Red kite dies after persecution incident ‘near Tomatin’

rk by David TomlinsonReports have emerged this afternoon that a red kite has died after it was found injured ‘near Tomatin’ on 30 August 2015.

According to a BBC news article (here), ‘Police said its injuries did not appear to have been as a result of natural causes’.

According to an article in the P&J (here), ‘Early examinations of the bird have found its death is not due to natural causes’.

In other words, this kite has been illegally killed but apparently Police Scotland is ‘unable to disclose the nature of the bird’s injuries’ (according to the P&J). So the cause of death has not been revealed, and neither has the location where the injured kite was picked up, other than ‘near Tomatin’. Tomatin is in the heart of driven grouse moor country – just put it in to google maps and look at the amount of muirburn strips that surround the village – this region also has a long track record of raptor persecution on a par with other grouse moor regions such as the Angus Glens.

So, another example of an embarrassingly vague Police Scotland statement in relation to the illegal killing of yet another raptor. It’s the latest in a series of similar cryptic police statements relating to the illegal persecution of raptors:

In September 2010 the police issued a vague appeal for information following the discovery of an osprey in the Highlands that died from what they described as “deliberately inflicted injuries“. It was later reported that the bird had been shot (see here).

In June 2013 a similarly cryptic press release followed the discovery of a dead red kite in Aberdeenshire: “After recovery of the carcass, a post mortem was carried out. This revealed that the bird’s death was not by natural causes“. It was later reported the kite had been shot (see here).

In January 2014, we got more of the same after the discovery of a dead buzzard ‘near the village of Tomatin’. Ooh, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The press statement said: “Police said an examination of the buzzard suggested it had not died of natural causes” (see here). We still don’t know how it was killed.

In June 2014 there was another one, this time a hen harrier found dead near it’s nest in Muirkirk. The police said: “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” (see here and here). Guess, what? Turns out it had been shot (see here).

Police Scotland will claim that withholding information about the cause of the death is part of their investigative strategy, because it is ‘specialist knowledge’ that only the perpetrator and any potential witness will know. That’s a legitimate strategy, of course, but given the low likelihood of actually catching anyone for this type of offence it seems like a fairly pointless exercise. It will, though, allow the game shooting lobby to deny all knowledge and refute any suggestion that the bird was killed by anyone associated with that industry.


So what do you reckon? Is the illegal killing of this red kite going to be the crime that finally jolts the Scottish Government in to taking the oft-promised ‘further action if necessary’? Probably not. We’re still waiting to hear the Minister’s response to a question we posed three weeks ago following the discovery of a shot buzzard in the Borders. We asked her how she defined ‘if necessary’? (see here). Her response should make for an interesting read.

Whatever she says, she really does need to start delivering something tangible, and fast.

Red kite photo by David Tomlinson

29 Responses to “Red kite dies after persecution incident ‘near Tomatin’”

  1. 1 Marco McGinty
    September 10, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    XXXXX Estate is quite near Tomatin, and there is a history of raptor persecution on this estate.

    XXXXX Estate (with strong links to the raptor-hating XXXXX XXXXX) is quite near Tomatin, and there is a history of persecution on this estate.

    I’m quite sure there will be other shooting estates near Tomatin, and I’m also quite sure that there will be a history of persecution on these estates as well.

    What are the odds that Police Scotland will oversee another monumental failure in their “investigations” into this incident?

    And what are the odds that Aileen McLeod and the Scottish Government do fuck all about this illegal death?

    [Ed: Have edited those names, Marco…..you’re right, there are many estates close to Tomatin with long histories, although one of those you mentioned is believed to have turned a corner]

  2. 2 nirofo
    September 10, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    It’s high time the police were just left out of the loop altogether, they’re less than useless where wildlife crime is concerned anyway, the SSPCA should become involved wherever possible, at least they will pursue all reported incidents and follow them up to the end result. It’s very obvious that police Scotland has no intention of ever persuing raptor crime seriously, especially in grouse shooting estate vicinities where the powerful estate owners control them like puppets on a string.

