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.
In September 2008, John Dodd, the multi-millionaire owner of Glenogil shooting estate in Tayside, had his farming subsidy cut by £107,000 by the Scottish Executive because it was suspected that illegal substances found on the estate were being used to poison birds of prey. According to an article published in The Guardian, several raptors, including rare white-tailed sea eagles, have either been found dead on the estate or have mysteriously ‘disappeared’ on the estate, although to date, no successful prosecutions have occured. It is the largest ever civil penalty imposed under strict EU cross-compliance legislation, which makes protection of wildlife a condition of the subsidy. Dodd is reported to be contesting the decision.
According to The Guardian, the same illegal poisonous compound – which was withdrawn from sale as an insecticide in Ireland five years ago because of its toxicity – was also found on another grouse moor, the Leadhills estate, in southwest Scotland in the autumn of 2005. The estate, near Abingdon, was run at the time by Mark Osborne, one of the UK’s most successful managers of moor shoots. Osborne runs estates and advises shooting moor owners across Scotland and northern England, including Glenogil. Four of those estates – Leadhills, Glenogil, plus Glenlochy on Speyside and Snilesworth, north Yorkshire – have been raided in the past two years by police investigating claims of birds of prey persecution.
At the Snilesworth estate, near Northallerton, a head-keeper and two game keepers admitted illegally using traps baited with pigeons to catch protected birds of prey. The head-keeper was fined £1,250. A keeper at Leadhills was convicted of shooting a short-eared owl in 2004 and fined £500; Osborne refused to comment.