Posts Tagged ‘Glenogil Estate

19
Dec
13

Golden eagle found poisoned on Angus grouse moor

A two-year old golden eagle named ‘Fearnan’ has been found dead on a Scottish grouse moor. He had been poisoned with a banned pesticide. The poison hasn’t been named but we’ll take an educated guess at Carbofuran, the gamekeepers’ poison of choice.

Interestingly, there are three separate press releases about this latest disgraceful crime:

One from the government via PAW (here)

One from the police (here)

One from RSPB Scotland (here)

Usually, we’re lucky to see anything for at least 4-5 months after the crime so it’s somewhat surprising to see the scuffle for media attention on this one. Could this be a sign that Environment Minister Wheelhouse has put his foot down and demanded that timely press statements are released? We can’t think of any other reason why the police should suddenly change their tactics from seemingly apathetic to seemingly responsive.

Of course, regular blog readers will already know that Fearnan is not the only poisoned eagle to have been found dead in the Angus Glens. In fact, there’s been a fair bit of raptor persecution over the last nine years. Here’s a list of incidents we’ve compiled from various published reports:

2004 May, near Edzell: long-eared owl and two short-eared owls starved to death in crow cage trap.  No prosecution.

2004 May, Invermark Estate: peregrine nest destroyed. No prosecution.

2006 March, Glenogil Estate: poisoned rabbit bait (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2006 April, Easter Ogil: poisoned buzzard (Alphachloralose). No prosecution.

2006 April, Easter Ogil: poisoned tawny owl (Alphachloralose). No prosecution.

2006 May, Glenogil Estate: poisoned rabbit bait (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2006 June, Glenogil Estate: poisoned woodpigeon bait (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2006 June, Glenogil Estate: Traces of Carbofuran found in estate vehicles & on equipment during police search. No prosecution. Estate owner had £107k withdrawn from his farm subsidy payments. This was being appealed, but it is not known how this was resolved.

2006 July, Millden Estate; poisoned sheepdog (Lindane). No prosecution.

2007 November, Glenogil Estate: Disappearance of radio-tagged white-tailed eagle ‘Bird N’ coincides with tip off to police that bird been shot. No further transmissions or sightings of the bird.

2008 May, ‘Nr Noranside’: poisoned white-tailed eagle ‘White G’ (Carbofuran, Isophenfos, Bendiocarb). No prosecution.

2008 May, ‘Nr Noranside’: poisoned buzzard (Bendiocarb). No prosecution.

2008 May, ‘Nr Noranside’: poisoned mountain hare bait (Carbofuran, Isophenfos, Bendiocarb). No prosecution.

2008 May, Glenogil Estate: 32 x poisoned meat baits on fenceposts (Carbofuran, Isophenfos, Bendiocarb). No prosecution.

2008 October, ‘Glenogil Estate: poisoned meat bait on fencepost (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2009 March, Glenogil Estate: poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2009 March, Glenogil Estate: poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2009 April, Millden Estate: poisoned buzzard (Alphachloralose). No prosecution.

2009 July, Millden Estate: poisoned golden eagle ‘Alma’ (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2009 August, Glenogil Estate: poisoned white-tailed eagle “89” (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2010 May, ‘Nr Noranside’: poisoned red kite (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2010 September, Glenogil Estate: poisoned buzzard (Chloralose). No prosecution.

2010 October, Glenogil Estate: poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2010 October, Glenogil Estate: poisoned pigeon bait (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2010 October, Glenogil Estate: poisoned pigeon bait (Carbofuran). No prosecution.

2011 February, Airlie Estate: buzzard caught in illegal crow trap. (see below)

2011 March, Airlie Estate: 3 x buzzard caught in illegal crow trap. Prosecution (!) but dropped after statement from suspect given to SSPCA deemed inadmissible.