  3. 3 Dave
    September 10, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    On more than one occasion I’ve almost hit a swooping red kite on the A9 near Tomatin (First place I saw on ‘in the wild’ in the Highlands)

  4. 4 Anand Prasad
    September 10, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Since 25th June i forward each one of these incidents to the Minister and remind her of her zero tolerance pledge.
    This was #4.

  5. 5 Carrie
    September 10, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Another email sent. The last one only received an acknowledgement yesterday, so I won’t hold my breath.

  6. 6 Mr Greer Hart, senior
    September 10, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Could someone please explain what the killing of one Red Kite will be in financial terms? What I mean by that, is, has the game shooting industry worked out the loss to their profits of the presence of one of any kind of Bird of Prey and its foraging for grouse? Each of our prey species would naturally have its own particular requirement, depending on its energy expenditure and for its chicks. Account could also be made for whatever wild prey that would be eaten, thus lessenng the grouse taken factor. Each estate could assess the number of Birds of Prey using it as its teritory, and then work out the impact of having this cost factor on their profits.

    Of course, such estates being a form of business unit, will follow the profit maximisation goal, and not concede any tolerance of their product being in demand by a competing predator. To be even more accurate in finding a total cost for loss of profit, other causes of loss of game birds could be adduced, that is, by bad weather; ticks; poaching; diseases etc. Somewhere a mathematician awaits to create a formula that could be used to give a scientifically reliable figure of total impact of all factors against achieving a profit maximisation on an estate void of any limiting factor, and it could have different forms with different detractors being taken into account, and then the profit/loss of one Red Kite could be isolated.

    All businesses have to face competition, and do so with various techniques to ensure a viable market share. The least efficient going out of business. I am surprised no one in the SNH, RSPB, or whatever have attempted to research the feasibility of such a rational way, to see if game bird shooting can be conducted in a more tolerant way, conceding the right of Birds of Prey to be part of the Scottish landscape, and not to be driven to extinction once again.

    Why should such a form of business be exempt from the strictures facing any firm operating in a free market economy, in which an ethical approach has to be adopted with responsibility to the consumer, and to follow the law regarding company operation. We do know that there are estates which do not operate within the law in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK. They instruct or turn a blind eye when their gamekeepers kill protected widllife. This has led to a loss in confidence in the Scottish Government and the legal services, in that not much success has been achieved in punishing offenders who have been proved to have killed a Bird of Prey. There seems to be a form of constipation in our old boy club, that appears to command the landscape of Scotland, and elsewhere.

    Such an insight into the operation of other big wildlife killers andi impacters on the natural environment, such as fish farms and the trawling industry could be developed, and I am sure the facts for the operations of these who are already present, and all they require, as does the game shooting industry, is a good and impartial cost accountant to study their operational costs, and the putative losses due to factors peculiar to their respective operations. I, and many of my opinion, are not confident in the way the Ministry for the Environment and Whatever of Scotland, are really enthusiastic in offending those industries described as contributing greatly to the Scottish Economy, and just fobbing the conservation cause off with promises and platitudes. JUST HOW MUCH DO SHOOTING ESTATES, FISH FARMS, TRAWLING contribute to our economy? How many real well-paid living wage jobs do they provide; what is their environmental cost; with those that are foreign owned, like our Norwegian owned fish farms, how much is repatriated to the homeland; with trawling, what is the holding back cost of regenerating damaged fishing grounds in the form of harvests that could have existed if a more benign way of fishing had been practiced? It is time such strongly entrenched industries are investigated and a clearer picture formed as to the economic reality of their present operating methods. A Red Kite does have a cost attached to it, and it has a contribution to the economy in encouraging part of our tourist industry and adding to our biodiversity.

    I expect more dithering and cover up to be experienced, and the constant war of attrition against our wildlife to continue, until we get a determined Government effort to be more open as to what and whomsover is holding back the progress of making Scotland a more humane and progressive country in managing its environment. We are not in isolation within the EU, as there is a terrible toll being taken by shooters and habitat loss due to “developments” by the carpet baggers who have begun a deforestation of pristine areas of Eastern Europe, and destroying habitats home to rare birds, butteflies and wild flowers. We can lose this battle if we do not develop a more strident and demanding attitude towards what is classed as Government.

