Muirkirk hen harrier: shot and killed at nest site

hh LAURIE CAMPBELLLast June we blogged about the death of an adult female hen harrier near Muirkirk, south west Scotland. Her corpse had been found in May 2014 on moorland close to a nest containing two young hen harrier chicks (see here). At the time, Police Scotland refused to reveal the cause of death. A statement from Detective Inspector Graham Duncan of Kilmarnock CID went as follows:

Whilst at this time we cannot divulge how the bird was killed, we do believe it was the result of a criminal act and we need to establish why this has happened“.

Quite an astonishing statement if you’re aware of the 30+ years of hen harrier persecution in this supposed Hen Harrier Special Protection Area (e.g. see here).

We didn’t hear anything else from Police Scotland about this ‘investigation’.

Eight months later in February 2015 we blogged about this case again (see here) when SASA published a report on persecution cases in 2014. Here’s what the report said about this particular crime:

Cause of death withheld due to specialist knowledge“.

Now 11 months after the bird was killed, we finally find out the cause of death. She’d been shot. We only know this because the information was released as part of the Government’s raptor persecution crime maps, published 10 days ago (see here).

Wonder if/when SNH is going to place a General Licence restriction order on this moorland? Although SNH’s track record for implementing restrictions hasn’t been very impressive to date (e.g. see here).

HH shooting Ayrshire May 2014 highlight - Copy

21 Responses to “Muirkirk hen harrier: shot and killed at nest site”

  1. 1 Nigel Raby
    April 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Surely you don’t think Police Scotland are in the pockets of the wealthy landowners do you!

  2. 7 Roger Little
    April 9, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Unfortunately with no explanation from the police as to why no information was released at the time or since their competence and/or honesty must be questioned!

  3. 8 Dave Taylor
    April 9, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    The Hen Harrier will soon be as dead as a Dodo in this country because of some peoples ” Bloody good fun” and a couldn’t care less attitude where large somes of monies are involved.

  4. 9 Chris Roberts
    April 9, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    You can’t have any faith in Police Scotland’s competence if they claim that a shot hen harrier is not a criminal act. It beggars believe.

  5. 13 Ian Gordon
    April 9, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    A pathetic police performance. Hiding information that should be in the public domain. Only seem interested in investigating crimes committed by the dead, not the living, these days.

  6. 14 George M
    April 9, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    The police would much prefer you put their pure performance down to lack of competence … it lets them off the hook in so many other ways!

  7. 16 nirofo
    April 9, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Seeing as how SNH are one of the governments main whipping dog quangos, in other words part of the establishment run entirely for themselves, it’s highly unlikely they would place a General Licence restriction order on this moorland, it’d be like shooting yourself in the arse with both barrels of number 6 shot.

  8. 17 wingsandwildhearts
    April 9, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Reblogged this on wingsandwildhearts and commented:
    It’s always a shame when majestic species like these perish because of police negligence.

  9. April 9, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Disgusting performance from the police and SNH. I think it a long goodbye to the hen harrier, sadly.

  10. April 10, 2015 at 11:28 am

    It’s abundantly clear that wildlife crime is well down on the list of criminal activities the police are willing or capable of pursuing. Throw in some wealthy and powerful influences and indeed police themselves who support bloodsports and it’s little surprise nothing ever gets done in these cases.

  11. 20 Dave
    April 10, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    I ahve some sympathy for the Police. The instinct of any Police or other investigator is to withold information, usually on the basis that it might either predjudice a trial or affect an on-going investigation.

    • 21 nirofo
      April 10, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      Wilfully withholding evidence is just one of the misdemeanours the police are capable of and use to their advantage whenever possible, and it’s possible quite a lot. They have a long list of devious ways to avoid bringing wildlife criminals to justice and manage to use them very successfully! Quite often they don’t even bother turning up to the scene of the crime to gather evidence in the first place citing all sorts of lame excuses to justify their uncaring attitude. This just goes to prove that the police don’t give a damn about wildlife persecution, in particular where Raptors are concerned, especially if the persecution takes place on grouse shooting estates owned by people in powerful places.

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