2011 April, Millden Estate: shot buzzard. No prosecution.

2012 April, ‘Nr Noranside’: Remains of buzzard found beside pheasant pen. Suspicious death.

2011 June, Rottal & Tarabuckle Estate: dead kestrel inside crow cage trap. No prosecution.

2012 February, ‘Nr Edzell’: spring-trapped buzzard. No prosecution.

2012 February, ‘Nr Bridgend': remains of buzzard found under a rock. Suspicious death.

2012 May, Millden Estate: satellite-tagged golden eagle caught in spring trap, then apparently uplifted overnight and dumped on Deeside. No prosecution.

2012 May, Glen Esk: disappearance of sat-tagged red kite. No further transmissions or sightings of bird.

2013 January, Invermark Estate: white-tailed eagle nest tree felled. No prosecution.

2013 November, Glen Lethnot: poisoned golden eagle. Prosecution? Highly unlikely!

We think you’ll agree, this is overwhelming evidence that some people in the Angus Glens are systematically persecuting birds of prey, they have been for many years, and those same people are avoiding criminal justice for their disgusting and illegal activities. We call them The Untouchables.

Why have they been able to avoid prosecution for so long?

Now would be a good time to ask the Environment Minister for an explanation. While you’re at it, please also mention your revulsion about the continued practice of illegal raptor persecution on driven grouse moors. The time for estate licensing is here; the game-shooting industry, quite clearly, cannot or will not self-regulate.  Emails to: ministerforenvironment@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

RIP Fearnan.

posioned GE Lethnot 2013

02
Aug
13

Moy game fair: carry on regardless

The Moy Game Fair starts today. On the Moy Estate.

Moy is quite the venue. In 2010, the following was found there:

  • A dead red kite in the back of a gamekeeper’s vehicle. It had two broken legs and had died as a result of a blow to the head (see photo).
  • The remains of a further two dead red kites.
  • A red kite’s severed leg, along with wing tags that had been fitted to a sateliite-tracked red kite, hidden in holes covered with moss.
  • Six illegal baited spring traps set in the open.
  • A trapped hen harrier caught in an illegally set spring trap.
  • A poisoned bait.
  • Four leg rings previously fitted to golden eagle chicks found in the possession of a gamekeeper.

In May 2011, gamekeeper James Rolfe was convicted for possession of the dead red kite found in the back of his vehicle. He was fined £1,500. No charges were brought against anyone for any of the other offences.

If you’re heading to the Moy Game Fair, keep an eye out for ‘missing’ red kites. In May 2011, a satellite-tracked red kite ‘disappeared’ there. In August 2011, another red kite ‘disappeared’ there.

Ironically, representatives from the game-shooting industry will all be there, telling visitors how great their industry is for nature conservation. So much for strong leadership and zero tolerance (see here).

Talking of venue choice……..take a look at this! A government-approved GWCT training course being held at the one and only Glenogil Estate!

The photograph below shows the dead red kite with two broken legs and severe head injuries, lying in the back of a gamekeeper’s vehicle.

Moy kite 2a

08
Apr
13

John Dodd sells Glenogil Estate

Sunday Times 7th April 2013 Glenogil saleJohn Dodd, the multi-millionaire owner of the controversial Glenogil Estate, has ‘quietly sold up’, according to an article in the Sunday Times.

The new owner is reported to be Baron Ferdinand von Baumbach, someone we know little about. Although we’re not sorry to see Dodd leave, it’s not so much who owns the estate that interests us, but rather whether (a) they intend to maintain it as a driven grouse moor and if so, (b) who will be advising on grouse moor ‘management’.

It’s been widely reported that Dodd took management advice from ‘grouse wizard’ Mark Osborne (e.g. see here) and indeed Glenogil is promoted on Osborne’s William Powell Sporting website as ‘one of the finest shooting estates in Scotland’ (see here), as well as on the William Powell Country website (here). It’s not just Osborne who rates this estate: last year The Field magazine included Glenogil in an article called ‘Britain’s 50 Great Shoots’ (see here) and in 2008 The Telegraph described it as a thriving grouse moor (see here).

