Poisoned eagle in Dorset had 7 x lethal dose rodenticide in its liver

Further to the news that Dorset Police has announced it has prematurely closed its investigation into the poisoned white-tailed eagle that was found dead on a shooting estate in January 2022 (see here,  herehere and here), the post mortem results have now been revealed.

According to a blog written by the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation (the group managing the eagle reintroduction project on the Isle of Wight):

Post mortem and toxicology testing through the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme has subsequently identified brodifacoum poisoning as the cause of death. Brodifacoum is a highly toxic anticoagulant rodenticide that causes internal haemorrhaging. The bird’s liver contained approximately seven times the amount of brodifacoum required to kill a bird like a White-tailed Eagle. The satellite data indicates that the eagle, which was otherwise healthy, deteriorated and died over a period of several days‘.

SEVEN times the lethal dose?

Good grief. It’s no wonder the award-winning Dorset Police wildlife crime officer Claire Dinsdale was planning to undertake a multi-agency search of the estate. It was the obvious next move.

Given these post-mortem results I’d like to know how Dorset Police can justify its decision to shelve the search and close the investigation. I’d also like to know if that decision had anything to do with Claire going on indefinite sick leave.

Up until now I’ve refrained from using the word ‘corrupt’ to describe Dorset Police’s decision and have instead suggested ‘undue political interference’. I’m afraid that corruption is looking more and more likely.

There’s much more to come on this story….

34 thoughts on “Poisoned eagle in Dorset had 7 x lethal dose rodenticide in its liver”

    1. We all know how these things work. A political representative has private words with farming ‘friends’ and owner ‘friends’ of large shooting estates. Private words are then had between any of these people who happen to be personal friends with some Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable, and private words are then had between either of those and a Chief Super or a Chief Inspector and… hey presto! a unit is suddenly disbanded, or an investigation shelved, or both.

      The Bobby on the Spot is left to keep schtum or look for another job… A classic case of a firm within a firm…

      Maybe a friendly Parliamentarian might name some estate in Parliament, under privilege? Who knows?

  1. This needs a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Authority as it stinks to high heaven. That amount of rat poison suggests totally incompetent use or deliberate poisoning, both offences. Dorset police have a lot of explaining to do.

  2. I commented yesterday that I thought this stinks, but now I think it is much more than that. It’s important that we question everything because it we don’t we get corrupt officials. If officials are not challenged they believe that they can do anything. Absolute power corrupts absolutely!

    I am concerned for the wellbeing of the Police Officer Claire Dinsdale. If she has tried to do the right thing and been given a ‘kick in the teeth’ then that is outrageous. If you are reading this Claire I wish you well and, to coin a phrase, don’t let the bastards grind you down.

    I also think about the prolonged suffering the eagle went through.

    All of this is making my blood boil and someone needs to pay!

  3. Your are correct to say Dorset Police is corrupt. A friend of mine had his Jeep stolen in Dorset some years ago and it transpired the person who stole it was the brother of a Police sergeant in Dorset Police. The subsequent events were quite incredible and the outcome was that no one was ever brought to justice for this offence. Dorset Police then targeted the victim who found he attracted their attention for no good reason. They seem to be above the law and out of control.

  4. Brodificoum is a legal poison used by pest controllers. It is, however, only licenced for indoor use against rats & mice (although there were moves to get it licenced for outdoor use) because there was a severe risk of secondary poisoning where non target species consummed the corpses.

    1. Notwithstanding its theoretical restriction to indoor use, brodifacoum regularly features in the Fera findings of substances present in the remains of dead Red Kites. Clearly it is being used in situations in which rats which consume it have access to the outdoors. Goodness knows what the effects of legitimising its outdoor use might have been? There is a myth abroad that brodifacoum will not ‘second kill’. This could account for the number of cases in which it is found as it encourages poor housekeeping in terms of users finding and safely disposing of dead rats..

