13
Jun
19

Two red kites poisoned in south Scotland: tests awaited on third

From BBC Scotland today:

Kirkcudbright red kites were poisoned, tests reveal

Tests have confirmed that two out of three red kites found dead in southern Scotland last month were illegally poisoned. The birds were discovered near Kirkcudbright in early May. Post mortem examinations have shown illegal pesticides were used to kill two of the birds with results on the third still awaited.

[Red kite photo from Scottish Raptor Study Group]

Police said an investigation was ongoing and have asked for help from the public with information.

Det Con Gary Story said they were working closely with the Scottish SPCA and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture. “What we have established is that illegal pesticides have been used to kill two of the birds,” he said. The pesticides identified have been banned in the UK for many years but despite this there would still appear to be those who leave out poisoned bait, whether that is to target crows, foxes, raptors or other wildlife.

The use of such poisoned bait is illegal and totally unacceptable and those responsible should understand that their unlawful activities not only serve to have devastating consequences on their intended targets but also on various other forms of wildlife.”

He said they were “absolutely determined” to put a stop to the deaths and were working with landowners and farmers and RSPB Scotland as part of their investigation.

We have also carried out a number of land searches in the vicinity of where the birds have been located with a view to trying to locate poisoned bait at these locations,” he said. “It is anticipated that further land searches will take place in the near future.”

Scottish SPCA inspector Paul Tuchewicz said two dead red kites had been found within 50 yards of one another near Kirkcudbright on 10 May. “One of the birds had a tracker and we were able to check the last known location of the kite, which was a nest,” he said. “The nest was being used by ravens when we found it. After post mortem, the birds were found to have been poisoned with a banned substance.”

The third bird was found within 100 yards of the same location on 15 May.

A red kite trail in Dumfries and Galloway is reckoned to be worth millions of pounds to the local economy.

A study in 2017 said the Galloway Kite Trail had generated more than £8.2m since it was launched in 2003.

ENDS

These poor kites are the latest victims in a spate of illegal poisonings in south Scotland.

Between January and May 2018 four red kites and buzzards were illegally poisoned in Dumfries & Galloway (see here).

There was also the poisoned peregrine found in the Pentlands in May 2018 (here).

And then in December 2018 a buzzard was found poisoned near Mauchline (here).

Now we learn that at least two red kites have been found poisoned in May 2019 and potentially another one, test results pending.

So much for SNH’s claim in August 2018 that they were “reassured that raptor persecution is not an issue” in this region. Idiots.

It’s good to see strong statements of condemnation from Police Scotland and the SSPCA and confirmation that land searches have taken place and more are anticipated.

Let’s see how Scottish Ministers respond to this news. They said nothing about the recent illegal poisoning of birds in the Cairngorms National Park – are they also going to ignore more poisoning crimes in south Scotland?

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8 Responses to “Two red kites poisoned in south Scotland: tests awaited on third”


  1. 1 Peter
    June 13, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    It is time that the Scottish Government was held to account for not addressing raptor issues. They demand huge salaries and all they do is issue meaningless statements and sit on their hands. Government for the people, I don’t think so.

  2. 2 Les Wallace
    June 13, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    And of course how many others have been poisoned, shot and trapped, but weren’t found by conscientious members of the public? The horrendous level of persecution suffered by the red kites at the Black Isle has probably obscured the seriousness of the illegal killing at the other reintroduction sites. I can’t help thinking red kites should be more than a very occasional sighting in Falkirk by now. What a fantastic sight they would be. I wish that two or more red kite translocations were on the cards for the central belt in areas as far away as possible from shooting estates. Of course we need to stomp out the raptor killing, but good if we can at least confound their attempt at suppressing the population in the meantime. This certainly causes a cold feeling in the guts for the young eagles being taken down into what looks like a death zone.

  3. 3 Dougie
    June 13, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    Why cannot a specific location for these incidents be published. What is the point of this nonsensical secrecy. I am sure that the locals will be well aware of the poisonings. Hide the crime – hide the criminals.

  4. June 13, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    As I said at the time when the south Scotland Golden eagle project was set up, it will be interesting to see where the first dead tagged eagles will turn up after reintro……certain death.

    Keep up the pressure !

  5. 5 alancranston
    June 13, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    I was struck by the similarity of language between this year and last (RPUK blog of 2 May 2018 below.) I wouldn’t want to suggest that the reworking of the old press release shows lack of care or that, if it did, it would reflect lack of care about the crime. But it does show a rather depressing sense of the routine. I wonder whqt land searches they actually carried out last time. And what this time. Don’t you need warrants for that sort of thing?

    “Specialist Wildlife Crime Officer PC Alan Steel said police were working closely with SAC Consulting and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) to investigate the cases.

    “What we have established is that illegal pesticides have been used to kill four of the birds,” he said.

    “The pesticides identified have been banned in the UK for many years, but despite this there would still appear to be those who leave out poisoned bait, whether that is to target crows, foxes, raptors or other wildlife.

    The use of such poisoned bait is illegal and totally unacceptable and those responsible should understand that their unlawful activities not only serve to have devastating consequences on their intended targets but also on various other forms of wildlife.”

    He said they were “absolutely determined” to put a stop to the killings and find the people responsible.

    They are working with a number of landowners and farmers and liaising with RSPB Scotland as part of the investigation.

    “We have also carried out a number of land searches in the vicinity of where the birds have been located with a view of trying to locate poisoned bait at these locations,” he added.

    “It is anticipated that further land searches will take place in the near future.”

    A red kite trail in the region is reckoned to be worth millions of pounds to the local economy.

    A study last year said the Galloway Kite Trail had generated more than £8.2m since it was launched in 2003.”

  6. 7 Maggie Thorpe
    June 14, 2019 at 12:10 am

    This is a criminal offence – using banned substances! So why is something not being done to prevent this happening again. I’ve just finished watching ‘spring watch’ birds are struggling in Scotland just to survive in our climate without being intentionally poisoned! Something needs done to seek out the perpetrators..

  7. 8 dave angel
    June 14, 2019 at 9:03 am

    Chances are someone has used an illegal pesticide to kill rats and the kites have been the unintended victims.

    I very much doubt that the kites have been deliberately targeted.

    Which is not to downplay the reckless stupidity and criminality of whoever laid the poison.


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