04
Jul
17

Buzzard caught in illegally-set trap on Monadhliaths grouse moor

Police Scotland have this afternoon published the following statement:

Investigation into illegal setting of traps, Strathdearn

Police Scotland can confirm that an investigation into the alleged illegal setting of traps to deliberately target birds of prey near Auchintoul, Strathdearn has been launched.

Police were informed of an incident that occurred on 7 June 2017 where a buzzard was found after having been illegally trapped on the south slopes of Beinn Bhreac. The bird was found by a member of the public and was released.

Inspector Mike Middlehurst said: “It is very disappointing to have an incident like this reported, especially when there is a great deal of positive work going on in the Highlands to tackle wildlife crime. Unfortunately, there are some who continue to deliberately target birds of prey; there is nothing accidental in the setup of these traps.

“I am grateful to the member of the public who came across the bird and for their assistance in trying to free it. They were slightly injured in the process of releasing the bird and had the knowledge to photograph it. We are keen to speak to anybody who was walking or mountain biking in this area over the weekend of 3 and 4 June 2017. If anyone saw people or vehicles on these tracks that they thought out of place or acting suspiciously I would encourage them to contact us.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101 quoting reference NN13977/17 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you wish to remain anonymous.”

ENDS

Well done to the member of the public who saw the trapped buzzard, photographed it, and reported it to the Police. And well done Police Scotland for getting this news out within a month of it happening. By the looks of the photograph, that’s a baited spring trap, illegally-set out in the open instead of being placed inside an artificial or natural cover as the law demands. Police Scotland are clear:

Unfortunately there are some who continue to deliberately target birds of prey; there is nothing accidental in the setup of these traps“.

It’s also interesting to note the date this incident occurred – 7th June 2017. This is one week after the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement that she was bringing in new measures to tackle the on-going illegal persecution of raptors on grouse moors. It seems there are some out there who are determined to keep sticking up two fingers to the law, to the Government, and to the will of society. More fool them, because ultimately it is this arrogance and belief of being untouchable that will be the grouse-shooing industry’s downfall. We’re already beginning to see it crumbling in Scotland and cases like this will just increase resolve to demolish it once and for all.

The name of the estate where the trapped buzzard was found has not been publicised. However, Police Scotland say it was found on the south slopes of Beinn Bhreac. Using Andy Wightman’s ever-useful Who Owns Scotland website, the boundaries of two estates meet on the south slopes of Beinn Bhreac: Glen Kyllachy & Farr Estate on the west side, and Tomals & Kyllachy on the east side. Without a grid reference, we’re unable to determine on which estate this trap had been illegally set. Regular blog readers will be familiar with the name of one of these estates.

Here is a map showing Beinn Bhreac and the boundaries of the two estates meeting on its southern slopes (boundary information from Who Owns Scotland website).

Unsurprisingly, this area is driven grouse moor country and just happens to also be where a number of satellite-tagged golden eagles have ‘disappeared’ in recent years. Indeed, this area of the Monadhliaths to the north west of the Cairngorms National Park was identified in the recent Golden Eagle Satellite Tag Review as being one of the main areas where multiple tagged eagles have ‘disappeared’ in a suspicious cluster.

UPDATE 6PM:

We’ve sent a tweet to Conservative MSP Ed Mountain, as this is his constituency, asking him if he’s ready to be the “fiercest critic” yet? (E.g. see here).

We’ve also sent a tweet to Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, as this is also his constituency. We’ve asked him if he thinks this ongoing criminality is good for the rural economy?

We’ll post their responses here.

UPDATE 6 July 2017: Edward Mountain MSP responded with this: “Illegally trapping birds of prey is unacceptable. Police Scotland must carry out a full investigation. I will await and act on results”.

Fergus Ewing MSP (Cabinet Secretary) has not responded.

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24 Responses to “Buzzard caught in illegally-set trap on Monadhliaths grouse moor”


  1. 1 Peter Shearer
    July 4, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    We can only imagine the real scale of this problem, but maybe finally others are beginning to understand what is going on.Lets keep the pressure up as the tide may slowly be turning.

