Gamekeeper guilty of poisoning at Blythe Farm, nr lauder, Scottish Borders

In August 2006, a police raid on Blythe Farm, near Lauder in the Scottish Borders, led to the discovery of pheasant baits laced with poison (carbofuran) as well as several illegal cage traps baited with live pigeons to lure in birds of prey.

Gamekeeper Aitken arrived at court in a black ski mask.

In April 2007, gamekeeper George “Doddie” Aitken was found guilty at Selkirk Sheriff Court. Sheriff Kevin Drummond sentenced him to 220 hours community service. A gamekeeper for 20 years, Aitken was allowed to keep his job. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/south_of_scotland/6719505.stm

In January 2008, the owner of Blythe Farm, James McDougal, became the first landowner to be punished for the crimes committed by his gamekeeper. His agricultural subsidies were cut by £7,919 for his failure to protect wildlife. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/jan/07/ruralaffairs.scotland

inquiry after buzzard shot dead in Aberdeenshire

In May 2007, Police appealed for information after a buzzard was shot dead in Aberdeenshire.

The bird was recovered in woodland near St Cyrus, and an X-ray showed four shotgun pellets in its body.

Grampian Police believe it may have been shot several months earlier, and said various lines of inquiry were being pursued.

Buzzards are protected under law and offenders can be jailed for up to six months or fined up to £5,000.

Grampian Police Wildlife Crime Officer Pc Dave MacKinnon said: “I am appealing to anyone who may have information about this incident or the illegal killing of protected species to come forward with their information.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/north_east/6611821.stm

Red Kite Found Poisoned Near Glenturret Estate, Tayside.

A third red kite has been poisoned with a banned pesticide in Perthshire, police have said.

The Dead Glenturret Red Kite

The dead bird was found on the edge of the Glenturret Estate near Crieff in August 2007.

Two other red kites have also been killed this year and tests have shown all the birds had eaten bait laced with carbofuran, which was outlawed in 2001.

Tayside Police have appealed for information about the deaths, which have been called “sickening” and “an absolute disgrace”.

The force’s wildlife and environment officer said those involved in the deaths should “hang their head in shame.” Alan Stewart said: “It is an absolute disgrace that a method commonly employed to kill birds of prey two centuries ago is still in use in 2007. Pesticides can easily kill people as well as wildlife yet these deadly baits are still left out in the open” He added that it would be “naive” to think the three dead red kites found in Tayside were the only poisoning incidents this year, as most baits and victims were never reported to the police.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tayside_and_central/6958331.stm

Report in Strathearn Herald here

Red Kites were absent from Scotland’s skies for over a century due to human persecution. In 1989 a reintroduction programme was initiated by SNH and RSPB to bring this elegant bird of prey back. Although this programme has been successful it has been dogged by illegal poisoning. The red kite’s scavenging feeding habits make it especially vulnerable to this type of crime.

Sea eagle feared killed on Glenogil Estate, Angus

This is the missing sea eagle, known as 'Bird N'

A young white-tailed sea eagle, less than six months old, is feared to have been killed on Glenogil Estate, Angus in the autumn of 2007, according to an article published in The Scotsman. Tayside police apparently received an anonymous tip-off that suggested the eagle had allegedly been shot on the estate. The information correlates with radio tracking data from the bird, who was regularly tracked in the area but whose signal disappeared around the time of the alleged incident, although the signal could have failed as a result of a mechanical malfunction.The young eagle has never been seen again. No arrests have been made.

The sea eagle was one of 15 young birds that were donated by Norway for the East Scotland re-introduction project. The young birds were released in Fife in August 2007, fitted with radio transmitters and wing tags for identification.

Glenogil Estate is owned by multi-millionaire John Dodd, who is reported to take grouse moor management advice from Mark Osborne. Glenogil has been at the centre of previous investigations of alleged wildlife crime offences, and John Dodd was fined £107,000 in 2008 for the suspected use of illegal poisons on raptors.  Dodd is appealing the decision.

For further information about the missing sea eagle: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tayside_and_central/7124862.stm

http://news.scotsman.com/birdsofprey/Claim-and-denial-as-a.3589649.jp

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