    • 7 Marco McGinty
      September 11, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      “I am surprised no one in the SNH, RSPB, or whatever have attempted to research the feasibility of such a rational way, to see if game bird shooting can be conducted in a more tolerant way, conceding the right of Birds of Prey to be part of the Scottish landscape, and not to be driven to extinction once again.”

      There is a simple solution to this, and I’ve mentioned it on here many times before, and that is that the shooting estates switch from driven shooting to a walked-up shooting system, which would not require the large bags demanded from the driven system. The pricing structures could remain the same, thereby eliminating any loss in revenue, and at the same time predators would be allowed to co-exist. The presence of raptors could even lead to raptor watchpoints and other eco-tourism initiatives, further adding to the revenue stream for the estates, further enhancing these local communities, and providing even more jobs within these areas. That argument alone destroys the shooting industry myths of job creation and local economies, when a simple switch could create so much more.

      A simple switch such as that described, could easily put an end to all of the conflict, so we have to question, with the exception of a few estates, why this approach hasn’t been adopted. And the answer is simple – the inbuilt and inbred backward thinking attitude that all predatory birds and mammals should be killed.

      The death of this Red Kite, and many other illegally killed raptors over the years, has nothing to do with balancing the books, but it is all down to sheer hatred for predatory creatures. This Red Kite was found shot on 30 August, so presumably it was shot just a day or so before that date, and this is crucial part of the story.

      The breeding season for grouse is long past, so the Red Kite would not have been seeking out young grouse, and as a relatively weak species it would be unable to tackle an adult grouse, so any excuse of a possible impact on the grouse can immediately be eliminated.

      Was it shot in a case of mistaken identity? Does the Red Kite resemble any other species on a legitimate quarry list? Highly unlikely.

      I think we can safely rule out all wildfowl and mammals as possible confusion species, so that only leaves game birds and waders. The pheasant season is yet to come, and by the time the kite had been shot, the partridge season had yet to start, as was the case with Woodcock and Golden Plover. So that only leaves four species – Snipe, Red Grouse, Black Grouse and Ptarmigan – none of which look remotely like a Red Kite.

      So, it is safe to suggest that the bird was deliberately targeted and shot, most probably by a sociopathic gamekeeper that wanted the bird to endure a prolonged death, and most probably under orders from a privileged establishment figure. It is also safe to suggest that Police Scotland will not investigate this case thoroughly (if at all), the criminals will once again get away with it, and Aileen McLeod and the SNP Scottish Government will simply add this death to the ever increasing tally of crimes committed by the shooting industry, and do nothing to combat the criminal surge within this hugely criminal industry.

      • 8 Jack Snipe
        September 12, 2015 at 3:13 am

        Marco, what makes you think that simply changing from driven grouse shooting to walk-up grouse shooting will eliminate what you yourself refer to as “…the inbuilt and inbred backward thinking attitude that all predatory birds and mammals should be killed.”? I don’t think it’s as simple as that, and neither is the economic argument you put forward that the estates could protect their financial interest simply by tweaking the pricing system accordingly. They already argue strenuously that where hen harriers remain unmolested or “uncontrolled”, the grouse shoot becomes economically unsustainable. I would contend that while the abolition of driven grouse shooting would be a step in the right direction, it would seriously prolong the persecution of harriers for the very long time it would take to end grouse shooting altogether, as well as continuing the environmental destruction of peatlands and high quality heather moor.

        • 9 Marco McGinty
          September 12, 2015 at 4:45 pm

          I’m merely giving the switch as an example of what could happen, but I have also stated that it hasn’t happened (and probably won’t) because of the industry’s inbuilt hatred of predators. I believe the public should know that there is a clear alternative to the current system, and an alternative that would increase job prospects for rural areas, as well as boosting these local economies.