  2. 2 Ron55
    July 4, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    This persecution is bad enough, but the denial that goes with it is just staggering!

  3. July 4, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    I confess that I’m not overly impressed by the opening sentence of Inspector Mike Middlehurst statement. I really hope he doesn’t actually mean that “It is very disappointing to have an incident like this reported…” but rather that “It is very disappointing to have an incident like this happen…” Given the evidence regarding illegal persecution in the area his observation that “…. there is a great deal of positive work going on in the Highlands to tackle wildlife crime” smacks a little of complacency to me. Whilst it is commendable that details of this crime have been reported far more quickly than has recently been the case, it still seems too long although, presumably, there are operational reasons for this as it’s not unusual in other cases (I think).

  4. July 4, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    What is the “positive work” to which the Inspector refers? I’m assuming he isn’t referring to Police Scotland or the CO.

  5. 5 Simon
    July 4, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    An estate is targeting raptors , no mention of searches of any suspects premises or a wider land search.

    This was incident was initially reported to SSPCA wonder why police scotland have chosen not to mention this and no mention of partnership working either…..?

    A press release is not an alternative to a proper investigation.

  6. July 4, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    None of ” the positive work going on the Highlands to tackle wildlife crime ” is thanks to the driven grouse shooting industry, so mentioning it in this context is a bit daft (or otherwise?) of him.
    As we know, raptor destruction is a daily task in their industry.
    It is required to continue an unsustainable industry.

    Keep up the pressure !

  7. July 4, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Why doesn’t the RSPB ask its million members to demonstrate at Westminster and Hollyrood? Or a mass walk onto the moors on the 12th?

  8. 16 lizzybusy
    July 4, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Some potential offences …

    Offence 1
    Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, S1 Protection of wild birds, their nests and eggs.
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/69/section/1

    S1(1) “Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person intentionally—

    (a) kills, injures or takes any wild bird, he shall be guilty of an offence.

    Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, S18 Attempts to commit offences etc.
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/69/section/18

    S18(1) “Any person who attempts to commit an offence under the foregoing provisions of this Part shall be guilty of an offence and shall be punishable in like manner as for the said offence.”
    ___________________________________

    Offence 2
    Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, S5 Prohibition of certain methods of killing or taking wild birds.
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/69/section/5

    S5(1)(a) “Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person sets in position any of the following articles, being an article which is of such a nature and is so placed as to be calculated to cause bodily injury to any wild bird coming into contact therewith, that is to say, any … trap, …; he shall be guilty of an offence”.

    Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, S18 Attempts to commit offences etc.
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/69/section/18

    S18(1) “Any person who attempts to commit an offence under the foregoing provisions of this Part shall be guilty of an offence and shall be punishable in like manner as for the said offence.”
    ___________________________________

    Offence 3
    Pests Act 1954, S10 Amendment of Agriculture (Scotland) Act, 1948, as to spring traps.

    The following sections shall be substituted for section fifty of the Agriculture (Scotland) Act, 1948 (which regulates the use of firearms and spring traps for the purpose of killing hares or rabbits):—

    “50 Prohibition of night shooting, and use of spring traps.

    (1)Subject to the provisions of this ssection, a person shall be guiltyof an offence under this subsection if—

    (b)for the purpose of killing or taking animals, he uses, or knowingly permits the use of, any spring trap other than an approved trap, oruses, or knowingly permits the use of, an approved trap for animals or in the circumstances for which it is not approved

    Or for England and Wales ….

    Pests Act 1954, S8 Restriction on type of trap in England and Wales.
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Eliz2/2-3/68/section/8

    S8(1)Subject to the provisions of this section, a person shall be guilty of an offence under this subsection if (a) for the purpose of killing or taking animals, he uses, or knowingly permits the use of, an approved trap (ie under the Spring Traps Approval (England) Order 2012) for animals or in circumstances for which it is not approved.”

