Archive for April, 2014

29
Apr
14

32 eagles, 8 years, 0 prosecutions

In April 2012, we wrote an article called ’21 eagles, 6 years, 0 prosecutions’ (see here).

In September 2012, we updated it and called it ’26 eagles, 6 years, 0 prosecutions’ (see here).

In July 2013 we updated it again. This time, ’27 eagles, 7 years, 0 prosecutions’ (see here).

In December 2013 we had to do another update: ‘31 eagles, 7 years, 0 prosecutions’ (see here).

It’s now April 2014 and another ‘lost’ eagle means another update: ’32 eagles, 8 years, 0 prosecutions’.

28 of these 32 eagles have either been found dead or have ‘disappeared’ on Scottish grouse moors.

This article should provide some context the next time you hear someone (usually from the game-shooting industry or from the government) say that “We’re making real progress in the fight against raptor persecution”. So much ‘progress’ in fact that 24 of these eagles have been lost in the last 4 years. As this shameful list continues to grow, the Environment Minister is still insisting that more time is needed to see whether enforcement measures are working. How many more eagles need to be added to this catalogue of horror before he decides to act?

As before, a number of eagles included in this list (8 of them, to be precise) may not be dead. However, they are included here because their satellite tags unexpectedly stopped functioning (i.e. they’d been transmitting perfectly well up until the eagles’ last known location, often a known persecution hotspot). Two further satellite-tagged eagles (‘Angus’ and ‘Tom’) are not included in this list as although their transmitters stopped functioning, there had been recognisable problems with their tags prior to the final transmissions and so the benefit of the doubt has been applied.

Many of these listed eagles from recent years have only been discovered because the eagles were being satellite-tracked. Much kudos to the dedicated teams of fieldworkers who have put in hours and hours of skilled hard work to allow this to happen. Obviously there are many other eagles out there that have not been sat-tagged and on the balance of probability will have been killed at the hands of the game-shooting industry. 32 eagles in the last 8 years is the bare minimum. The number of prosecutions (zero) is indisputable.

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. Seven 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. Seven years and 10 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. Six years and 8 months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

NOVEMBER 2007: Tayside Police received a detailed tip-off that a young male white-tailed eagle (known as ‘Bird N’) had allegedly been shot on a grouse moor estate in the Angus Glens. The timing and location included in the tip-off coincided with the timing and location of the last-known radio signal of this bird. Six years and 5 months later, the bird has not been seen again. With no carcass, 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 in the Angus Glens. 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 fence posts 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’. Five 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. Three years and 3 months later, estate employee Tom McKellar pled guilty to possession of Carbofuran stored in premises at Auch Estate, Bridge of Orchy and he was fined £1,200. Four years and 10 months on, 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 in the Angus Glens. 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. Four years and 9 months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

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

MAY 2010: #1 of three dead golden eagles 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. Three years and 11 months later, nobody has been prosecuted for poisoning this eagle.

MAY 2010: #2 of three dead golden eagles 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. Three years and 11 months later, nobody has been prosecuted for poisoning this eagle.

MAY 2010: #3 of three dead golden eagles 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. Three years and 11 months later, nobody has been prosecuted for poisoning this eagle.

JUNE 2010: #1: 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: #2: 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: #3: 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: #4: 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 was found dead on Farr & Kyllachy Estate, Inverness-shire. Tests revealed it had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide Carbofuran. Northern Constabulary apparently did not search the property until July 2011. Three years and 10 months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

JUNE 2010: A white-tailed eagle was found dead on Farr & Kyllachy Estate, Inverness-shire. Tests revealed it had been poisoned by the illegal pesticide Carbofuran. Northern Constabulary apparently did not search the property until July 2011. Three years and 10 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.

FEBRUARY 2011: The signal from a young satellite-tracked golden eagle ( ‘Lee’, hatched in 2010) unexpectedly stopped transmitting after a final signal from the North Angus Glens. A technical malfunction or another mysterious ‘disappearance’?

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. A poisoned buzzard, a poisoned bait and a shot short-eared owl were found. Three years and 1 month later, nobody has been prosecuted.

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. Three years later, nobody has been prosecuted.

