Osprey nest platform cut down with chainsaw as first egg is laid

The nest platform of a pair of breeding ospreys has been cut down overnight by someone with a chainsaw, just a day after the pair had laid their first egg.

A statement from the Brenig Osprey Project in North Wales:

Brenig Osprey Project partners woke up this morning to the worst possible news. Last night 30/4/21 , at 21.42, someone took a chainsaw to the osprey nest and felled it. This is a fast-moving situation and we’ll issue more news of the birds when we can – please, please be kind to staff this weekend as we work out how to respond to this horrific act of vandalism.

For a start – if you have any information that can help us identifying the individuals responsible, please let us know or contact the police with crime reference Z059734.

[Photograph of the felled platform tower]

North Wales Police’s Rural Crime Team are attending and an investigation is underway.

The Brenig Osprey Project is hosted at Llyn Brenig, a North Wales Wildlife Trust nature reserve. In partnership with Welsh Water the project aims to connect locals and visitors with wildlife and has a live camera feed from the osprey nest to the visitor centre and a viewing point where rangers help visitors to watch the ospreys through telescopes and binoculars.

[Webcam footage from the Brenig nest during a previous breeding season]

If you have ANY information about this disgraceful criminal act, no matter how insignificant you might think it is, please contact North Wales Police on 101.

UPDATE 14.15hrs: North Wales Police Rural Crime Team has just tweeted this:

57 thoughts on “Osprey nest platform cut down with chainsaw as first egg is laid”

    1. If only …………. no doubt there would be a stream of lily-livered asses with ready made reasons at their fingertips making a case for the usual ineffective sentences.

    2. Prison is not a deterent. It is just a university for criminals. Community orders, bringing miscreants to face the victims of their crime, are far more effective in stopping repeat offending. For wildlife crime this would mean working on conservation projects and habitat enhancement, a much more positive way forward. A life time ban from getting a firearms licence would also help.

      1. “Prison is not a deterent. It is just a university for criminals. Community orders, bringing miscreants to face the victims of their crime, are far more effective in stopping repeat offending. For wildlife crime this would mean working on conservation projects and habitat enhancement, a much more positive way forward.” A life time ban from getting a firearms licence would also help.”

        Very strange – I have met many victims of crime and none wanted to meet the offender, but all wanted to hand out some very rough justice.

        “A life time ban from getting a firearms licence would also help.” ………… The country is awash with firearms held by people who do not have licences. That is the problem with criminals – they pay no heed to the law.

        1. I am not talking about criminals meeting their victims, known as restorative justice. I am advocating community service aimed at repairing the damage they are doing.

      2. You’ve obviously never been in prison. Beleive me, a free thinking, freedom loving person doesn’t enjoy such a thing.
        I suggest harsher sentences for wildlife crime. During the duration a convict would undergo specific rehabilitative education focusing on wildlife crime and the consequences.

  1. This reminds me of the incident on Invermark Estate, Glenesk, in January 2013 when the tree hostng first sea eagles nest to be built in the Eastern Cairngorms was cut down. Eventually the shepherds were blamed. The same eyrie when inspected last year was found to contain a single abandoned egg. As such they knew by the presence of the sea eagles around the nest that they would be returning again in 2013.
    This act of vandalism only reinvigorated the campaign against these people who commit such crimes against our raptors.
    Let this incident do the same.

  2. The deterrents are not big enough to make these scum think twice about committing these acts of violence ….

    1. The sentence only matters if the criminals think they might get caught. The way things are, they’ll expect to get away with it

  3. There are no adequate words for this. Lets just hope the culprit is found and treated appropriately.

      1. That’s not even going anywhere near what I think is an appropriate punishment, it would certainly not involve anything in the community!

  4. Personally think chainsaws are one of the biggest threats to wildlife in general. Some idiot with a chainsaw can fell a tree that has taken decades or even centuries to grow, in a matter of hours or even minutes. It happens all the time and I dread hearing the sound. Maybe they should be less easy to buy? Meanwhile, this particular crime is incomprehensible – what on earth motivates someone to do this? 😢😠

  5. This is sufficiently outrageous that it might appeal to some of the mainstream news media – I hope the story has been communicated as widely as possible.
    Maybe it might even get a mention in the next RSPB magazine, but I doubt it!