    And

    Pests Act 1954, S8 Restriction on type of trap in England and Wales.
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Eliz2/2-3/68/section/8

    S8(1)(a) “Except for rats, mice and small vermin, it is an offence to allow approved traps to be used in a way that does not comply with the terms of the approval.”

    Spring Traps Approval (England) Order 2012, S2 Approval of Spring Traps
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/13/article/2

    “The approvals are granted on the conditions that:
    (b) so far as is practicable without unreasonably compromising its use for killing or taking target species, the trap must be used in a manner that minimises the likelihood of its killing, taking or injuring non-target species.”

    The Spring Traps Approval (England) Order 2012 Schedule
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/13/schedule/made

    The Schedule contains the list of approved traps; the animals which the various traps can be used to catch and specific conditions for each trap.
    ___________________________________

    Offence 4
    Spring Traps Approval (Scotland) Order 2011, S2Approval of spring traps
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2011/393/article/2/made

    2.—(1) The following spring traps are approved for the purposes of section 50 of the Agriculture (Scotland) Act 1948—

    (a)any spring trap of a type and make specified in column (1) of the Schedule; and

    (b)any trap which corresponds to a trap so specified in construction, in materials, in impact force or momentum, and in all other respects which are relevant to its effect or manner of operation as a trap (an “equivalent trap”).

    (2) The approvals given by paragraph (1) are subject to the conditions specified in the corresponding entry in column (2) of the Schedule as to the animals for which, and the circumstances in which, the spring trap (or equivalent trap) may be used.

    Or, for England …

    Spring Traps Approval (England) Order 2012, S2 Approval of Spring Traps
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/13/article/2

    S2(2) “The approvals (ie government approved traps) … are subject in all cases to the conditions that

    (a) the trap must be used in accordance with the instructions (if any) provided by the manufacturer.”

    The FennTrap Manufacturer’s instructions
    http://www.fenntraps.com/mk6-fenn-spring-trap.html:

    “The trap must be set in a natural or artificial tunnel which is suitable for minimising the chances of injuring or killing non-target species whilst not compromising the capture and killing of target species.
    Always correctly position and protect your spring traps from non-target species.
    … Regularly check traps in accordance with current legislation and risk-assess potential sites to avoid accidents.”

  9. 17 Gordon Milward
    July 4, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Interesting that a delay of nearly a month from offence to investigation is viewed positively. If all bar one of those days were down to the photographer, fine but if more than one day is due to police lethargy, not fine.

  10. 19 Flash
    July 4, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Do we know what state the buzzard was in? Smashed leg, surely?

  11. July 4, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    its good to hear the police are talking about taking action.. but “especially when there is a great deal of positive work going on in the Highlands to tackle wildlife crime”. What work? Surely not PAWS? There must be something more than PAWS to justify that statement?

    Are the police doing random checks to ensure compliance? I’d love to see the stats on that? The number of registered trap users who have been inspected? Sadly…probably not available because its probably not being done. So really they are not doing anything other than responding to complaints when the public report these very hard to detect crimes.

    • 21 Alpha
      July 5, 2017 at 1:28 am

      You don’t have to registered to use spring traps in Scotland, only snares,

      • 22 Phil
        July 7, 2017 at 8:28 pm

        True, but as Lizzybusy has detailed above you do have to comply with a number of legal and regulatory requirements, all of which are broken by this criminal act. I’ll congratulate the police when they arrest someone, until then it’s just another statistic

  12. July 7, 2017 at 6:19 am

    I’m not familiar with the ways of this area or country in regards to illegal bird trappings. What is the reason it’s being done, just for sport? No one would dare illegally trap our bald eagles, they are dwindling in numbers also. Devout bird lovers keep a keen eye on all our birds and wildlife they have rights too it’s their open space. It needs to stop. All illegal trappings and killings of Gods creatures should be left to live their free existence in peace from humans. Thank you. A perillo


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