SEPTEMBER 2011: The signal from a satellite-tracked young golden eagle (‘Strathy’, hatched in 2010) unexpectedly stopped transmitting after a final signal from an Aberdeenshire grouse moor. A technical malfunction or another mysterious ‘disappearance’?

MARCH 2012: The body of a young golden eagle being tracked by satellite was discovered in Lochaber. Tests revealed it had been poisoned with the banned pesticides Aldicarb and Bendiocarb. Information about this incident was not made public until three months later. Two years and 1 month later, nobody has been prosecuted.

MARCH 2012: The signal from a satellite-tracked young golden eagle (‘Angus 26′, hatched in 2011) unexpectedly stopped transmitting after a final signal from a grouse moor in the Angus Glens. This bird’s suspiciously damaged sat tag was found in the area. Two years and 1 month later, nobody has been prosecuted.

MAY 2012: The signal from a young satellite-tracked golden eagle (#32857) unexpectedly stopped transmitting when the bird was north-east of the Cairngorms National Park. A technical malfunction or another mysterious ‘disappearance’?

MAY 2012: The dead body of a young satellite-tracked golden eagle (hatched in 2011) was discovered near a lay-by in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire. The data from its satellite tag & the injuries the bird had when found (2 broken legs) suggested it had been caught in an illegal trap on a grouse moor in the Angus Glens and then removed, under cover of darkness, to be dumped in another area where it was left to die, probably a slow and agonising death. Information on this incident was not released until almost five months later, by the RSPB. It appears the police failed to properly investigate this incident as we understand that no search warrants were issued and no vehicles were searched. One year and 11 months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

OCTOBER 2012: An adult golden eagle was found shot and critically injured on grouse moor at Buccleuch Estate, near Wanlockhead, South Lanarkshire. The bird was rescued by the SSPCA and underwent surgery but it eventually succumbed to its injuries in April 2013. One year and 6 months later, nobody has been prosecuted.

MAY 2013: The signal from a two-year-old satellite tracked golden eagle (‘Angus 33′, hatched in 2011) unexpectedly stopped transmitting after its last signal from North Glenbuchat Estate in Aberdeenshire. A technical malfunction or another mysterious ‘disappearance’?

JUNE 2013: A dead golden eagle was found under power lines on an RSPB reserve on Oronsay. This bird had been shot although it is not known whether this was the cause of death or an historical injury.

JULY 2013: The signal from a young satellite tracked golden eagle (‘Cullen’, hatched 2010) unexpectedly stopped transmitting after its last signal in Aberdeenshire. A technical malfunction or another mysterious ‘disappearance’?

DECEMBER 2013: A two year old satellite tracked golden eagle (‘Fearnan’) was found dead on a grouse moor in the Angus Glens. Tests revealed he had been poisoned with the banned pesticide Carbofuran. Four months later, we are not aware of any pending prosecutions.

APRIL 2014: The signal from a young satellite tracked white-tailed eagle (the first fledged sea eagle chick in East Scotland in ~200 years) unexpectedly stopped transmitting after its last signal from the North Glenbuchat Estate in Aberdeenshire. Police raided the property a couple of weeks later. We are not aware of any pending prosecutions.

THE UNTOUCHABLES: 32; JUSTICE: 0

Wanlock Head GE Oct 2012

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28
Apr
14

More parliamentary questions asked about raptor persecution in Scotland

Claire Baker MSP 2Last week we blogged about MSP Liam McArthur’s parliamentary questions about raptor persecution in Scotland, posed after our articles on the alleged police response to the poisoned peregrine found at Leadhills (see here).

It seems he’s not the only MSP paying attention to this blog.

Claire Baker MSP (Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs & the Environment, and MSP for Mid Scotland & Fife) has also been asking some pointed parliamentary questions:

Question S4W-20654: Claire Baker, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 08/04/2014.

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it plans to take in response to the illegal killing of birds of prey in addition to its consultation on the powers of the Scottish SPCA.

Current Status: Expected Answer date 07/05/2014

Question S4W-20655: Claire Baker, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 08/04/2014.