    1. No Alan I too have given up with that particular RSPB publication no zeal or campaigning in sight now a publication for what are disparagingly called “robin petters”

  6. I think we have to accept that ‘a state of war’ exists between the ‘lovers’ of nature and the ‘bullies’’ where Nature – both wildlife and the environment – are proxies for this conflict of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Around me on my Scottish shooting estate I see how the bullies have mobilised and I suspect that this is going on secretly across the British Isles as powerful Estate owners prepare to resist the unwanted change they feel is coming their way. Here, cars regularly patrol the formerly quiet roads in groups, communications are hacked and intimmidatory surveillance of those deemed ‘the enemy’ conducted. Meanwhile the police remain blind to all this. We need to up our game and – once the Covid restrictions are lifted – unite around some common approach.

    At some point the bullies will have to be confronted. There are some wonderful and courageous people fighting this fight and we need to come together around them to further the cause. Perhaps a convention or a rally could be organised to bring people together physically? It’s time to get active and really find our collective voice so we can demand the change we want both for wildlife and the environment. And society too.

    Does this idea resonate with anyone else out there?

    1. Report the surveillance and car following etc to the police its called intimidation and is an offence if makes you feel unsafe, use the law to beat these Bs at their own game and in their own backyard..

      1. Done all that. The problem is that meaningful evidence – that the police will take seriously in relation to the law – is a lot harder to come by in this case than you would think if the bullies are smart as they are in my case. And up in the hills, living alone with powerful local estate owners and their communities against you who do you think the police are going to believe?

        1. Record it all in a diary, on your phone, it is what stalking victims are told and this is little different. they cannot ignore a mass of evidence.

  7. This is truly horrific and watching the CCTV footage has reduced me to tears what the hell is wrong in this country today. Somebody must know or suspect something lets hope they have the decency to come forward and thie scum responsible are caught and punished for this.

  8. This incident highlights just what conservation is up against when it wants to protect and enhance nature and the environment.
    There is a war going on in our countryside, with criminals, and those only interested in making money on one side and those who want to preserve and protect the environment on the other.
    One of the issues is that generally those who want preserve and protect nature are decent law abiding people.
    As such they look to politicians and the authorities to resolve this conflict and protect the natural world through legislation and the legal system.
    Criminals and the “selfish greedy” by their very nature don’t care about the law or what is right. If the laws are weak they will do what they want regardless.
    As most readers of this website will have realised- the current system just isn’t working.
    The law and its enforcement is not adequate to deal with the sheer scale and scope of the activities of the criminals.
    I truly believe that the underlying problem rests with the economic system and the value we have given to the nature.
    Basically the natural environment is seen as something to exploit and make money from.
    Whether this is illegal deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, turning uplands into driven grouse moors and illegally persecuting birds of prey, stealing eggs from the wild or simply destroying any aspect of nature which is seen as hindering profitability and other money making ventures- it all comes from the same failure of a system which doesn’t give nature intrinsic worth.
    These Ospreys are a victim to that failure- they were no doubt perceived as a threat to some small minded individuals way of making money. So they had to be removed.
    The government talk about “public money for public good” – but I think this concept won’t be allowed to hinder exploiting or damaging the natural environment to make money.
    This has to change.
    During the Covid lockdown- many people found comfort and solace in nature. How many people for the first time listened to the birds in their garden, or took pleasure in watching the sunset?
    This clearly demonstrates nature has worth.
    Maybe it’s time our wildlife and environmental laws and their enforcement reflected this?

    Hopefully the public will be so incensed by this hideous act, that the selfish, evil, cretin responsible, will be found and suitability punished. But I am not going to hold my breath!!

    1. Brilliant . Very eloquently written , I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say

  9. The comment by the NWP Rural Crime team is, I believe, particularly pertinent.

    “Wildlife crimes always have a motive and we believe the person who did this had a strong motive to rid the area of ospreys and particularly the lake”

    Given that the lake is a trout fishery that statement will probably set people thinking that someone with an angling interest is involved. Whilst that could be the case, I know of a few trout fisheries where there are breeding ospreys or where ospreys come to fish and the anglers love to watch them.
    Whether you are an angler, or not, you would need to have a diseased mind to even think about harming these birds.

