Police investigate as ~100 dead birds found in Loch Freuchie in Strathbraan raven cull area

There’s an article in today’s Courier (see here) which is reproduced below:


The grim discovery was made less than five miles from Strathbraan where licences to shoot 300 ravens were suspended last year due to public anger over culling.

The disturbing scene was discovered by a dog walker who spotted dozens of carcasses, believed to be young ravens or crows, floating on Loch Freuchie.

[Photo from The Courier]

[RPUK map highlighting Loch Freuchie within the Strathbraan raven cull area]

Brenda Henderson, from Crieff, said she was “shocked” to see the dead birds dumped in the popular fishing spot.

Ms Henderson said: “We went for a walk up past Amulree with the dogs and came across them (the birds) in the water. They all looked like young crows, there must have been close to 100. It was quite alarming. We looked over the wee bridge you walk over and saw them all. There were more that went right out and round the corner (of the loch). It had to be a definite cull off some sort. I was very shocked to see this.”

[Photo from The Courier]

Scottish Natural Heritage, which licenses the culling of crows and ravens in the area, has reported the incident to Police Scotland.

A SNH spokesperson said: “These are disturbing photographs and while it is difficult to ascertain the circumstances from these pictures alone, we have reported this incident to Police Scotland for further investigation.

“We strongly encourage anyone who believes they have witnessed wildlife crime to contact the police as soon as possible.

“In cases such as these we advise that carcasses should not be handled and pets be kept away.  We will assist the police with any inquiries they make.”

SNH sparked outrage last year when it issued a licence to shoot 300 ravens in the Strathbraan area of Perthshire.

The Strathbraan Community Collaboration for Waders (SCCW) wanted to control raven numbers in an effort to safeguard the dwindling population of nesting waders.

The move prompted a 170,000-signature petition and crowd-funded legal campaign, leading to the waders’ group voluntarily suspending the cull.

The find at Loch Freuchie is the latest in a string of incidents in Highland Perthshire in which birds have died or gone missing in suspected foul play.

Last month the remains of a hen harrier, named Rannoch, were found in an illegal trap on a Perthshire grouse moor between Crieff and Aberfeldy. [RPUK: Rannoch’s corpse was discovered on a grouse moor within the Strathbraan raven cull area, just a few miles from Loch Freuchie].

In April two young golden eagles disappeared near a Highland Perthshire moor in what were described as “suspicious circumstances”. [RPUK: actually they disappeared on the same grouse moor, on the same morning, just a few miles from Loch Freuchie and within the Strathbraan raven cull area and yes, in highly suspicious circumstances].


It’s a bit of a muddled article, mainly because it’s not yet known which species were found dead.

If these are all species that gamekeepers are permitted to kill under the General Licence (e.g. Carrion crow, Hooded crow, rooks, jackdaws) then this isn’t an ‘illegal cull’ as such, although the dumping of carcasses in the loch, if that is what has happened, is likely to be a breach of environmental legislation.

If any of these are ravens that have been killed (either trapped and bludgeoned to death, or shot) then depending on the number killed yes, this could be an illegal cull. We are aware that SNH has issued several individual licences to kill ravens in the Strathbraan area, not as part of its ridiculous and flawed experiment last year, but supposedly to protect ‘livestock’ in the area. So we know that some ravens may be killed in the area but again, dumping those carcasses in the loch is likely to be a breach of environmental legislation.

Let’s hope the police manage to secure the evidence and can get the birds identified and establish the cause of death.

UPDATE 12 July 2019: More on the ~100 dumped birds in Loch Freuchie (here)

9 thoughts on “Police investigate as ~100 dead birds found in Loch Freuchie in Strathbraan raven cull area”

  1. What will these murders get up to next. IF this an illegal cull f Ravens then it is just another case of the law being deliberately flaunted. IF this has been carried out by these so called custodians of our countryside then how the hell did they think the birds would not be found??? Are they so ignorant of wildlife that because the birds were not waterfowl they would sink??? They have no conception of physics or common sense.
    I wonder if the birds have been flung into the Loch on the understanding that they would be found but with the knowledge that the perpetrators would never have to face justice Just sticking two fingers up to the Law.

    1. Spot on and well said!!
      Nature generally takes care of itself without the interference and mismanagement by humans.
      Bloody wildlife terrorists persecuting the beauty in my world.

      1. Anyone who cares about wildlife would not codone killing on this massive scale. Nor the polluting of a loch in this way. This is the doings of the criminally insane

    2. This smells of the Countryside SS continuing with their ” Final Solution” for the destruction of wildlife.

  2. I never cease to be disgusted and dismayed when reading about the slaughter of any mammals or birds, because they have been class as “vermin”. That classification in the UK’s upland moorlands where game bird shooting takes place on a scale that can only be called a “perversion”, and has nothing to do with hunting for survival, or as a form of sport which is practised under the aegis of law-abiding estates, without the need to kill Birds of Prey, Mountain Hares, Corvids, etc., and which employ gamekeepers who have been vetted for their previous records on landscape management, without resorting to poisons, traps and other vile devices inflicting pain to creatures with a right to live.

    The truth is that all Scottish Governments hitherto, have never really confronted this hegemony shooting estates have had on the natural landscape of Scotland. People were too poor and ignorant of what was going on, but over the past few decades that has considerably changed, with many groups springing up to protect plant, insect, bird and mammal life. Marine creatures have received similar attention, with great concern being shown over the effects of fish farming, and their killing of seals, sea birds and whatever is being seen as a threat. Indeed, the whole world has witnessed a revolt over the damage being done to rainforests, oceans, and other essential parts of the natural infrastructure which maintains a wonderful intricate diversity of life forms. Chief Seatle’s alleged statement decades ago, alerted many people about the web of Life, and how each strand was essential for the whole to exist, and his warning about turning the natural world and its life forms into dollars or whatever currency, His question was – “Can we eat dollars when all is gone?”

    Now, we are seeing a total disregard for all the safeguards for the environment and wildlife by certain political leaders such as Donald Trump with his trying to remove hard won protection for USA forests and national parks, along with lands of Native Peoples. His counterpart in Brazil has opened the flood gates for the Amazon Rainforest to be cleared to create an enormous cattle rearing area, to supply the world with cheap beef. Elsewhere, trophy shooters are revelling in being to kill more Elephants, and anything that is wild, that was formerly protected. A lot of donations to save this and that species looks like going down the drain. Trophy currency benefits conservation is a myth, as is the nonsense that the shooting industry has been responsible for Scotland’s well managed countryside, which has become a graveyard for many species that may conflict with grouse numbers. It is embarrassing that Scotland has become frozen in really tackling such disrespect for wildlife laws, and lacks a progressing plan to remove anachronistic land use, by acknowledging that we have a contribution to the world wide effort to save the planet and its life forms. I want to see more of our politicians have connections with conservation and animal welfare, on their list of interests.

    1. I read your statement and thought it well written and with passion. This is exactly how more and more people are seeing the destruction of world wide wildlife and more people are waking up to the cruelty that has been allowed to go on for so long. It is very sad, in this day and age, that we seem to be going backwards in how we treat and view wildlife. It all comes down to the law in the end. The law makers have no balls to tackle it head on. I do not know what it will take to get their attention and finally realise money does not make a world fit to live in. If the government will not stop trophy hunters bringing their wares back to this country, what hope do we have!.

  3. Someone with more local knowledge might be able to help but are Carrion Crows, Rooks that common in this area? They don’t look like Hoodies although they could be young Jackdaws.

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