17
Aug
15

Buzzard shot & fatally injured in Borders

buzzard 3A buzzard that was found badly injured in the Borders in July had been hit by shotgun pellets in its head and wing. Its injuries were so severe the bird had to be euthanised.

The bird was found by a member of the public on 24th July by the side of the road between Heriot and Innerleithen. This is driven grouse moor country and the area has a long history of raptor persecution – if you’re unfamiliar with the region, check out google maps.

The SSPCA is appealing for information.

SSPCA press statement here

BBC News article here

Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod has made the following statement:

The illegal persecution of birds of prey is always unacceptable, but this case – with the pain and suffering caused to the buzzard – is particularly abhorrent. Anyone with information on this incident should contact the relevant authorities as soon as possible.

 “I am resolute in my determination to do all I can to put a stop to crimes such as this, with the Scottish Government working with law enforcement and others through the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime in Scotland (PAWS). I expect all right-minded people involved in the countryside, including with shooting, to support our efforts.

 “The Scottish Government has already put in place new and strengthened measures to crack down on wildlife crime, including vicarious liability prosecutions and general licence restrictions, for example. But let me be absolutely clear – I will consider taking further action if necessary and the licencing of shooting businesses in Scotland remains an option.

How many more times are we going to hear this now seemingly empty threat about ‘taking further action if necessary’? What does ‘if necessary‘ actually mean if it doesn’t mean that this latest incident is worthy of further action? Each time we’re told about another raptor that has been illegally killed we ask the Government when further action will be taken. Each time, we’re fobbed off with this line: “I will consider taking further action if necessary“. In the last few days alone we’ve learned of a shot hen harrier and two shot buzzards. Are none of these crimes worthy of ‘taking further action’?

Don’t know about you but we’d be really interested to find out exactly how Dr McLeod defines ‘if necessary‘. Does she have a target number of raptor killings in mind that will trigger further action? If so, what is that figure? Let’s ask her. Emails to: ministerforenvironment@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

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10 Responses to “Buzzard shot & fatally injured in Borders”


  1. 1 Douglas Malpus
    August 17, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    Email sent to Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod, see below.

    It is time to use the existing laws to seriously penalise the shooting estates where birds of prey are killed by gamekeepers with gun, traps and poison. No more petty penalties, get serious.

    Too often there is no investigation and the shooting estates stand above the law. Scotland has better laws than England to deal with these criminals, it is time that they were used more frequently.

    I am disappointed that PM Cameron is stopping Scottish MP’s voting on, for example, the hunting with dogs act, so called English laws. Please fight against this matter. We should have UK laws not different for each country.

    ………………………………….

    I will report if I get a reply.

  2. 2 Chris Roberts
    August 17, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    The same fate will no doubt fall to the proposed Eagles when released in the border region. The gamekeepers definatly appear to be targeting buzzards more and more, as they are becoming as rare as red kites in the highlands. They and their bosses certainly appear to be above the law of the land, and can kill with impunity.

  3. 3 Damion Willcock
    August 17, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    Dear Dr McLeod
    Yet again the all too familiar reports of raptor persecution.
    Barely a week goes by without news of a buzzard, peregrine, kite or eagle being shot or poisoned.

    I welcome your statement to ‘take further action if necessary’ to crackdown on this particularly common form of wildlife crime.
    However, I have to ask, what more evidence do you need to be convinced that raptor persecution is widespread, systematic and closely linked to shooting estates?
    Is there some threshold figure of, for example, poisoned eagles or shot peregrines, at which you will take this action?

    With regard to the proposed release of golden eagles in southern Scotland, nothing would delight me and my family more, than to see eagles back in the Border hills.
    A friend of mine found the poisoned bird in 2007 in Peeblesshire, the last breeding female in the region.
    Several times I took my children to the forest where this pair nested; it was essential to me that they see Scotland’s greatest animal.
    And how privileged we were, to have them in the valley where we live.
    Surely every child in Scotland should have that right? What better way to impart a respect and love of the natural world?

    As an apex predator, the golden eagle is perhaps the closest equivalent we have to tigers in India, or lions in Africa.
    I’m frequently struck by the airtime given to poaching of these animals in far away countries, while less is said of eagle slaughter in the Scottish hills.
    Why is that?
    I think it has much to do with vested interests in areas where the establishment has influence, such that the criminal aspects of game shooting are protected.
    So that a few more pheasants and grouse can be shot.

    So yes please, bring us some eagles to the Borders, but first you must show the estates that persecution will be met with the full force of the law.
    That means prison sentences, large financial penalties, revoking of shooting licences.
    If you do that you will be remembered as a courageous politician. The minister who dragged a victorian-mindset industry into the modern age.

  4. 4 Carrie
    August 17, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    I’m sure the shooting industry is quaking in their boots following this latest threat from Dr Macleod. Emailed.

  5. August 18, 2015 at 1:35 am

    Are there any figures available regarding how many (if any) members of the SGA have been found guilty of wildlife crimes including raptor persecution?

    • 6 Jack Snipe
      August 24, 2015 at 2:35 am

      I’m keen to hear an answer to John Robins’s question. “Probably every one of them” unfortunately isn’t very enlightening. Is someone checking the figures?

  6. 7 Bill Jackson
    August 20, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Are there any figures available regarding how many (if any) members of the SGA have been found guilty of wildlife crimes…..

    Very sadly Mr Robins, probably every one of the keepers involved in the so called shooting industry…even if the pretence of protecting stocks was not involved these thugs would continue killing wildlife protected or otherwise because this is what we do and get away with on a daily. What’s your problem we are making money from our knowing landowners and of course the vine burger and sausage trade;…however hopefully once its gone so will they be, arrogance and all….moved on to killing fields new…fuel is costly.Bill Jackson from a very much wildlife depleted Seil Island area. We must remember tourism came to Scotland to enjoy the scenery, its magnificent
    wildlife and hospitality…not the veni burger from the bottom of your garden.

  7. 8 Bill Jackson
    August 20, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Are there any figures available regarding how many (if any) members of the SGA have been found guilty of wildlife crimes…..

    Very sadly Mr Robins, probably every one of the keepers involved in the so called shooting industry…even if the pretence of protecting stocks was not involved these thugs would continue killing wildlife protected or otherwise because this is what we do and get away with on a daily basis. What’s your problem we are making money from our knowing landowners and of course the vini burger and sausage trade;…however hopefully once its all gone from nearby… so will they be, arrogance along with new Landrovers, 4×4’s etc all….moved on to fresh killing fields… fuel is costly and so is local tollerence.
    Bill Jackson, Auchnasaul from a very much wildlife depleted Seil Island area. We must remember tourism came to Scotland to enjoy the scenery,( remember welcome to Bonny Scotland?) its magnificent wildlife and local hospitality…not to sample the veni burger from the bottom of your garden. B&B’s have noticed the drop in trade but their blakc currants are probably doing fine…Get real wake up Scotland.


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