    I think that the police will be on the ball with this case and may well, through speaking to anglers, find out about people who hold the sort of extreme views that would make them candidates to carry out this dreadful crime.

    To all anglers who may know something, please do not wait to be asked. Pick up the phone now and inform the police.

    1. Yes this was a bit too much like hard work to be casual vandalism towards wildlife, which unfortunately I think the lockdown has shown there’s more appetite for than we might believe. I know there are mumblings from some in the angling community that ospreys need to be ‘controlled’, even the bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth are regularly the targets for similar remarks. I’m sure a commentator here once mentioned that plans to encourage nesting ospreys near the river Ure were kibboshed,by aglers and I’m pretty sure there were a series of osprey killings at Rutland Water a few years ago. Given the utter bile that’s being directed at otters by a significant element of the fishing community little would surprise me. There’s also the outside chance this was a general two finger salute to the conservation community. Wales is virtually a no go area for rewilding, looks like too much subsidy ranching at stake, and even the basic, mainstream conservation taking place has been criticised as too much of an imposition. Pretty awful situation and it’s just sunk one step even lower.

  10. I am sure the locals around there will know exactly who or which group did it. The police update implies the same. It would have been far easier to discreetly shoot / ‘disappear ‘ one of the pair, so it strikes me that the culprit(s) wanted to make a bold public statement and must have a deep sense that they are “in the right”. I’m not commenting on the stocked-fishery industry in Wales or suggesting that they are responsible (I know very little about that part of the world), but as Ospreys and Sea Eagles steadily increase nationwide, tensions with many of the fishery businesses that grew up while those species were absent will only increase. Luckily for Ospreys they are a species that captures the wider public’s imagination and any hint of their persecution will be challenged. The public don’t care the same for Cormorants (too unattractive), Goosanders (just a goose?), Otters (big rats with big teeth) and even Herons – and in localised areas I believe that the persecution of these species is as routine as it is for raptors on grouse moors.

    1. I’m positive otter killings are far higher than most people suspect. Angling is becoming increasingly intensive and ‘unatural’. Lakes stocked with artificially raised fish so there’s more to catch and bigger. I’ve witnessed a lake being restocked with rainbow trout and it was pretty disgusting. They had been so swollen by pellet feed it looked like they’d been pumped up with a bicycle pump. Long overdue that the ecological consequences of this more intensive fishing were reviewed.

  11. I was once told by a wonderful, experienced primary teacher that, ‘Children grow up to become either sandcastle builders or sand castle destroyers … no middle ground’. Many believe similarly, ‘Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man!’
    The illegal and immoral actions of this individual (or group) demonstrates the truth in the first statement … but, certainly doesn’t excuse it. There is an empathy chip missing certainly.
    As for the second statement … a child brought up in a home by poor role models will himself become a poor role model in the future. How do we change that?
    In the meantime … people who commit such nasty acts are often braggarts, and will be unable to resist the temptation to boast to friends & family and maybe even in the pub garden, at the gym, at work, on the riverbank whilst fishing, on social media etc. so keep your ears & eyes open folks and hope they do get overheard or ‘grassed up’ by people with a soul!

  12. It seems to me that this is national news – most of the interested but uninformed populace will not get to hear about it – and would be appalled if they did. This is a highly emotive story with, on the face of it, strongly negative connotations for the perpetrators and their cause. Surely there is an opportunity for wider publicity in national press- or is this counter productive? I’m asking for advice before I post the story to the BBC.

      1. Hopefully this will make the morons brag and facilitate arrest but the punishment will be so trivial that all the public outrage will be to nought

    1. Ian Hunter wrote, inter alia :-

      “This is a highly emotive story with, on the face of it, strongly negative connotations for the perpetrators and their cause.”

      Yes, that is so, and if the motive is to kill ospreys to increase fish stocks then that is principally the same as killing other raptors (and wildlife) to increase gamebird stocks.

      The killers are all part of the same rotten crew.

