01
Jul
19

Two more golden eagles go ‘missing’, on the same morning, on the same Scottish grouse moor

Press release from Raptor Persecution UK and Chris Packham (1 July 2019)

TWO GOLDEN EAGLES VANISH IN SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES ON THE SAME MORNING, ON THE SAME SCOTTISH GROUSE MOOR

Two young satellite-tagged golden eagles have disappeared in suspicious circumstances, within hours of each other, on the same Scottish grouse moor.

The two eagles, named Adam and Charlie, were being monitored by TV broadcaster Chris Packham and Dr Ruth Tingay of Raptor Persecution UK as part of a wider scientific study in to the movements of young golden eagles in Scotland.

Adam and Charlie vanished from the Auchnafree Estate in the Strathbraan area of Perthshire on the morning of 18th April 2019. The eagles’ satellite tags, which had been working perfectly well for one and two years respectively, suddenly and inexplicably stopped working (Charlie’s at 06.25hrs and Adam’s at 11.39hrs) just 3.4km apart. Both the tags and the eagles have since been untraceable.

A police-led search of the eagles’ last known locations on the grouse moor has failed to yield any further information about their fates. There is no evidence to suggest the estate’s involvement with these disappearances.

One of the eagles, ‘Adam’, had been named and adopted by Andy Wightman MSP in June 2018. Wightman is the Scottish Parliament’s Species Champion for the golden eagle and had visited the eagle’s nest site last year to watch researchers fit the bird’s satellite tag. He’d named the eagle Adam as a tribute to the late ecologist and mountaineer Dr Adam Watson.

[Andy Wightman MSP with golden eagle Adam at approx 9 weeks old in the Loch Lomond National Park. Photo by Ruth Tingay]

Both Adam and Charlie had hatched at separate nests in the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park in 2018 and 2017 respectively, and their satellite tags had allowed researchers to follow their movements with incredible precision.

The circumstances of their disappearances, in a region previously identified as a raptor persecution hotspot, are virtually identical to the suspicious disappearances of more than 50 satellite-tagged eagles in Scotland, as revealed in a Government-commissioned report published in 2017.

That report found that almost a third of all satellite-tagged golden eagles have disappeared without trace on or next to a driven grouse moor in known raptor persecution hotspots, giving rise to what Environment Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham called “legitimate concerns” that high numbers of golden eagles continue to be killed in some areas of Scotland each year.

In response to that report’s findings in 2017, the Cabinet Secretary ordered a review of grouse moor management practices with a view to introducing a licensing scheme for game-shooting estates. The review is due to be published this summer.

Andy Wightman MSP said: “I am shocked and devastated by the disappearance of Adam, a young golden eagle, whom I spent time with when he was nine weeks old. The cold rage that I felt when I heard of the circumstances of his disappearance has now developed into a determination to discover his fate.

This latest outrage should be a wake-up call to the Scottish Government that for all their reviews, inquiries and reforms, rampant criminality remains in place across many of Scotland’s driven grouse moors”.

Chris Packham said: “We can’t prove that harm has come to Adam and Charlie, nor who might have been responsible, but we can look at the circumstances, look at the science, look at the wider evidence and draw plausible conclusions. The Scottish Government has already acknowledged that illegal raptor persecution is an ongoing problem. How many more golden eagles do we have to lose before that same Government takes effective action?

Anyone with information about the suspicious disappearances of Adam and Charlie is urged to contact Police Scotland on 101, or the RSPB’s confidential raptor crime hotline 0300 999 0101.

ENDS

We’ve produced a video about the suspicious disappearances of these two young eagles:

We’d like to thank the National Wildlife Crime Unit (particularly Charlie Everitt and Lou Hubble), Police Scotland and the RSPB Scotland Investigations Team for their significant joint partnership work on this investigation, from analyses of the satellite tag data right through to an especially thorough land search and subsequent follow up work.

We’ll be posting more on this shortly.

So here we are again. Not just another golden eagle lost, but two, on the same morning in the same area. This news is likely to lead to anger, despair, and a sense of impotency and futility.

What can we do?

We can hold the Scottish Government to account. They’ve been promising to deal with this for 20 years, ever since the Scottish Parliament was formed. It’s been noticeable, in recent months, that every time a confirmed or suspected raptor persecution crime has been reported, the Scottish Government has responded with silence.

