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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2 Responses to “eagle killers getting away with it”


  1. 1 jason hain
    September 21, 2010 at 12:04 am

    heard Roseanna Cunningham on the tv today stating that snares will not be banned – reason why…to prevent too many rabbits and foxes running about our gardens – for real!….shes a bloody joke.

  2. September 21, 2010 at 7:18 am

    When, oh when, are the authorities going to get their heads round these outrageous murders, and increase the penalties (substantial jail sentences AND big fines in ALL cases)? What kind of mindset are these gamekeepers/landowners in to do these things? Surely the percentage of game birds actually going to birds of prey is miniscule? Couldn’t they be paid some sort of compensation to deter them from killing these iconic birds? Finally, don’t they recognise the value of tourist revenue from us who come to see them, as on Mull? Every time I read of one of these poisonings it makes me incandescent, and yet powerless. It has to stop.


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