However, for those of us with more of an interest in the area’s wildlife rather than with the artificially-high number of grouse that can be killed, you have to look elsewhere for information. A good place to start is the RSPB’s annual persecution reports. Below is a list of confirmed incidents recorded at Glenogil and ‘Nr Noranside’  from 2006-2010, sourced from these reports and also from Scottish Government data. Not one of these reported incidents has resulted in a criminal prosecution and Dodd has repeatedly and strenuously stated his staff are innocent. Dodd had his farming subsidy cut by £107,650 in 2008 when the Scottish Executive suspected that poisoned baits found on and near to the estate in 2006 were being used to target birds of prey (see here).

2006 March: poisoned rabbit bait (Carbofuran)

2006 April: poisoned buzzard (Alphachloralose)

2006 April: poisoned tawny owl (Alphachloralose)

2006 May: poisoned rabbit bait (Carbofuran)

2006 June: poisoned woodpigeon bait (Carbofuran)

2008 May: poisoned white-tailed eagle (Carbofuran, Isophenfos, Bendiocarb) ['Nr Noranside']

2008 May: poisoned buzzard (Bendiocarb) ['Nr Noranside']

2008 May: poisoned mountain hare bait (Carbofuran, Isophenfos, Bendiocarb) ['Nr Noranside']

2008 May: 32 x poisoned meat baits on fenceposts (Carbofuran, Isophenfos, Bendiocarb) ['Nr Noranside']

2008 Oct:  poisoned meat bait (Carbofuran) ['Nr Noranside']

2009 March: poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran)

2009 March: poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran)

2009 August: poisoned white-tailed eagle (Carbofuran)

2010 May: poisoned red kite (Carbofuran) ['Nr Noranside']

2010 September: poisoned buzzard (Chloralose)

2010 October: poisoned buzzard (Carbofuran)

2010 October: poisoned pigeon bait (Carbofuran)

2010 October: poisoned pigeon bait (Carbofuran)

John Dodd was the co-founder of Artemis Investment Management Ltd., a company that has sponsored the GWCT’s Scottish Game Fair (see here).

The Sunday Times article can be read in two parts:

Part 1 Glenogil sale Sunday Times 7 April 2013

Part 2 Glenogil sale Sunday Times 7 April 2013

02
Jul
12

Britain’s 50 great shoots: oh how we laughed!

In the latest edition of The Field there’s a big spread on what they consider to be Britain’s top 50 pheasant and partridge shoots. Here’s the opening paragraph to explain their selection:

While there will be many familiar names in The Field’s Top 50 Shoots for pheasants and partridges for 2012, there will be some new names, too. All are recognised as outstanding; either they show reared game very well or they show wild game well. And it is possible to take a day at most of them. Attention to conservation and woodland and land-management also stand at the forefront of these shoots“.

We only got as far as page 1 of the list; it’s hard to read when you’ve got tears of laughter flooding your eyes. The cause? Seeing the names of two estates: Edradynate and Glenogil. Regular readers will be familiar with both names and the ‘outstanding’ attention to conservation that’s at the forefront of their activities.

Well done to the editorial team at The Field – you clearly know your stuff!

20
Apr
12

21 eagles, 6 years, 0 prosecutions

Ever since that poisoned golden eagle was found in Glen Orchy in June 2009, we’ve been assured by the authorities (including in an email from a spokeswoman of the former Environment Minister, Roseanna Cunningham) that, despite our concerns to the contrary, the alleged wildlife crime uncovered that day was being ‘dealt with’.

We’ve had to wait for almost three years to find out that, according to a statement in The Herald attributed to RSPB investigator Ian Thomson, nobody has been charged with poisoning that golden eagle (see Herald article here).

It’s just the latest in a long line (21 eagles in six years!) of both confirmed and suspected eagle deaths for which nobody has ever been prosecuted.

In fairness, some of the 21 examples shown below may not be a result of criminal behaviour (i.e. the bodies of seven of the eagles listed have never been recovered so foul play, whilst suspected, cannot be verified, but neither can it be ruled out). However, there have been 14 confirmed eagle deaths (13 poisoned and one shot), that we know about, for which nobody has been charged. There are probably more confirmed deaths that we don’t know about because for some reason, some confirmed deaths are not being publicly reported. And without a shadow of a doubt, there are other deaths that are attributable to criminal behaviour that never see the light of day.