Please consider writing to both the Environment Cabinet Environment Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Be polite but be clear – this appalling toll on our wildlife must end.

Roseanna Cunningham: cabsececclr@gov.scot

Nicola Sturgeon: firstminister@gov.scot

UPDATE 5pm: NEW BLOG – “It is long past time for reviews & inquiries: Andy Wightman’s letter to Nicola Sturgeon (here)

UPDATE 2 July: NEW BLOG – ‘Please Nicola, let’s show eagles our love and protection’ says 9 yr old boy (here)

UPDATE 2 July: NEW BLOG – Chris Packham responds to Scottish Gamekeepers Association with the contempt they deserve (here)

UPDATE 5 July: NEW BLOG – Is Scottish Government’s silence an indication of indifference to illegal raptor persecution? (here)


98 Responses to “Two more golden eagles go ‘missing’, on the same morning, on the same Scottish grouse moor”


  1. 1 Jan Hallett
    July 1, 2019 at 7:40 am

    Heartbreaking news. This sick ‘sport’ needs to stop now. These governments really need to get their acts together to protect biodiversity at every level for the sake of our dwindling wildlife and our suffering planet.

  2. 2 Caroline Phillips
    July 1, 2019 at 9:02 am

    It is a DISGRACE to your country that so little is being done with regards to raptor persecution. Again 2 more birds have gone ‘missing’! When will you start to do more to protect them from xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

    • 3 Jess Smith
      July 2, 2019 at 10:34 am

      The experts who time and again release the birds knowing that they are going to be killed are the real criminals, sorry but they know the outcome and yet they free the birds like throwing ice on a fire. Not enough experts are sitting around tables. It is dispicable. You need strong hearts to stop this and a lot of common sense. Tag or no tag, it’s a definate death sentence. If the hare and rabbit was allowed to live on the land as they did in the past, the raptors would have plenty to eat. Countryside balance has been tipped out of kilter for ages, the outcome is total extinction of the birds/animals who looked to it for survival.

      • 4 Eagle
        July 2, 2019 at 12:21 pm

        They have plenty to eat; that isn’t the issue. Illegal persecution, due to greed and selfishness of game shooting interests, is the driver if their declines. Plenty of experts sit around the table, but until there is statutory intervention, how can they possibly stop someone shooting a raptor in a remote location?

        • 5 AllanLinstead
          July 3, 2019 at 11:25 pm

          Who said they were shot. You are trying to blame someone.but you have no evidence whatsoever. I have seen a video of hen harriers eating their own chicks. I have also seen fox’s doing the same. Don’t go spouting off unless you have proof. At one of the sites they had camera’s in the west of Scotland the hen harriers had been nesting for years yet they ended eating their own young.

          • 6 alancranston
            July 4, 2019 at 12:00 am

            Allan, no one here is going to pay any heed to your moronic comment, go waste your poisonous breath somewhere else.

          • 7 Coop
            July 4, 2019 at 8:18 am

            I didn’t know Foxes had chicks!!! Usual, muddled, pig-ignorant drivel from the tweed disease.

            • 8 Iain Gibson,,o
              July 9, 2019 at 3:24 pm

              No evidence whatsoever? Have you never heard of circumstantial evidence, which is strong in this case?

  3. 9 Wendy Mattingley
    July 1, 2019 at 9:03 am

    So absolutely sickening and devastating for two more of our precious young golden eagles to vanish within the dreadful driven grouse moors of Strathbraan. How can the Scottish Government continue to stay silent about all these tragic “disappearances”? What an excellent video showing the real depth of feeling from all concerned.

    Although Andy W said that people are not going to want to visit these areas that would be playing right into the criminals’ hands. For very obvious reasons, they really don’t want people in the hills and wandering onto “their” driven moors.

    • 10 Wild Detection
      July 1, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      …Then how about organising a mass ‘walk on’, to the spots where these two goldies ‘vanished’, to send a clear message to others that we are watching, closer than ever and our voices will be heard, as advocates for every raptor that perishes on these bloody moors throughout Scotland……..We can do a Saturday. Anyone else interested?

      • 11 JohnM
        July 1, 2019 at 4:42 pm

        The walk needs to take place on Aug 11th, and walkers should carry suitable noise-making equipment for causing disturbance to grouse on the ground. Let’s loudly inform the birds that their lives are in danger and they need to panic.