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the Minister for Environment and Climate Change’s comment in his letter to the chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates dated 26 February 2014 [which we revealed in an FOI here] that “despite all our efforts, there remains an element of sporting managers and owners who continue to flout the law and defy public opinion”, whether it will conduct a review of the licensing and other arrangements for regulating game bird shooting in other countries, with a view to implementing stronger management and regulation.

Current Status: Expected Answer date 07/05/2014

Question S4W-20656: Claire Baker, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 08/04/2014.

To ask the Scottish Government what recent discussions the (a) Cabinet Secretary for Justice and (b) Minister for Environment and Climate Change has had with the Chief Constable regarding resources and training for wildlife crime officers.

Current Status: Expected Answer date 07/05/2014

Not only has she been asking parliamentary questions, she’s also been writing to the Environment Minister specifically about raptor persecution (see here), and last week she used her opening address at the SEPA and SRUC conference on land use and sustainable development to highlight the Ross-shire Massacre and state that “there can be no more excuses from landowners and the Government” (see here).

The Environment Minister is coming under increasing attack for what many see as an abject failure to deal with raptor persecution, particularly that associated with game-shooting estates. We suggested on Twitter this weekend that the Scottish Government is too obsessed with the Independence Referendum to care/notice the on-going rise in raptor crime. Paul Wheelhouse has hit back this morning with a series of tweets, including:

“It [raptor persecution] stains our reputation and I promise you this is not being ignored by me or Scottish Government”

and

“We’re being robust and if new measures don’t improve, will go further”

and

“Hope to have a parliamentary debate in near future”.

UPDATE 16th MAY 2014: Answers to Claire Baker’s parliamentary questions here.

27
Apr
14

Reactions to the ‘missing’ East Scotland sea eagle

Sea-eagle chick 1 nestOn Thursday we blogged about the ‘disappearance’ of a young white-tailed eagle from a grouse moor in Strathdon, Aberdeenshire (see here).

This wasn’t just any old sea eagle, if there is such a thing. This was the first fledged white-tailed eagle in East Scotland in over 200 years – a pioneering bird from the East Scotland Sea Eagle Reintroduction Project; an initiative which had begun back in 2007. This young bird didn’t know it, but it was a symbol of conservation success – the result of thousands and thousands of hours of work by a dedicated team determined to restore this species back to its former range.

We refer to the bird in the past tense because in all likelihood, it is dead. It ‘disappeared’ in a notorious raptor persecution black hole where several other eagles have similarly ‘disappeared’ over the last few years, never to be seen again.

This area includes the North Glenbuchat Estate, from where this ‘missing’ sea eagle’s final sat tag signal was reportedly transmitted in mid-April. A poisoned golden eagle was found there in 2011, along with a poisoned buzzard, a poisoned bait, and a dead short-eared owl that had been shot and stuffed under a rock. (No prosecutions, of course).

Here are some of the responses to this latest incident…

Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), said: “As a member of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime, Scottish Land & Estates is offering every assistance to the investigation into the missing sea eagle in the north-east of Scotland and wholly supports the appeals for information that have been made by the Scottish Government and Police Scotland. It is of paramount importance that the facts are established as soon as possible and it would not be appropriate to comment on any specifics of the ongoing police investigation.”

[Note: we blogged yesterday about how the North Glenbuchat Estate became a member of SLE in 2013. Fascinating, eh?]

A spokesman for the Scottish Gamekeepers Association said: “The case of the missing sea eagle in the North East is currently under live investigation. There is very little known about the bird or the case at present so we await the outcome of the Police Scotland investigation.”

Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse tweeted: “Clearly, I am not going to speculate on police investigations, but all on justice side keen to drive out such disgusting acts”.

Other members of society have been much more demonstrative in their condemnation:

The following appeared as an editorial in the Press & Journal:

The news that a satellite-tagged white-tailed eagle has gone missing in Aberdeenshire will send a chill down the spine of anyone who cares about Scotland’s natural heritage. Four tagged golden eagles have gone missing in the same area in the last five years and another was found poisoned in 2011. The first white-tailed eagle to be raised on the east coast in almost 200 years vanished as police continued to investigate the deaths of 20 raptors in the Black Isle. Public revulsion at the killings in Ross-shire is evident in the donations to a reward fund, now standing at more than £26,000. It is surely now time for the authorities to look seriously at why society is failing to give these magnificent birds the protection they deserve.”