Here’s the list of the ones we do know about:

MAY 2006: A dead adult golden eagle was found on the Dinnet & Kinord Estate, near Ballater, Aberdeenshire. Tests revealed it had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide, Carbofuran. Grampian Police launched an investigation. Five years and 11 months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

 

JUNE 2006: A dead golden eagle was found on Glen Feshie Estate in the Cairngorms. Tests revealed it had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide, Carbofuran. Northern Constabulary launched an investigation. Five years and ten months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

 

 

 

AUGUST 2007: A dead adult female golden eagle was found on an estate near Peebles in the Borders. She was half of the last known breeding pair of golden eagles in the region. Tests revealed she had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide, Carbofuran. Lothian & Borders Police launched an investigation. Four years and eight months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

 

 

 

AUTUMN 2007: Tayside Police received a detailed tip-off that a young male white-tailed eagle (known as ‘Bird N’) had allegedly been shot on an estate in Angus. The timing and location included in the tip-off coincided with the timing and location of the last-known radio signal of this bird. Four and a half years later, the bird has not been seen again. With no body, an investigation isn’t possible.

 

MAY 2008: A one year old male white-tailed eagle hatched on Mull in 2007 and known as ‘White G’ was found dead on the Glenquoich Estate, Angus. Tests revealed he had been poisoned by an unusual concoction of pesticides that included Carbofuran, Bendiocarb and Isofenphos. A police search in the area also revealed a poisoned buzzard, a baited mountain hare and 32 pieces of poisoned venison baits placed on top of fenceposts on the neighbouring Glenogil Estate. Laboratory tests revealed the baited mountain hare and the 32 poisoned venison baits contained the same unusual concoction of highly toxic chemicals that had killed the white-tailed eagle, ‘White G’. Three years and 11 months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

 

JUNE 2009: An adult golden eagle was found dead at Glen Orchy, Argyll, close to the West Highland Way. Tests revealed it had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide, Carbofuran. Strathclyde Police launched a multi-agency investigation. Two years and ten months later (April 2012), Tom McKellar pled guilty to possession of Carbofuran stored in premises at Auch Estate, Bridge of Orchy. Nobody has been prosecuted for poisoning the golden eagle.

 

JULY 2009: A two year old female golden eagle known as ‘Alma’ was found dead on the Millden Estate, Angus. Tests revealed she had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide, Carbofuran. Alma was a well-known eagle  – born on the Glen Feshie Estate in 2007, she was being satellite-tracked and her movements followed by the general public on the internet. Tayside Police launched an investigation. Two years and nine months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

 

AUGUST 2009: A young white-tailed eagle was found dead on Glenogil Estate, Angus. Tests revealed it had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide, Carbofuran. Tayside Police were criticized in the national press for not releasing a press statement about this incident until January 2010. Two years and 8 months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

 

MAY 2010: Three dead golden eagles were found on or close to Skibo Estate, Sutherland. Tests revealed they had been poisoned; two with Carbofuran and one with Aldicarb. Northern Constabulary launched a multi-agency investigation. One year later (May 2011), Sporting Manager Dean Barr pled guilty to possession of 10.5 kg of Carbofuran stored in premises at Skibo Estate. One year and 11 months later, nobody has been prosecuted for poisoning the three golden eagles.

 

JUNE 2010: Leg rings with unique identification numbers that had previously been fitted to the legs of four young golden eagles in nests across Scotland were found in the possession of gamekeeper James Rolfe, during a multi-agency investigation into alleged raptor persecution at Moy Estate, near Inverness. It is not clear how he came to be in possession of the rings. The bodies of the eagles from which the rings had been removed were not found. No further action was taken in relation to the discovery.