        [Ed: to be clear, we do not support this type of action]

        • 12 TonyB
          July 1, 2019 at 6:08 pm

          Direct action like a mass walk on could be a good way to bring this problem to a wider audience,nothing else seems to be working to stop the problem!!

          • 13 Wild Detection
            July 1, 2019 at 6:22 pm

            A mass walk on to a Scottish grouse moor is perfectly lawful due to the open access laws, but disrupting a shoot would be unlawful…….

            • 14 Les Wallace
              July 1, 2019 at 8:24 pm

              It really needs a bit of homework to establish what would and wouldn’t be lawful. I like the idea of taking kites shaped like eagles and harriers up onto the grouse moors to make a statement while a shoot is on, but if potentially that could disrupt a drive would it be regarded as an unlawful act? It’s also not like foxhunting where the illegality happens on the actual day and you just have to be there to cause a problem because you might witness it. Having a psychological impact to ‘take the shine off the day’ is maybe the only option, and a realistic one if someone’s spent thousands for a day’s ‘fun’ might not take much to darken the atmosphere and make it a wasted day. The question is what? Something that would get press attention and get a message back to our indifferent parliament is good too. Turning up and just staring at people in grouse butts from a public path isn’t going to get us very far. We need this new campaigning tool though because it looks as if they can afford to ignore us year after year without it. Worth serious thought.

            • 15 TonyB
              July 1, 2019 at 9:23 pm

              What if we were on the moor before the shoot!

              • 16 Lizzybusy
                July 1, 2019 at 10:48 pm

                That’s not as easy as it sounds.

                First of all many of the tracks have locked gates at the entrance so, even if you knew where the shoot was, you’d probably have a long walk to the butts and, if they saw a crowd of you, they could easily change to another area.

                You’ll have to have people watching the keepers on the estate in the days before the shoot to try to identify which areas are likely to be shot.

                There will be a range of shoots arranged throughout the day for the clients because shooters can’t take aim while looking into the sun. Also, birds tend to fly in the direction of the wind to carry their scent with them rather than back towards any predators so the beaters will frighten the birds down-wind towards the shooters. The prevailing wind direction will mean that some butts will be more likely candidates than others at different times of the day. However, contingency measures will also be in place in case the wind direction is not what was predicted.

                With those issues in mind, you’ll need to do other homework in advance of the shoot. You’ll need to know which way the butts are facing because the choice of butts will change during the day due to the direction of the sun and wind direction.

                If you trespass on land and interfere with a lawful activity that is a criminal offence.

                So, if you feel it is worth having a go then you might as well do it properly!

      • 17 Iain Gibson
        July 4, 2019 at 9:15 pm

        Allan Linstead (if that’s your real name), that sounds incredibly far fetched, yet you claim to have seen the evidence on video. Has this video been suppressed for some reason? Ive certainly never seen it, but would imagine if the harrier persecutors had a hold of it we’d all have seen it again and again. Please tell us which harrier viewing project filmed this extremely unlikely event.

  4. 18 John Keith
    July 1, 2019 at 9:32 am

    What happened to vicarious liability?

  5. 19 Jonathan Wallace
    July 1, 2019 at 9:45 am

    The fact that a large number of satellite-tagged eagles have disappeared in unexplained circumstances from the same area of Scotland should not lead us to jump to conclusions about that area being a wildlife crime hot-spot. I put it to you that there are a number of perfectly innocent explanations for the so-called ‘disappearance’ of the eagles:

    They may have switched contracts and moved over to a different mobile phone supplier.

    They may have thrown off all the trappings of their former lives and started a new life as vegans.

    Having rejected the bipedal mammals resident in the area, aliens may have beamed the eagles up to their space-ship to investigate as a potential example of intelligent life on Planet Earth.

    Er… that’s it.

    • 20 Me
      July 1, 2019 at 12:05 pm

      Sorry I find your ” sarcasm ” sickening “

    • 23 Nick Rossi
      July 1, 2019 at 12:24 pm

      May it’s wankers like u killing them. Only saying.