Calton Hill, an independent blogger from Edinburgh, was moved to write this.

The ever-impressive Andy Wightman wrote a fascinating blog on who owns North Glenbuchat Estate and the inherent complications of proceeding with any potential vicarious liability prosecution (see here, and also read the comments for some local insight).

Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations, gave an interview to STV news in which he explained how young birds are drawn into these ‘black holes’ [of persecution] time and time again (watch the video here). Incidentally, at the end of this video, the reporter, Cheryl Paul, mentions the rise in the body count of the Ross-shire Massacre – this was our news source for yesterday’s blog when we reported that the death toll was now 22 (including 16 red kites and six buzzards).

In more general terms, earlier today Cameron McNeish wrote a compelling article which has appeared on the WalkHighlands website, discussing the ‘national embarrassment’ of raptor persecution in Scotland (see here).

And finally, according to our blog stats, over 100 of you have emailed Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse about this crime (thank you).

We’re waiting for his formal response.

26
Apr
14

Ross-shire Massacre: death toll rises to 22

The death toll in the mass poisoning at Conon Bridge, Ross-shire, has risen to 22, according to a Scottish journalist (more on that source in a later post this evening).

The current body count is 16 red kites and 6 buzzards.

So far, the police have only confirmed that 12 of the dead were poisoned. Tests apparently continue on the other ten.

The police have not yet revealed the identity of the poison(s) used, leading to some bizarre speculation such as a ‘mystery virus’, ‘contaminated meat’ and ‘accidental agricultural spillage’. We look forward to them putting an end to this speculation and revealing the name of the poison(s) that we believe will confirm that these deaths were a result of deliberate poisoning.

We also look forward to learning more about the status of the police investigation, five weeks after it began.

Previous blogs on the Ross-shire Massacre here.

RK7

26
Apr
14

Red kite dies after being shot in Northamptonshire

The RSPCA is appealing for information after a red kite was shot and critically-injured in Northamptonshire earlier this month.

The wounded bird suffered gunshot injuries from the incident in Wellingborough around 4th April. It was taken to a wildlife centre but its injuries were so severe the bird had to be euthanised.

Further details in the Northampton Chronicle & Echo here.

RK Wellingborough

 

 

24
Apr
14

East Scotland sea eagle chick ‘disappears’ on grouse moor

Sea-eagle chick 1 nestLast year we celebrated the news of the first sea eagle chick to fledge in East Scotland for over 200 years (see here).

This year we’re discussing his ‘disappearance’ (in all likelihood his death) in a well-known grouse moor area in the Cairngorms National Park.

This bird was a significant one. He marked an important milestone in the East Scotland Sea Eagle Reintroduction Project, being the first to fledge from a nest there in over 200 years. He was also our symbol of hope, following the news earlier in the year that the nest tree of another pioneering pair had been illegally felled with a chainsaw, bringing their historic breeding attempt to an abrupt halt (see here).

When we blogged about the successful fledging of this young eagle last year, we ended the post with this:

Here’s hoping this year’s pioneering young male manages to stay alive (keep away from grouse moors) for long enough to raise his own family – the next big milestone for the East Coast Project will be Scottish-born sea eagles rearing their own young. Good luck kid”.

He didn’t make it. He didn’t even make it to his first birthday.

He had been fitted with a satellite tag before he fledged, allowing researchers to monitor his movements. In mid-April, the signal from his transmitter stopped. The last signal had come from the North Glenbuchat Estate in Strathdon.

North Glenbuchat Estate has been at the centre of a series of wildlife crime investigations over a number of years. These have included the prosecution and conviction of the then head gamekeeper (in 2006) for poisoning offences; the discovery of a poisoned golden eagle in 2011 (killed by Carbofuran – no prosecution); the discovery of a poisoned buzzard in 2011 (killed by Carbofuran – no prosecution); the discovery of a poisoned bait in 2011 (no prosecution), and the discovery of a dead short-eared owl in 2011, that had been shot and stuffed under a rock (no prosecution). (See here for details of these discoveries).