    2. A local supermarket has a rat problem they don’t exactly advertise and they’ve those green plastic poison dispensers meant for rodents in several locations. Alarmingly I actually saw a kestrel pounce on a mouse very close to where one of the poison dispensers was. How much is our wildlife being affected directly and indirectly by the various biocides that are still too liberally thrown about?

  5. Public pressure and activism led to the banning of fox hunting — and, though ignored like the protection of raptor legislation — public pressure and activism has led to the tightening of laws and put many hunts out of business.
    What they, the wildlife criminals want, is for the whole issue to disappear behind the closed doors of “committee rooms” where corruption and self interest always outweighs those with sincerity and good intentions as their guide. They ensure that during the selection process with the deciding vote usually made to appear a false type of “neutral.”
    I’ve been making this point for years but unless we start to encourage the young to follow the example of the Sabs I fear little will be gained.

  6. And while they’re at it, any committee of enquiry set up to look into this might also wish to check out the North Yorkshire Police situation already mentioned on RPUK. The Dorset and North Yorkshire cases are two instances of highly effective Police Officers disappearing from view in the course of wildlife persecution enquiries in areas where the problem is rife. Multi-agency enquiries have been featured several times recently, but even these are under threat if cases are being nipped in the bud before they can get under way – as appears to have been the case in the Dorset enquiry.

  7. There are two problems here, first of all we have a rotten corrupt government and then we have a rotten corrupt police. They both watch each others back. The main responsibility of the police is to protect the elites and we pay them to do it. This needs to change, and with regards to wildlife crime. We need to put pressure on other political parties to have it in their manifesto that wildlife crime will be investigated by a new separate, well funded and independent wildlife crime/environmental crime agency that is based in cities, with the powers to bring prosecutions. No more cosy friendships with wealthy land owners and corrupt politicians. It’s an absolute travesty that such majestic animals protected by law, are killed on the orders of some rich land owner, with them knowing fine well that the police are so pathetically weak and corrupt that they will get away with it.

    1. It is unacceptable to describe all police personnel as corrupt. I know for a fact that there are officers out there who are as disappointed and frustrated as we are that they are unable to bring these wildlife criminals to justice.
      Fully agree with the other points made.

  8. Make a complaint against the police for not investigating the case adequately enough, then if the response if not acceptable make an appeal to the Independent Office of Police Conduct and then, if necessary, to seek judicial review of that decision. Crowd fund to pay for the legal fees. We have to make sure that this is not acceptable and we will not just stay silent while they allow wildlife crimes to go unpunished.

    1. The IOPC have a reputation within the police for being very slow to act. This became so bad that the Police Federation (their ‘union’) took legal action securing compensation plus apology for certain long drawn-out investigations. Actual compensation amounts were withheld, something I speculate as meaning – ‘too expensive to admit’. Remiss of me. The Police Federation article is here, I suggest it is well-worth reading. I’ve been unable to find any comment by IOPC…


        1. I think I’d consider a long wait of secondary importance to having made an official complaint. Once a complaint has been made, questions will have to be answered eventually…

  9. From what I am reading there appears to be a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence coming together in this matter which suggests something is very amiss.
    Both the police and politicians are accountable to the public, and I really hope there will be an open, honest and transparent investigation into just what has taken place, and why Dorset police have prematurely terminated this investigation.
    If there is corruption it needs to be exposed, and any corrupt individuals need to face the full force of the law.
    With the way the facts are being presented this really does seem a matter for the IOPC to investigate. I just hope someone with a close interest in the eagle reintroduction program and the death of this eagle has the courage to take this matter up with the IOPC.

    1. The IOPC aren’t independent. When you submit a complaint to them they refer it to the police force you are complaining about. I have personal experience of this.

  10. The IOPC are independent of the police and government.
    However most complaints about the police are handled internally by that police services professional standards department.
    However certain complaints such as those involving serious assault or allegations of serious corruption are by law required to be notified to the IOPC.

