestrel this time.

Thanks to the blog reader who sent us the following post from the Walkhighlands forum:

This incident took place on a grouse moor in south Scotland. We contacted the SSPCA for information on the fate of this kestrel. An SSPCA undercover inspector said:

We can confirm that we responded to a call from a member of the public regarding a kestrel that had been reportedly removed from a trap.

Unfortunately due to the severity of the injuries and to prevent further suffering the kestrel had to be put to sleep“.

We understand an investigation is underway to determine whether the trap was set legally or illegally.

17 thoughts on “Kestrel is latest victim of ‘vermin’ trap on grouse moor”

  1. How much more? How much more! Forget licensing, banning driven grouse shooting is long overdue.

    1. This is the only solution and everyone needs to get on board with it – esp RSPB and their 1.2 million members.

  2. Bastards! Begs all the usual questions as regards prevention of non-target species being caught. There are probably tens of thousands of these horrendous traps in use at any one time. Given the high incidence of non-target casualties found recently, the question has to be asked as to just how many unintended victims are caught everyday. How can we get this information out into the public domain?

  3. Unfortunately this comes as no surprise at all. Areas that are keepered have been killing fields for as long as people have shot stuff for “fun.” The only slight change nowadays is that they don’t display it all on a gibbet. It’s the countryside equivalent of a secret society, and it will always close ranks to protect its members from outside interference. One day society will wake up to see just how archaic those attitudes are. It won’t be soon, but constant exposure like this will eventually chip away at their defenses. Keep up the good work.

  4. We all now that Driven grouse moors and their gamekeepers are responsible for so much wildlife crime, it is also blatantly obvious that neither the Scottish assembly or our British government are going to do anything to stop it.

    1. Money talks. We haven’t really moved on from the Middle Ages in the UK.
      Surely we should all be concentrating on land reform rather than banning or licensing. If we had a single aim we might be more successful.

  5. Ban these traps, ban driven grouse shooting! Do the governments care nothing for our wildlife? If so we need a change, they have had long enough to sort out these selfish, cruel idiots!

  6. Not the only one. We found a trap with a dead kestrel in it on a grouse moor a couple of years ago. Trap had need set without anything to restrict the entrance.

    1. So the big question is why the hell did you not report it?
      If a kestrel can get into one of these traps it must be illegal AND YOU SHOULD REPORT IT to the police and/or RSPB investigations. My own preference is to tell both. Opportunities to catch these bastards are few enough as it is without good evidence not being acted on.
      The worst case I know of in this regard was a walker/ birder finding a Short-eared Owl in a pole trap and because open access was closed and he was trespassing di not report it for 2 months— trap and dead owl gone no case to answer. IF you find something suspicious ALWAYS REPORT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

      1. I suspect that a large majority of people would find such an event revolting and despicable ( as it and the perpetrators undoubtedly are), but would not report it simply because they see no prospect of anyone ever being brought to book.

        We are in a time where criminals treat the law with impunity. Ninety per cent of the 44,000 burglary cases (Eng & Wales – April to June only last year) did not get as far as having a suspect identified.

        If you are among the many thousands of people who live with the constant misery of having snivelling little scrotes running amok or having dodgepots prowling about helping themselves to whatever they can carry or drive and the police/courts etc. are ineffective in stopping such crime then your priorities will not have illegal traps high on the list.

        In fact, I am inclined to deduce that there is a huge part of the population whose lives are much degraded because they are forced to absorb crime. Understandably, they will never comprehend why the police could spend any time on wildlife offences when so much else fails to be addressed.

        The police fully realise that situation and, in the current climate, use their resources accordingly in order to minimise criticism and respond to whatever or whoever brings most influence to bear.

        Wildlife crime will not command sufficient police effort to make a significant improvement. Rather depressing, but that is how things stand.

        Faced with a paucity of police resources there appeared to be hope that giving the SSPCA proper powers would be a game changer. Looks like that ship has been scuttled.

        1. And without reporting it there is officially no crime and in the end the few who do want to do something about wildlife crime can say that in X county there is no problem because none are being reported. Your argument is self defeating and if followed logically all criminals will get away scot free because nobody reports crime in the belief it cannot be solved. On the other hand if we keep reporting them the police and authorities will eventually get the message especially if you follow up and ask about crime x you reported. If you get an inadequate response tell your MP don’t just moan , moaning changes nothing.
          This is what is happening in North Yorkshire, yes police resources have been heavily squeezed and many crimes cannot be followed up but they cannot be followed up if not reported nobody in authority is clairvoyant.

          Not reporting makes you part of the problem, in some cases even an accessory after the fact, not part of the solution. ALWAYS REPORT IT!!!

  7. Scottish Government have no intention of ensuring traps don’t present risk to non target species. The accumlative effect on non target species must be huge.

    Individual sporting estates are using thousands of these traps as well inconjuction with snares and crow traps.

    Commonly in locations where protected species are known to be present.

    Wilful blindness by SNH and Scottish Government.

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