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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24 Responses to “32 eagles, 8 years, 0 prosecutions”


  1. 1 James
    April 29, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Who exactly are the law afraid of?

    • 2 william hill
      April 29, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      The oligarchy responsible for executing wildlife protection laws, are more likely to be the perpetrators of these acts against it. they fear no retribution in their dominion.

  2. 3 Chris Roberts
    April 29, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Well beyond time to start closing down some of these killing estates and let the land return to a more productive use. It is proven that they are not going to change their outdated Victorian ways, killing things is in their DNA.

    Time for gamekeepers to start looking for more wholesome and productive employment.

    • 4 Dave Dick
      April 29, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Chris..why would they?..They get to swan about some of the most beautiful country in the world, indulging in “custodian of the countryside” fantasies…and when those fantasies including killing hen harriers, peregrines, eagles and buzzards and breaking those pesky Laws that the “antis” have made up – they get defended by £1000 a day QCs, paid for by the laird and more often than not, walk out of court on a technicality…without a stain on their tweedie characters. Lovely jubbly…

  3. April 29, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Thanks RPS. I really appreciate these updates!
    I used to follow satellite tagged White-tailed Eagles and Ospreys on Google Earth.
    I remember the satellite tags have a built in obsolescence. It is not 100% predictable but eagles going missing way before the average life span of the tags is extremely suspicious especially when they stop transmitting on grouse moors. Eagles that ‘disappear’ at about the average age of the transmitters or beyond might not be so suspect.

  4. 6 kevin moore
    April 29, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    They really are the untouchables.

  5. 7 Circus maxima
    April 29, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Well….I’m fed up at not being able to get any justice…from the police, from the fiscals, from the courts, from politicians. I think its about time that we used the laws we do have to protest. I am seriously thinking about a camping holiday in….say Glen Buchat in early August.

    • 8 Julie Wright
      April 29, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      I was thinking the same thing, I’ve got loads of holiday to use & a tent. I have a voice but I’m only one! Spread the word & get as many people as possible to protest at these hot spots. Anyone fancy a holiday to Scotland? We could do a road trip. It saddens & makes me so angry to read all of these majestic birds have been killed & no ones been prosecuted, they need their land taken away & turned into a National Park where decent people can go see these beautiful raptors. I would actually like to see them before they become extinct!

      • 9 Chris Roberts
        April 29, 2014 at 11:16 pm

        I agree Julie. The trouble is the estate where the White Tailed Eagle ‘disappeared’ is right in the Cairngorms National Park, so even here they are not safe. There should most definatly not be any ‘sporting’ (killing) estates within any National Park.

        • 10 Circus maxima
          April 30, 2014 at 12:39 am

          They are thinking…”now the eagle has gone we can get on in peace…”. It would be perfectly reasonable to wild camp 7 8 9 10 11 August. They don’t have the right to shoot till the 12th,

  6. April 29, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Yes, grouse moors are no-go areas for Police Scotland.

  7. April 29, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Its going to interesting this season, for I’m reliably informed that the Scottish Government is to directly fund the satellite tracking of 5 golden eagles and additionally each one will be assigned a shadowing drone.

  8. 13 kevin moore
    April 29, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    does any one know what percentage of eagles are sattelite tagged in scotland ? if these 32 birds were all sattelite tagged,how many others have been done that isnt known about.

  9. 14 joke tamsin
    April 30, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    …….And just to ensure that the culprits are not going to be caught make sure the it is only the police who investigate. The police view wildlife crime as low priority and under resource it. This results in crimes being given lip service investigations.
    Ask why some in the shooting industry as so strongly against anyone other the the police investigation wildlife crimes. Just in who s interests is this.

    If you doubt this consider how many successful investigations the police have had…?

    And don’t the believe the old story of ‘the odd bad apple’. Crimes are happening throughout Scotland. Ask yourself how much effort must it take to have population effects.

    It is only when a high profile case reaches the media does the public get the opportunity to look through the window and get an idea as to what the truth is, despite those that attempt to muddy the waters by denials and lies.

    Wildlife crime is a national disgrace and Scotland should hand its head in shame and stop pretending otherwise.

    If Scotland truly values its heritage it will have to accept the truth ,grasp the nettle and adopt a more realistic approach………..as it is doing with so many other anti social crimes.

  10. April 30, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Just sickened by this list of atrocities but also heartened by the extent of will amongst those who want to put a stop to this.
    I have just managed to go pretty far down the line of purchasing Carbofuran from this company; Sigma Aldrich (from USA ? but consignement via Gillingham within a couple of days)
    Anyone care to offer advice/take this further ?

    If I can do this then surely someone who has gone some steps further, i.e. purchased the product and used it (illeagaly on both counts !!) can be traced AND PROSECUTED.

    • 16 Dave Dick
      May 1, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Lesley, as I believe its an offence to be in possession of carbofuran [it certainly is to be in “possession for use”] in Scotland, for the last several years…please do not take that idea any further!!…The twisted individuals who back up the wildlife poisoners, some of whom read this blog, would take great delight in reporting you to the Police…..no matter what your motive. Well done for pointing this out – perhaps a reader amongst our authorities will close this down??

      Im a bit alarmed at the blogmeister publishing your comment which of course includes the supply company?…

  11. May 1, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    I appreciate your comment, Dave and dont worry I had know intention of incrimminating myself by following through on this order ! I am just frustrated that this horrible chemical is obviously freely available to our ‘Gamekeepers’ and then used in Our Wild Land. Its bad enough that Farmers in USA and Asia are using it on crops let alone people who believe themselves to be ‘custodians of the countryside’ using it illegaly to kill wild birds and other animals. I have a copy of my order – valid for 90 days – if anyone is interested !?………

    • 18 Dave Dick
      May 3, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      Thats a relief Lesley..Im sure those who can do anything about closing down such a supply route are watching this blog…

      From my own knowledge of real cases in Scotland the criminals using this stuff, were able to obtain it in large quantities through the agricultural staff of large estates, or through black market dealers in the UK and Ireland. Sadly a little goes a long way..Im sure theres still a lot hidden way, from when it could be legally used by farmers [if they were trained to store and use it].

    • 19 Duncan_RegAffairs
      May 9, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      Hi Lesley,
      I work for the company you referred to. I would love to see the document you have.
      UKRegulatoryAffairs@sial.com
      Thanks
      Duncan

  12. May 10, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Hi Duncan
    Can you just confirm why you would love to see it !
    Have you tried ordering it yourself ?

    • 21 Duncan_RegAffairs
      May 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      Hi Lesley,

      you said you had placed an order. This shouldn’t be possible for a member of the public. With your assistance, I would therefore like to look into this further.

      Thanks

      • May 15, 2014 at 12:09 am

        Hi Duncan
        I did not say ‘I had placed an order’ but went as far down the ordering line as I could, without entering personal details onto the website.
        Are you saying that someone who is NOT a member of the public IS able to order this product ?
        Thanks

        • 23 Duncan_RegAffairs
          May 16, 2014 at 8:52 am

          OK, you haven’t actually placed an order. I wanted to follow up on your statement “I have a copy of my order – valid for 90 days – if anyone is interested !?” above.

          Thank you for the clarification.


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