          Yes, they have argued that the presence of Hen Harriers will make a grouse shoot unviable, but that is a debate for the driven shoot. With walked-up shooting, there is no such requirement for large bags, and with less grouse, the need to manage/damage the land would also be much reduced.

          The shooting industry repeatedly tells the public of the job creation and economical benefits that shooting brings, yet I have laid out a simple alternative to the current regime that would increase both job prospects and revenue. However, the shooting industry stubbornly refuses to adapt to this less controversial method.

          But as mentioned, the shooting industry’s hatred for predatory creatures, especially raptors, will see them deliberately seek conflict with conservationists and naturalists, as witnessed by the shooting of this Red Kite that would have posed no problems whatsoever, and we see the same deliberate conflict being sought by those involved in pheasant shooting. I’ve long argued that simple, preventative measures, such as some form of roofing over pens, would seriously restrict avian predators from getting at poults. Sadly, this method is deemed particularly offensive by the shooting industry, and they refuse to adopt this simple solution that would eliminate any conflict.

          • 10 Jack Snipe
            September 12, 2015 at 8:09 pm

            Marco, I think you’re slightly missing the point. I have experience of keepers operating on both driven and walk-up grouse shooting estates, and I can assure you that they aim to maximise the grouse numbers under either circumstance. So the impact on harriers and other predators is very unlikely to be reduced simply by switching. The incentive to maximise profits will always take precedence with these people. I firmly believe that the only realistic solution is to convince the public that there is another alternative, that is to ban grouse shooting altogether. That won’t happen tomorrow, but only when it does will the keepers leave raptors alone, because their role in persecuting them would be over. In the meantime we should continue to pressurise politicians and the police into taking effective action against the law breakers.

            I can understand why, but think that like most citizens of the UK you may have been conditioned into thinking that the wild uplands have to provide tangible economic benefit for the rich landowners. The new politics of the past year are generating a strong public desire for railways to be renationalised, and there’s absolutely no reason in a democratic society why land of important scientific or conservation value shouldn’t be owned by all of us. It could then be managed appropriately with economic benefits arising from tourism and controlled agriculture. Sheep are much maligned by conservationists, but a certain degree of grazing is essential to maintain the habitat conditions required by harriers and other raptors which prey upon field voles and meadow pipits. It would be so easily compatible with a properly planned economy.

            • 11 Marco McGinty
              September 15, 2015 at 2:49 am

              “The incentive to maximise profits will always take precedence with these people. I firmly believe that the only realistic solution is to convince the public that there is another alternative, that is to ban grouse shooting altogether. That won’t happen tomorrow, but only when it does will the keepers leave raptors alone, because their role in persecuting them would be over.”

              That did form part of my solution, Jack. My vision, if adopted, would provide extra revenue for the estates, and if the estates saw that eco-tourism initiatives such as raptor watchpoints, guided tours, photographic packages, etc. were all adding to the revenue stream, the raptors would be left alone. However, as previously stated, I don’t think many estates will change their ways, if any.

              “I can understand why, but think that like most citizens of the UK you may have been conditioned into thinking that the wild uplands have to provide tangible economic benefit for the rich landowners. The new politics of the past year are generating a strong public desire for railways to be renationalised, and there’s absolutely no reason in a democratic society why land of important scientific or conservation value shouldn’t be owned by all of us. It could then be managed appropriately with economic benefits arising from tourism and controlled agriculture.”

              Your assertion that I have been “conditioned” is really wide of the mark. My beliefs regarding land use in Scotland are very similar to what you have suggested should be the way forward. Indeed, grazing by a variety of species has proven to be a very effective conservation tool for many differing habitats and species.