Not only that, but a number of young satellite-tagged eagles have all mysteriously ‘disappeared’ in this area over the last few years, including one in September 2011, one in February 2012, one in May 2013 and now this latest one in April 2014. Including the poisoned golden eagle found in 2011, at least five young eagles are presumed dead. We only know about these young birds because they were all fitted with satellite transmitters. How many other young eagles have ‘vanished’ in suspicious circumstances in similar black holes across the central and eastern uplands, the heartland of driven grouse moors?

North Glenbuchat Estate was bought by the Marquess of Milford Haven in 2008,  according to the Glenbuchat Heritage website, and he “began an ambitious programme of renovating Glenbuchat Lodge and its dependent properties and improving the grouse moor”.

In 2013, North Glenbuchat Estate became a member of Scottish Land & Estates:

North Glenbuchat joins SLE 2013

Today’s police raid of the estate (reported by the BBC here) is welcome news, although the chance of finding any evidence to link to a suspect is pretty slim, especially if the bird has been shot, as is suspected.

We’re almost at a loss what to say. What can we say that hasn’t already been said each and every time? What words are there to describe the fury, rage, sadness, sorrow and overwhelming frustration about what is going on, right under our noses, in our own countryside? The Untouchables strike again. It is out of control and the Government seems powerless to stop it.

Only they’re not powerless. They’re actually very powerful and they could stop this at the drop of a hat if they really wanted to. The Environment Minister has said over and over again that if persecution continues, he will ‘not hesitate’ to bring in further measures. It’s time to stop hesitating, Mr Wheelhouse – get a grip on this insidious criminality and do what you’re paid to do. No more excuses.

Please email the Environment Minister and demand further action. Email: ministerforenvironment@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

23
Apr
14

Parliamentary questions asked about poisoned peregrine at Leadhills

Peregrine poisoned Leadhills Feb 2014Three weeks ago we blogged about the discovery of a poisoned peregrine in the Leadhills area of South Lanarkshire, and the alleged response of Police Scotland & NWCU, who both seemed reluctant to handle the case (see here, here and here).

The authorities have refused to discuss the incident, claiming it would be inappropriate to comment on an on-going investigation. We argue that answering questions about how an initial telephone call was handled would have no impact whatsoever on any ‘investigation’ (and we don’t even believe there is an investigation, as the person who reported the dead bird has apparently been told by Police Scotland that a witness statement is not required!!!).

This stone-walling response is pretty common and we’re used to it by now. Many of us have written to the Environment Minister to demand an explanation about why the police and the NWCU allegedly ignored this reported crime but so far we’ve heard absolutely nothing in return. This silence doesn’t fill us with confidence that raptor persecution is being taken seriously.

One MSP isn’t satisfied with this official wall of silence.

Liam McArthur MSPLiam McArthur MSP, a Scottish Liberal Democrat representing the Orkney Islands (a very long way from Leadhills!!) has submitted a series of parliamentary questions about this Leadhills case, and more generally about the effectiveness of current enforcement measures to deal with raptor persecution. Good on him.

Question S4W-20745: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 15/04/2014

To ask the Scottish Government what steps Police Scotland is taking to ensure that its staff are aware of their responsibilities regarding the protection of protected species. [Current Status: Expected answer date 15/5/2014].

Question S4W-20746: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 15/04/2014

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will hold an inquiry into reports that Police Scotland told a member of the public that the poisoning of a peregrine falcon in the Leadhills area was not a police matter. [Current Status: Expected Answer date 15/05/2014].

Question S4W-20747: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 15/04/2014

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to combat illegal raptor persecution in the Leadhills area. [Current Status: Expected Answer date 15/05/2014].

Question S4W-20748: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 15/04/2014

To ask the Scottish Government whether there is sufficient evidence to assess the effectiveness of the new enforcement measures to tackle raptor persecution announced by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change on 1 July 2013. [Current Status: Expected Answer date 15/05/2014].

UPDATE: Answers to Liam McArthur’s questions have now been published – see here.




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