A golden eagle found dead on Cawdor Estate, Invernesshire, on 6 August 2001 had been poisoned by Carbofuran. The dead eagle’s decomposed remains were found by a hillwalker.
Cawdor Estate Factor John Higson and Head Gamekeeper Roddy Forbes denied any wrong-doing and suggested that the dead eagle could have been brought in by someone in their rucksack and planted on the estate to cause trouble. This explanation is commonly used by Alex Hogg, Chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, to account for the numbers of dead raptors that turn up on shooting estates. Our sources suggest that recent DNA evidence has proven these claims unfounded.
Since 1988, there have been six other incidents involving the illegal use of poisons connected to the Cawdor Estate. These include:
1988: A pet labrador dies after consuming the deadly poison, strychnine, while walking on Cawdor estate.
1992: A buzzard, magpie and sheep all laced with strychnine are discovered on the estate.
1993: A buzzard found poisoned by the toxin, alphachloralose, on Forestry Commission land 100 metres from the boundary of Cawdor estate.
1994: Three buzzards and rabbit bait found poisoned by alphachloralose on Cawdor.
1996: Three baits discovered containing poisons: a hare laced with alphachloralose, a goat with aldicarb and a wigeon with strychnine.
1996: A hidden pit containing a suspected birds of prey poisoning kit uncovered by investigators three miles from Cawdor Castle.
1999: A report sent to the procurator fiscal alleging that mountain hares were illegally persecuted in snares.
2000: A second report submitted to the fiscal claiming mistreatment of hares.
2001: A dead eagle found on Cawdor estate confirmed to contain the lethal poison, carbofuran.
No convictions have been made as it has not been possible to identify the individual who laid the bait.
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