A satellite-tagged white-tailed eagle has been found poisoned on a grouse moor in the Cairngorms National Park.
This should be the tipping point. The Scottish Government simply cannot ignore this blatant criminality any longer. There are contact details at the foot of this blog if you want to write to the First Minister and her Environment Cabinet Secretary.
We’ll have much, much more to say about this latest crime but for now, here’s the press release just issued by Police Scotland:
RARE WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLE POISONED
Police Scotland has today confirmed that a rare white-tailed sea eagle found dead earlier this year was poisoned.
The bird of prey was recovered from Donside, Aberdeenshire, in April. A post mortem has now established it died as a result of pesticide poisoning. It had been satellite tagged.
The death is being treated as suspicious. An investigation is ongoing and Police Scotland is appealing for information to help identify those responsible.
[A police officer examines the corpse of this illegally-poisoned sea eagle, found on a grouse moor in the Cairngorms National Park]
White-tailed sea eagles were re-introduced into Scotland in the 1970s after becoming extinct in the UK in the early 1900s. There are now over 150 breeding pairs in Scotland. Police Inspector Sheila McDerment, who chairs the North East Partnership Against Wildlife Crime, said:
“As well as being illegal, poisoning is a cruel way to kill a bird. It also puts the lives of other creatures and plants at risk and impacts negatively on our environment.
This incident is particularly upsetting because these rare and beautiful birds had been re-introduced to Scotland after being extinct throughout the UK.
Raptor persecution is one of six priorities set by the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit. In the North East we work closely with a number of partners to tackle wildlife crime. Members of the public are our eyes and ears. I appeal to anyone out there who may hold any information about this incident to help us bring the offender to justice by coming forward and telling us what they know.”
Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations said: “The news that this bird has been illegally poisoned is appalling. This crime would never have come to light had the bird not been fitted with a satellite tag, and the killing of this young eagle can be added to a litany of raptor persecution incidents in recent years, including previous poisonings and multiple disappearances of similarly-tagged birds of prey. Poisoning is vicious and indiscriminate and we join with Police Scotland in appealing for information.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Gary Cunningham, Wildlife Crime lead for Police Scotland, said: “Scotland’s rich, rare and diverse wildlife and landscapes are among its biggest attractions. We cannot allow the indiscriminate use of poisons and pesticides to threaten our natural heritage. Police Scotland, working with our key partners, is committed to protecting our wildlife habitats and to bringing those who seek to destroy or harm it, to justice.”
Please contact Police Scotland on 101 if you have information about this crime, quoting crime reference number CF0160960720. You can also report information anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
If you’d like the First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon) and her Environment Cabinet Secretary (Roseanna Cunningham) to know how angry this news makes you feel, please send POLITE but strongly-worded emails to:
UPDATE 27th July 2020: RSPB responds to news of poisoned eagle found on grouse moor in Cairngorms National Park (here)
UPDATE 28th July 2020: More on the poisoned sea eagle found dead on a grouse moor in the Cairngorms National Park (here)
UPDATE 29th July 2020: Poisoned sea eagle: inadequate response from Scottish Government (here)
UPDATE 29th July 2020: Poisoned sea eagle: strong response from Scottish Greens (here)
UPDATE 29th July 2020: Poisoned sea eagle: Scottish Ministers under increasing pressure to act (here)
UPDATE 29th July 2020: Poisoned sea eagle: Chris Packham’s letter to Scottish Ministers (here)
UPDATE 30th July 2020: Poisoned sea eagle: poor response from Cairngorms National Park Authority (here)
UPDATE 31st July 2020: Cairngorms National Park, Scotland: where eagles are poisoned, trapped & shot (here)
UPDATE 12th August 2020: Former Sea Eagle Project Officer explains devastating personal impact of ongoing illegal persecution on grouse moors (here)