Dead golden eagle found on Scottish grouse moor

Yesterday, the BBC News website ran a story about the discovery of a dead golden eagle on the Queensberry Estate, an estate within the Buccleuch portfolio in Dumfriesshire.

The eagle had reportedly been discovered on Saturday and is believed to have been one of the young eagles from the South Scotland Golden Eagle Project, where eagles are being translocated from other Scottish regions in an effort to boost the declining population in the south.

Tests are currently underway to establish the cause of death.

It looks to me like this BBC News article was prompted by a press release from Buccleuch and is probably an attempt by the estate to undertake a damage limitation exercise and ‘get its story out first’ before the cause of death has been determined, just in case it turns out to be yet another persecution incident reported in this area. If it turns out that the eagle has died of natural causes then the estate has had a bit of free, positive publicity. It’s win/win for them.

However, if this eagle does turn out to have been killed illegally, the BBC News report will have already alerted the person(s) who killed the eagle that the corpse has been recovered and the authorities are investigating, which provides the culprit(s) every opportunity to hide/destroy any evidence linking them to the crime. Not the brightest move.

The premature release of this news also smacks of hypocrisy. Last year, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) went into hysterical meltdown after Police Scotland issued an appeal for information about the discovery of a dead golden eagle on a grouse moor in Strathbraan, because the appeal was issued prior to a post mortem being undertaken (i.e. the cause of death was unknown) and the SGA claimed the appeal was ‘insensitive’ and had caused ’emotional distress’ (see here and here).

Will we see the SGA complaining about a premature press release from Buccleuch? No, thought not.

19 thoughts on “Dead golden eagle found on Scottish grouse moor”

  1. The quicker these grouse shooting estates are closed down the better. And the land is used for the wider community boosting tourism and the local economy rather than an elite few who dont care a jot about Scotland and its wildlife

    1. Ye close them all down and just let every predator kill all the wildlife and we can be left with nothing get a brain and look in to how the real life works

      1. No that’s what you should do as your views are to be polite ecologically illiterate or so you understand you are talking utter crap.

      2. Maybe if you looked “in to (sic) how the real life works”, you wouldn’t make such laughably ignorant statements.

      3. “let every predator kill all the wildlife and we can be left with nothing”

        What happened BEFORE grouse shooting estates existed? Was that ‘real life’, too? Did the ‘predators kill all wildlife’ before grouse shooting existed, and was ‘nothing left’ as a consequence? You’ve made a right fool of yourself with that line of argument, haven’t you?

        Or, do you claim that grouse shooting estates have always existed?

      4. You are not trying to push out the old tired narrative that gamekeepers are good for wildlife and they are custodians of the countryside are you ? We have moved on from that no one believes it anymore .

      5. Thank you for confirming my suspicions about the knowledge levels of supporters of the shooting industry. Can I suggest that, before you make yourself look any more unintelligent, you go and read up about predator / prey relationships?

      6. There are any number of good text books on ecology available, any number of educational establishments providing courses on such things and a wealth of research out there about predator/prey relationships, all of which demonstrate how “real life” works.

  2. Odd that.

    Releasing the name of the estate in Dorset that the dead white tail was found on was not allowed. Even getting close to identifying one of a couple of possible estates off the A66 allegedly involved in some iffyness with hen harriers wasn’t allowed. Police asking for information with very vague locations is the norm.

    And yet not here, where we know which estate…

    It’s almost like some double standards operate.

    1. Exactly the same as they did to release a piece about the Invercauld Estate some years ago, I believe in an attempt to deflect from xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx. Also covered on this blog. Nothing changes in the action of supporters of organised crime behaviour.

      [Ed: Thanks Alex, partially redacted as libellous]

  3. Strange as I was talking to a friend on the phone last night, both she and her husband worked for the Buccleuch Estate in Drumlanrig, Dumfriesshire. She told me that this is being converted to a shooting estate and that is all they will do in future. In the past it has had agricultural use in the main with some shooting in season. I used to live close to this estate and many pheasants were killed on the A76 road which passes close to it. From what I heard when I lived in the area, there is something of a history concerning raptors. I hope that it might be possible to say xxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx without getting my post censored. xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx It is sad to see it is one of the golden eagles released as part of the South of Scotland Golden Eagle project as such a lot of hard work went in to this to make it a success.

  4. Seems as though several trains of thought are being aired here.

    First, the illegal persecution of raptors, which no one can deny is repellant.

    Second, access to land for tourism, etc. Scotland has full right-to-roam legislation and restrictions can be challenged in the courts. Some are inevitable: gathering in hill sheep, felling trees, on shooting days, etc. It is a fact that there is not a mass movement that desires access. If there were, then we would have a Kinder Scout moment.

    Then there is the ‘who should own a grouse moor’ question? Is this envy? A socialist view? He lives in a bigger house, has more land, a flashier car than me and this is wrong. Nothing wrong with wealth in my book. It is how you use it.

    And finally, there is the ban all driven shooting view, which many would support. This is a view promoted by all members of Wild Justice, although none of the three are against ‘one for the pot’ shooting as stated in a debate at a Game Fair debate for Field Sports TV.

    What view or all do you subscribe to?

    1. If you want to know some more about how Scottish land owners “acquired” their land, you could do worse than read Andy Wightman’s “The Poor Had No Lawyers”. Or look into how the English aristocracy came to “own” land or the effects of the Acts of Enclosure in removing land from common ownership and concentrating it is certain hands. Hint – for the most part they just took it from other folk.

      Opposition to large-scale land-owning, such as shooting estates, is most definitely not “the politics of envy”, rather wanting to seek some restoration of common ownership or wanting reform of land usage.

      Eco-tourism can be encouraged in the absence of shooting estates.

      The “right to roam” is not always as all encompassing as one might think: I’ve come across a number of places in the Hebrides where access is barred for no apparent reason.

      Personal view is that all driven shooting should be banned and that pheasant/red-leg releases and management for the shooting of them should be tightly controlled. Some culling of red deer in some parts of Scotland would be useful in overall land management.

    2. This is a serious discussion on the suspicious death of a rare native bird…not an opening shot in a supposed new debate on scottish land use..find some other soapbox.

  5. This part of the world – with the Eagle Project nearby and also a number of estates seemingly pushing hard along the “intensive DGS” model of management, might be one of the early testing grounds for the effectiveness of Scotland’s forthcoming regulatory system. Be interesting to see if regulation succeeds in limiting the anticipated casualty count.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s