              • 12 Jack Snipe
                September 15, 2015 at 12:10 pm

                Marco, I understand and respect your views, but personally I can’t accept that compromise with the estates is a desirable outcome, partly because I’m opposed to blood sports in principle. However my main reason for arguing (amicably) with you is because you are obviously enlightened and I’d rather you didn’t waste mental energy going down a route that is fatally flawed. Perhaps we need to appraise just exactly what ownership of the grouse moors means to the families and business ventures concerned. Making profits through public service is not part of their philosophy, so very few if any of them would willingly enter into the tourist business on their beloved moors. From an economic perspective, the moors represent a significant capital investment or asset, and by engineering agricultural grants and taking advantage of tax concessions, they are an asset that retains and generates a highly significant degree of wealth. Over and above that, huge amounts of tax payments are avoided by management through offshore tax havens and hedge funds. Due to these opportunities, land values in the UK have increased tremendously over the past twelve years. Perhaps equally importantly, if not more so, are the cultural reasons for them fighting any attempts to interfere in their favourite blood sport. Participating in a shoot is primarily a cultural occasion for these people, from having a jolly day out on the open moor with their servants loading the guns for them, to gathering together in the evening to dine luxuriantly and enjoy the finest Scotch whisky in the company of their own class. One can imagine the conversations about being very comfortably rich, business deals and the latest stock market dealings, and of course the “oiks” who would like to take away their pleasures and don’t understand the virtue of vermin control. Their arrogance knows no bounds, and they’re not interested in bowing to any pressure from people they regard as unkempt hippy freaks and “socialists” who have the audacity to challenge what they choose to do in their own libertarian world. And importantly, they have the establishment on their side. That’s why I believe that it’s only through influencing public opinion that we have any real chance of winning the battle to protect Hen Harriers and other raptors from persecution.

                • 13 Jack Snipe
                  September 15, 2015 at 4:59 pm

                  As a follow-up to my comments above about hippy freaks and socialists, you might be amused by the following letter, which was published in the Times on 11 September 2015 from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust:

                  “Sir, Defra has achieved exactly what the RSPB demanded in 2012, a hen harrier recovery plan endorsed by the landowning and shooting organisations. Now the RSPB says it cannot support the Defra recovery plan until harrier numbers have recovered (“Soldier goes into battle for hen harriers”, Sept. 9). Those seeking to hinder the plan have been called “eco-activists” by the Hawk and Owl Trust’s chairman Phillip Merricks (letter, Sept. 10), but I feel England’s hen harriers might have used a stronger term.
                  ANDREW GILRUTH
                  Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust”

                  Conveying the wrong impression of RSPB by omitting certain details, of course. I’m surprised Phillip Merricks didn’t use the term “eco-terrorists.” Chris Packham did the right thing resigning from the Hawk and Owl Trust. They’ve long been regarded with some suspicion in certain quarters. And according to Mr Gilruth, England’s hen harriers will be furious – what, both of them?

    • 14 Jack Snipe
      September 12, 2015 at 12:27 am

      An interesting and thought-provoking comment Greer, looking at the bigger picture, and I agree with a lot of your analysis. However I have reservations about playing business interests at their own game. In this capitalist society the odds are stacked heavily in favour of what some political analysts would refer to as “the ruling class.” Sadly political discussion in our nation is suppressed by stereotyping on all sides, giving rise to the debate-stifling philosophy “there’s no such thing as class any more.” Most people who espouse this idea seem rather pleased with themselves, but it tends to be either the posturing of an upper middle class person who well knows there is such a thing, and glad of it, or someone who is naive and self-delusional – as so often exemplified in the “Facebook” society.

      Apart from me offending half the population of Britain, what does this have to do with raptor persecution? A simple understanding of social science opens awareness as to the class nature of the particular form of animal cruelty that is grouse shooting. That isn’t being as naive as to suggest that only the upper classes are capable of cruelty; take dog-fighting or badger-baiting as alternative examples. However grouse shooting is set apart as an activity enjoyed almost exclusively by the upper classes, which can’t even be fully claimed about fox hunting. However one thing they have in common is that they are both supported by the establishment, and it took a strong rise in public opposition to ban the latter (but watch this space). Grouse shooting probably involves far greater environmental damage than any other so-called field sport, although some might say pheasant shooting comes at least a close second. In addition, both these activities, enjoyed almost exclusively by the privileged few (and pheasant poachers), involve deliberate law breaking in the secondary activity of gamekeepers, who are employed to maximise levels of recreational pleasure and financial profit.

