Earlier this month RSPB Scotland announced that four of this year’s satellite-tagged hen harriers had ‘disappeared’ in suspicious circumstances on Scottish grouse moors (see here).
Today we’re looking at the area where hen harrier Heather ‘disappeared’.
[Photo of hen harrier Heather by Brian Etheridge]
According to the RSPB press release, hen harrier Heather, who had hatched from a Perthshire nest in 2017, was “last recorded on a grouse moor to the north of Glenalmond on 24 September 2018“.
It’s a bit of a vague description as Glenalmond is a glen which stretches for several miles to the west of the city of Perth:
And there’s a fair bit of grouse moor “to the north of Glenalmond” which, according to Andy Wightman’s Who Owns Scotland website, could be part of the Glenalmond Estate and/or the Scone Estate. It’s hard to say as we don’t know how far to the north of Glenalmond this hen harrier ‘disappeared’:
What we can say with certainty though, is that the grouse moor area to the north of Glenalmond just happens to be inside the Strathbraan raven cull area:
Imagine that! A satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘disappearing’ in suspicious circumstances in the very area where earlier this year SNH decided it was a great idea to licence a bunch of grouse moor managers to kill a load of ravens ‘just to see what happens’.
One of the many (many, many) reasons we objected to that raven cull was that the Strathbraan raven cull area is a well known wildlife crime hotspot, even identified as such on the official Scottish Government raptor persecution maps.
It was no surprise to us to learn that hen harrier Heather had ‘disappeared’ here. A further four satellite-tagged golden eagles have also vanished in suspicious circumstances here (five if you include another one just on the western boundary), a radio-tagged white-tailed eagle ‘disappeared’ here in 2012, an illegal clam trap was found here in 2012, a spring-trapped buzzard was found here in 2012, a poisoned red kite was found here in 2015, a poisoned raven was found here in 2017, and another satellite-tagged white-tailed eagle ‘disappeared’ here in March this year.
Instead of issuing licences permitting the mass killing of protected ravens, SNH should be crawling all over this area, revoking permission to use the General Licences as a bare minimum. Six eagles, FFS! A poisoned red kite, FFS! A poisoned raven, FFS! Illegally-set traps, FFS! A hen harrier missing in suspicious circumstances, FFS!
What does it have to take to get some enforcement action???