  13. The nasty Much Savage element in rural UK has been indulged for too long – this incident simply highlights that these scum know the state is not serious when it comes to serious wildlife crime

  14. There should have been a hidden trailcam set in the locality to identify unwelcome intruders.

  15. This happened before when a vengeful egg collector who had had his substantial collection confiscated by the Court took his revenge.. Moronic behaviour.

  16. I am so upset about this, its most likely local anglers unhappy with the fact that the birds are eating the fish, so maybe it should be made a no fishing lake. If it not already…. I hope you catch the lowlife who did this😡😡😡😡

  17. The Routine Activity Theory (Cohen &Felson 1979) suggests that a person may choose to offend if they have:
    • the motivation to attack a target
    • the right kind of target to attack
    • a potential target without adequate protection.

    The police tweet suggests that whoever committed this crime had a motivation to rid the area and that particular lake of ospreys. Mention is also made that the offender/offenders had access to a boat. This all points to someone with an association to that lake, and someone whose interests were threatened by the presence of the ospreys. We can all come up with theories as to the sort of persons who could commit this crime. The most obvious hypothesis would be an angler who sees fish stocks threatened by the presence of the ospreys.
    It also highlights the lack of protection birds of prey are afforded. Both physical protection to the birds and their nests. But also the lack of protection and deterrence factor provided by the law and its enforcement.

    Llyn Brenig, where this crime occurred is managed by Welsh Water. I hope Welsh Water have the courage to suspend all angling and use of boats on the lake whilst the investigation into this crime takes place. This would serve the purpose of not only sending a message that Welsh Water will not condone any illegal activity on land or water managed by them. It would also most probably cause considerable anger in the angling community- and hopefully those law abiding anglers effected by the ban would come forward and help the police identify the criminals responsible for this heinous crime. Someone, somewhere will have knowledge of who is responsible.
    What we know from studies on crime, is that many people will ignore or turn a blind eye to crime if it has no direct impact upon their lives, but the moment crimes start to impact directly on their lives then they usually want the police and courts to take firm action. (this can best be demonstrated by community groups who will often initially ignore drug dealing and drug taking, but the moment drug use in their neighbourhood creates antisocial behaviour or a rise in crimes like burglary and theft- as drug users resort to criminal activities to help fund their drug use, then there is usually a call by effected residents to the authorities to take action)
    So the same hypothesis could be applied to this crime, and hopefully those law abiding anglers whose ability to go fishing is disrupted by the actions of criminals would be incentivised to help the police investigation.

    (The same is also probably true when it comes to raptor persecution on grouse moors. If as a result of the illegal persecution of birds of prey- shooting was banned,- all those who lawfully shoot would be effected, and so would have the motivation to expose and eject the criminals from the shooting industry- which at the moment doesn’t appear to be happening- because the activities of the criminals doesn’t impinge on the law abiding shooters ability to go shooting)

    Hopefully the media attention and public outrage will result in not only a thorough investigation, but a willingness of those with information to come forward and help the police- so that the criminals are brought swiftly to justice!
    My concern is that the police will be faced with the wall of silence- in which case methods need to be adopted to break down that wall- even if that means a ban on angling on Llyn Brenig!!

    1. I would bear in mind that in the area there are a number of fisheries and fish farms. Ospreys do not confine their fishing to the lake, llyn or loch adjacent to their nest. Similarly, they do visit some fish farms and Brenig raises it’s own trout for stocking the Llyn (probably weekly based on the numbers of trout caught and maybe with some more for the ospreys).
      There is also boating on the Llyn.

      I have a feeling that the motive behind the crime is not straightforward. Perhaps a wierdo with a grudge.

  18. I agree. I thought this from the outset. The potential angling connection could be a total red herring. What a great pity the pole didn’t fall on their heads.

  19. “What a great pity the pole didn’t fall on their heads.”
    ☠ Nothing of value would have been damaged.

  20. I have just donated to the N. Wales W.T. as an act of positivity. My negative thoughts are of taking the Law into my own hands and spending 25yrs in prison. These crimes hurt me to the soul. My life is the natural world and helping to protect it. I do confess to keeping my visits to this blog less frequent as I cannot always deal with the volume of stress and pain reported here. Thanks to all who care and help out where they can

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