JUNE 2010: A golden eagle and a white-tailed eagle were found dead on an estate near Farr, Inverness-shire. Tests revealed they had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide, Carbofuran. Northern Constabulary apparently did not search the property until July 2011. One year and ten months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

 

DECEMBER 2010: A decomposing carcass of a white-tailed eagle was found and photographed on Logie (Lochindorb) Estate, Morayshire. It was reported to Northern Constabulary. By the time the police arrived to collect it, the carcass had disappeared. The police said they couldn’t investigate further without the body.

 

MARCH 2011: The body of a young golden eagle was discovered on North Glenbuchat Estate, Aberdeenshire. Tests revealed it had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide, Carbofuran. Grampian Police launched an investigation and raided the property in May 2011. One year and one month later, we are not aware of any pending prosecutions.

 

APRIL 2011: The body of a white-tailed eagle was found at the base of cliffs on Skye. The person who discovered it (a professional medic) considered it to have been freshly shot with a rifle, decapitated with a sharp implement and thrown from the cliff top. He took photographs and alerted Northern Constabulary and RSPB. There was a delay of two weeks before the now probably decomposed carcass was collected. A post-mortem was inconclusive. This incident was not made public until one year later after a tip off to this blog. We are not aware of any pending prosecutions.

 

NOVEMBER 2011: The signal from a satellite-tracked young golden eagle (hatched in 2010) stopped functioning when she was at a location in the Monadhliaths, a well-known raptor persecution black spot in the Highlands. Her last known location was checked by researchers but there was no sign of the bird. Another ‘disappearance’ in suspicious circumstances or a technical malfunction of the satellite transmitter?

12
Dec
11

‘Bumper’ grouse season proves raptors aren’t having a ‘significant impact’

The 2011 grouse season closed on Saturday. According to an article in the Shooting Times, it’s been a “bumper season“, and, “many moor owners, keepers and shooters around the UK will be reflecting on one of their best years in decades” (see here for article).

In another review, this time just of the Scottish grouse season, Robert Rattray, head of CKD Galbraith’s Sporting Letting Department, comments on the performance of some well-known grouse moors (including Glenogil, Millden and Invercauld) and he writes: “The 2011 grouse season will be looked upon as one of the best in recent living memory, and in many instances a distinct improvement on the 2010 season, in itself regarded as one of the best seasons for a decade or more” (see here for his report).

All very interesting. So much for the supposed ‘significant impact’ of raptors on gamebirds, repeatedly trotted out by the gamekeeper and landowner associations in their quest to legalise persecution. If, as they claim, they are not already killing everything with a hooky beak that dares to even look at their grouse moor, then it seems to me that they’re managing to [legally] kill a record number of red grouse without having to go after the raptors. So what’s the problem?

Of course, there are some who’ll read this blog and will have a different perspective – that is, the 2011 grouse season was a ‘bumper’ one precisely because anything with a hooky beak in the vicinity of the grouse moors had already been killed off.

20
Sep
10

eagle killers getting away with it

The aim of this blog is to monitor the occurrence of illegal raptor persecution incidents across Scotland, and to report on the outcome of each case. As you will already know from reading the blog entries, persecution incidents have been occurring for many years and involve most of our raptor species, including golden eagles, white-tailed eagles, red kites, hen harriers, buzzards, goshawks, sparrowhawks, ospreys, kestrels and owls. Let’s see what progress, if any, has been made by our law enforcement bodies,  starting with our most iconic species, the golden eagle and white-tailed eagle.

When the news hits that another eagle has been illegally poisoned or shot, there is, quite rightly, public outrage. Each event is usually followed by a statement from those responsible for upholding the law that they are determined to stamp out these crimes and bring the guilty party to justice. Let’s see how well they’ve been doing. The following is a review of cases involving 13 dead eagles since 2006:

MAY 2006: A dead adult golden eagle is found on the Dinnet & Kinord Estate, near Ballater, Aberdeenshire. A post-mortem reveals it has been poisoned by the illegal pesticide, Carbofuran. Grampian Police launch an investigation. As of September 2010, nearly 4.5 years later, no arrests have been made.

