In July this year, a shot goshawk was found in one the country’s most notorious raptor persecution black spots in the northern Monadhliaths in the Highlands (see here).
A member of the public discovered the dead bird in woodland managed by Forestry Land Scotland (FLS), which is close to land managed for grouse and pheasant shooting. The corpse was retrieved by the Police, FLS and the RSPB and sent for post mortem where it was confirmed it had been shot.
It is by no means unusual that masked gunmen will visit public woodland to attack goshawk nests (e.g. see here, here and here) especially as this highly efficient predator is a perceived threat to gamebird stocks and as such is despised by many in the game-shooting industry.
[Goshawk photo by Martha de Jong-Lantink]
Police Scotland issued a timely appeal for information (here) and opened a criminal investigation.
Unfortunately, as with so many raptor persecution crimes, that investigation has now reached a dead end. A police spokesperson has advised that ‘all lines of enquiry have been completed, including CCTV, door to door enquiries, local enquiries, vet analysis of the remains, x-ray of remains, background checks, social media and traditional media press release‘.
There haven’t been any arrests and there won’t be any prosecutions unless new information comes to light.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the crime didn’t take place (some in the game-shooting industry would have you believe that no prosecution = no crime), it just means that yet again, someone with access to a gun in this area has been able to commit a crime and will face zero consequences, just like the last time, and the time before that, and the time before that, and…..etc etc.