    On receiving notification of a complaint the IOPC will then decide whether to:
    investigate the matter with their own investigators,
    direct and control the investigation using police resources,
    or allow the complaint to be investigated locally by that police services professional standards department.

    So depending on what the nature of the complaint was, it could well be the complaint was referred back to the local police force to investigate.
    The IOPC website explains all this in greater detail.

    There are other areas of this Dorset case which still baffle me.
    The poisoned eagle was found in January and yet searches where the eagle was found had not yet been carried out. Why?
    It could be that when the bird was first found the cause of death was not known, and there is the possibility it could have died from natural causes. However, I understand that the satellite data from the bird indicated that the eagle until only a few days before its death was perfectly healthy.
    When was this data shared with the police?
    Was the bird subject to a preliminary examination or post mortem?
    If what appears to be a perfectly healthy bird suddenly dies, and there is no obvious signs of trauma, and bearing in mind what is known about the persecution of eagles and the use of poison, then shouldn’t this have raised suspicions that foul play might be involved, particularly involving the use of poison?

    One of the basic rules of any investigation is the preservation of crime scenes and the early gathering of evidence. In this case, the eagle would have been one crime scene, and the location where the eagle found a second crime scene.
    So why weren’t early searches conducted in the vicinity of where the eagle was found, either at the time the bird was recovered or in the following few days after the initial find? Perhaps they were, and this just hasn’t been reported? (is this a similar issue to the issues about witness appeals and the often woeful lack of the police appeals for witnesses following the discovery of an illegally killed raptor?)
    The parameters of those searches could have initially been fairly limited and with a focus on searching for obvious poisoned bait, or something which could have caused the death of the eagle.
    Once the toxicology results were known, then the parameters of the initial search could have been reviewed, and extended if required.
    One of the issues of delaying searches is that the crime scene become contaminated, and it becomes all too easy for a defence to state that any items found were in fact introduced to that scene after the crime was committed, and should be excluded from the police evidence. This is why when a murder or serious assault takes place, we often see crime scenes taped off to prevent public access, and police officers controlling entrance to that scene.
    I appreciate that managing crime scenes in the countryside is far more difficult than managing crime scenes in an urban setting or in a premises, and that establishing the cause of death of a bird is often the first step in an investigation, as birds often die of natural causes. But this shouldn’t prevent basic investigative practices to be followed, if that is what is happening?

    However, society does not view wildlife crime in the same way as it sees crimes involving people or property, and I wonder if this is hindering the police investigations which take place? The issue being one of methodology and mindset of the police investigators.

    What concerns me is that wildlife crime is potentially seen as a wildlife or conservation matter rather than a criminal matter.
    Perhaps if there was more focus on treating wildlife crime in a similar manner to other mainstream crimes, then we would see better legislation, better policing, better investigations and more criminals brought to justice?
    It would also make it far harder for the police to prematurely close investigations without ensuring basic investigative standards had been met.

  11. It seems to me that the police should be completely independent of any political party but the fact that, for some incomprehensible reason, police and crime commisssioners are elected under political banners makes this extremely difficult to achieve.

  12. The point I was trying to make with my first comment is that it is the “behind the scenes committees”and other bodies in the wings that corrupt power is expressed. This is what allows the modern day Barons to cvontinue in some sectors as if it were still the Medieval Age. Good intention will not solve that as a “nod and a wink” cannot
    be caught on video or audio tape. The hard discussions take place well away from any official arena and it seems obvious to me that the power pinnacle tends to terminate in people appointed by the same cabal that they eventually have the casting vote on if push comes to shove.
    IF it is how I believe it to be then ONLY public pressure and the associated activism will change it. This approach certainly make lots of gains in the fight against fox hunting.

  13. On the basis of conservative body weights, the amount of brodifacoum used to kill G641 would have been enough to kill 82 Brown rats.

    As mentioned elsewhere on this blog, brodifacoum is licensed for indoor use, or immediately next to buildings, only.

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