 

 JUNE 2006: A dead golden eagle is found on Glen Feshie Estate in the Cairngorms. A post-mortem reveals it has been poisoned by the illegal pesticide, Carbofuran. Northern Constabulary launch an investigation. As of September 2010, nearly 4.5 years later, no arrests have been made.

 

 

 

AUGUST 2007: A dead adult female golden eagle is found on a Peebleshire estate. A post-mortem reveals she has been poisoned by the illegal pesticide, Carbofuran. This female was part of the only breeding pair of golden eagles remaining in the Scottish Borders. She had a young dependent chick still in the nest. Lothian & Borders Police launch an investigation. As of September 2010, over 3 years later, no arrests have been made. 

 

 

AUTUMN 2007: Tayside Police receive a detailed tip-off that a young male white-tailed eagle (known as ‘Bird N’) has allegedly been shot on an estate in Angus. The tip-off included the name of the alleged shooter and that the body had been burned to hide the evidence. ‘Bird N’ was part of the cohort of reintroduced sea eagles that were donated by Norway and released in Scotland in August 2007. The timing and location included in the tip-off coincided with the timing and location of the last-known radio signal of this bird. As of September 2010, 3 years later, no arrests have been made.

MAY 2008: A one year old male white-tailed eagle who hatched on Mull in 2007 and was known as ‘White G’ is found dead on the Glenquoich Estate, Angus. A post-mortem reveals he has been poisoned by an unusual concoction of pesticides that includes Carbofuran, Bendiocarb and Isofenphos. A police search in the area also reveals a poisoned buzzard, a baited mountain hare and 32 pieces of poisoned venison baits placed on top of fenceposts on the neighbouring Glenogil Estate. Laboratory tests reveal the baited mountain hare and the 32 poisoned venison baits contain the same unusual concoction of highly toxic chemicals that had killed the white-tailed eagle, ‘White G’. As of September 2010, nearly 2.5 years later, no arrests have been made.

JUNE 2009: An adult golden eagle is found dead at Glen Orchy, Argyll. A post-mortem reveals it has been poisoned by the illegal pesticide, Carbofuran. Strathclyde Police launch an investigation and state they are “following a positive line of inquiry“. As of September 2010, 15 months later, the outcome of this “positive line of inquiry” has not been made public.

 

JULY 2009: A two year old female golden eagle, known as ‘Alma’, is found dead on the Millden Estate, Angus. A post-mortem reveals she has been poisoned by the illegal pesticide, Carbofuran. Alma is a well-known eagle  – born on the Glen Feshie Estate in 2007, she was being satellite-tracked and her movements were followed by thousands on the internet. Tayside Police launch an investigation. As of September 2010, over a year later, no arrests have been made.

AUGUST 2009: A young white-tailed eagle is found dead on Glenogil Estate, Angus. A post-mortem reveals it has been poisoned by the illegal pesticide, Carbofuran. Reports circulate that this bird actually died in March 2009, but RSPB fieldworkers could not locate the transmitter signal. The decomposed body was eventually found in August 2009, after an expert fieldworker was brought in. Tayside Police did not release a press statement about this alleged persecution incident until January 2010, 6 months after the dead body was discovered, and probably 9 months after it was killed. As of September 2010, over a year later, no arrests have been made.

MAY 2010: Three dead golden eagles are found on Skibo Estate, Sutherland. They are found with a dead buzzard and a dead sparrowhawk. All are suspected victims of illegal poisoning and the bodies are sent for forensic post-mortem in Edinburgh. Northern Constabulary launch an investigation. As of September 2010, 4 months later, the post-mortem results have not been made publicly available. The result of the police investigation has also not been made publicly available. UPDATE Nov 2010: SASA report indicates the golden eagles were poisoned.

JUNE 2010: Two dead eagles are discovered on a grouse moor nr Inverness. The golden eagle and the white-tailed eagle were collected by the RSPB and sent to the SASA lab for inspection. They are later confirmed to have been poisoned by Carbofuran. Northern Constabulary does not make any public appeal for information – nor does the RSPB. You have to ask why not?




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