      Unfortunately this sordid profession is now promoted as a desirable career prospect by Scottish Natural Heritage. This has sneaked in to their policies and publicity over recent years, and the merging with Deer Commission Scotland was possibly the final nail in the coffin of the SNH we used to respect, the one that did not treat wildlife or our natural heritage purely as an economic commodity or a “problem” to be managed. They have been politically influenced of course, and heavily persuaded by the establishment to accommodate their views. I believe it is going to get far worse before it gets better, and conservationists need to take stronger action to fairly influence pubic opinion. As an aside, I would say that some raptor enthusiasts need to become more sharing and less exclusive or even elitist about their own interests.

      There appears to be a growing public awareness of the inherent but unnecessary cruelty inflicted by field sports in general, and if we are to help advance this culture change, I’d suggest we need to take an entirely fresh ethical approach to the subject. However above all we need to remove conflict and hypocrisy, and not compromise on fundamental principles. We also need to “know our enemy”, and be aware that the grouse industry has wealth and power on its side, which needs to be challenged on that basis. A shocking percentage of grouse moor in Britain is owned by companies operating via offshore tax havens, owned by often absent multi-millionaire landowners. Arguments as to the economic benefit to our country can be countered by taking account of the unpaid taxes; also, the flow of money which does enter the UK economy through grouse shooting tends to remain mainly within the upper echelons, circulating in their own sub-economy. Very little of it goes towards improving the NHS or helping out the weaker in society. Hardly a penny of it goes towards genuine nature conservation.

  7. 15 Bimbliing
    September 10, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Further direct evidence of why the residents of the Chilterns can enjoy red kites that are at uncountable numbers while the poor folk of invernes-shire have a population that can’t seem to expand out of the narrow area around the site of the long passed re-introduction. It stinks, and while it shows what the shooting lot are doing in stark relief I’m truly concerned that the southern Scotland golden eagle re-enforcement project will show exactly the same thing rather than spread the range of that magnificent species.

  8. 17 Chris Roberts
    September 10, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    As I have been saying for years, the whole area south of Inverness is a no go area, as far as our raptors are concerned. Everyone living in this district knows what estates are responsible, just a shame that the authorities are either unable or unwilling to pursue the crimes to a satisfactory conclusion.

    • 18 Marco McGinty
      September 11, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Chris, you can safely assume, that in the vast majority of cases, it is a complete unwillingness to pursue these crimes. There cannot be any other explanation for these repeated failures. Police Scotland has the resources, the knowledge and expertise to investigate these crimes, yet they deliberately choose to ignore the issue.

      As I stated in a previous post, it is patently obvious that corruption in the police is relatively widespread, and turning a blind eye to the same criminal practices that occur in the same areas, year after year, is a form of corruption.

  9. 19 Les Wallace
    September 11, 2015 at 9:47 am

    I caught my first sight of a red kite very briefly from a car near the Black Isle in 2010, saw another fly over Hay Festival in 2011 and have since been to a feeding station near Doune. As a wildlife mad wee boy in the 1970s growing up in Falkirk seeing a red kite would have been a phenomenal experience for me, something I could only read/dream about. Why did I miss out on something that should really have been my birth right? Because of a ‘heritage’ of Victorian persecution, including collecting stuffed birds and eggs, that meant myself and others were deprived of something due to others arrogance and greed – bagging grouse and pheasant for fun primarily. It’s still going on and the sad fact is if the red kites reintroduced to the Black isle in 1989 had been released at the Grangemouth refinery instead they would probably have been better off. Would feeding at the local landfill site have been any more hazardous than what they are going through around the Black Isle? For the red kite population in Scotland to really take off, I think we need a couple of further reintroductions in the central belt as far away as possible from any shooting estates. It’s disgustingly obvious what many/most of the estates near the Black isle are up to yet they keep getting away with it.

    • 20 Marco McGinty
      September 11, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      I agree with the vast majority of your comments, Les, however I slightly disagree that we should have a few more reintroductions. A few years ago, I would have agreed with you, but not now.

      Where the Red Kite is concerned, it is not just the backward thinking mentality of the grouse moor owners and employees, but also the equally backward thinking mentality of the pheasant estate owners and employees, and of course some of the farming community.

      The species is regularly targeted by all of these industries, and you just have to listen to some of the farming community’s comments on the species to realise that many farmers still have that inbred Victorian attitude to predators. According to some farmers, the Red Kite is a winged menace that kills anything in its path.

      Bearing in mind that the D&G reintroduction was started more than 10 years ago, the species is still very rare in the neighbouring county of Ayrshire, yet the species could easily move into Ayrshire without having to run the gauntlet of grouse moors. Indeed, many of the casualties from this population have been found dead on farmland areas where there also happens to be an interest in shooting, or they have been found with one or other of the gamekeeping industry’s favoured poisons. Your average member of the public is unlikely to possess these poisons, but gamekeepers, and some farmers, certainly do keep stockpiles.

      As with the Golden Eagle project that has been touted, I honestly don’t believe there should be any more reintroductions until the shooting industry is properly regulated. In my opinion, a ban on driven shooting, a strict licensing regime, and hard-hitting penalties should all be implemented before any other reintroduction projects are started.

  10. September 11, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Forgive my ignorance, but I have four genuine questions.

    1. Have the Scottish Police ever as yet actually charged anyone for killing a protected Bird of Prey?
    2. Has Aileen McLeod achieved anything at all since she was appointed. If so, what?
    3. Have any of you observed at first hand, a Red Kite taking an adult or half-grown Red Grouse? I accept that the odd Grouse chick might be taken when the opportunity arises, but how does this compare with the number of chicks which die in wet weather – and Grouse which get shot but not fatally, only to die of their injuries out of sight??
    4. Is it me, or are things getting worse rather than better?

    • 22 nirofo
      September 13, 2015 at 2:02 am

      Tony, It’s been getting steadily worse for a number of years now and nobody is doing a damn thing to stop it. The police turn a blind eye, SNH and DEFRA are controlled by and on behalf of the shooting estates and the farmers, the National Trust cares more about it’s tenants than it does about wildlife, HOT has now become too hot to handle since they came out and showed their true colours, and dare I say it, the RSPB seem quite happy to sit on the fence and keep their formidable talons sheathed !!!

  11. 23 I C T
    September 11, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    All you get from the Scottish Government are promises, lots of promises, unfulfilled promises. They could be making a difference, they should be making a difference, but they haven’t. Utterly, utterly useless.

  12. 24 Grouseman
    September 13, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    The point you have clearly chosen to ignore and has been omitted from every press release from the RSPB is that the ‘member of the public’ that handed this injured kite in was in fact one of the local gamekeepers. Now why would they deliberately injure it then try and save it. It’s just another headline grabbing move by the RSPB to tarnish the shooting industry.

    • September 14, 2015 at 12:41 am

      And the point you have clearly chosen to ignore is that the local gamekeeper who handed in this kite wasn’t the person who found it, and nor was it found on the estate on which he works.

      • 26 Grouseman
        September 14, 2015 at 7:27 am

        No but when it was reported to them they went out and located the injured bird and got it the attention it needed. What estate it was on is irrelevant in small communities people aren’t going to ‘drop their neighbour in it’ so to speak if they had anything to do with their injuries. The press releases could have quite easily mentioned the fact that it was a local keeper that handed it in but it’s more convenient and suits many peoples anti-shooting, anti-gamekeeper agenda to withhold such facts.

    • 28 Kiteman
      September 14, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      “Grouseman” I can’t find anything in the various news sources that confirm your claim that a gamekeeper handed in the bird (though I have seen a grouse-hunting supporter make the claim on Facebook).

      Are you able to give a better source for your claim than his “somebody told me” and “Grouseman said so”?

  13. 29 I C T
    September 14, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Any decent gamekeeper would report the type of barbaric activities that have been carried out by the criminals who operate throughout Scotland’s grouse moors. It’s about time the blood sports industry showed some honesty.

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