    • 25 Wild Detection
      July 1, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      As the majority of us gasp is despair and disbelief from this devastating news, Jonathan Wallace’s response (and I’m guessing he is an adult) illustrates here how there are, as incredible as it may seem to the decent majority of us, people who care less for such incidents as we have here, as huge as these two cases are. They will not only care less, but take the opportunity to mock those who show compassion and concern for the loss of these great eagles. Soon we will no doubt hear from others of a similar nature, who will attempt to discredit those satellite tag findings and come up with some nonsense about how these two birds vanished from the face of this earth. They will also no doubt try to play victim yet again and accuse others of attacking their ‘industry’ without proof, even though the proof is so much in their faces and has been for a very long time.

      [Ed: Wild Detection – Jonathan Wallace can speak for himself, of course, but he’s a long-time commentator on this blog and it seems likely his comment was simply a parody – his way of addressing the years of frustration of seeing these incidents and crimes reported time and time again without effective Government action]

    • 27 Simon Tucker
      July 1, 2019 at 4:07 pm

      I read this and automatically knew it was parody: it reads as parody. Yes, it is a serious subject, but it is typically British to make poor taste jokes about terrible events even, when little time has elapsed.

      What is happening to our raptors is sickening and totally avoidable – but turning on someone who is pointing out the stupidity of the claims of the gamekeepers and landowners by reducing it to absurdity is just a bit too self-righteous for comfort. (I was going to use the Latin phrase but didn’t want to appear too elitist in case it upsets someone.)

      • 28 Les Wallace
        July 1, 2019 at 5:32 pm

        I thought Jonathon’s remark was spot on and I don’t understand why anyone didn’t realise it was parody either. The whole subject is crying out for top rank satirists to get involved and absolutely rip the piss out of the SGA and ilk. What would someone like Kevin Bridges or Frankie Boyle make of this? While the world’s largest arts festival is taking place in Edinburgh driven grouse shooting kicks off on our hills, in some years a few miles away on the Pentlands. To my knowledge the incredible, awful, ludicrous history and current ramifications of driven grouse shooting have never, ever been represented in any event within the Edinburgh Festival. I think that’s a bloody terrible omission, but a wonderful new opportunity to spread the message.

        • 29 Jonathan Wallace
          July 1, 2019 at 6:46 pm

          Thank you Simon and Les. I am glad to see that some people have sufficient sense of irony to understand that my comment was intended satirically. I don’t suggest it was the wittiest remark ever made but for those people above who seem to only be capable of understanding things in the most literal terms, yes I think it is effing obvious that birds are being killed illegally on grouse moors and I utterly condemn it. Despite the mountains of evidence that for years have made it obvious that grouse moors are lethal for eagles and hen harriers, you are quite right ‘Wild Detection’ that representatives of the shooting industry have and continue to explain away the facts with far-fetched excuses and that is what I was seeking to parody.

          • 30 Me
            July 1, 2019 at 8:00 pm

            Please accept my apologises for my blind ignorance regarding your comment Jonathan. I obviously don’t know your mind set as well as Simon and Les. I am appalled and sickened of what has happened to the Eagles.Please don’t demean me for my initial response as I don’t appear to have the level of I.Q. of Simon and Les.I would like to think am in the same boat as yourselves and not being flung overboard because I was unable to identify the difference between parody and a ” two fingered ” wave.I won’t the same outcome as you with regards to the shooting industry and the killing of our Raptors.

            • 31 Les Wallace
              July 1, 2019 at 8:49 pm

              The Daily Express once did an April’s Fool about a proposed retail development in the Lake District National Park that had fired up conservationists. It would actually swallow up the greenbelt between and link up the villages of Wellington and Boot. I fell for it. I suspect your IQ is higher than mine.

            • 32 Jonathan Wallace
              July 2, 2019 at 9:33 am

              Dear Me. Apologies accepted. I don’t think I flung you overboard or accused you of blind ignorance and I recognise that you are, like me, simply appalled at the arrogant and destructive manner in which a tiny group of entitled people continue to kill wild birds that should be enjoying the highest level of legal protection that we have. My original comment was intended to be an expression of my exasperation at how willingly the powers that be seem to accept the continual muddying of the waters by apologists for driven grouse shooting who seek to distract from the evidence that the grouse moors are a death zone for birds of prey and to discredit the many experts who have assembled and analysed this evidence to produce what should be an overwhelming case. The important thing is that, as you say, we are both on the same side and want the same outcome. One small thing we can both do to try to bring this about is to write in the clearest possible terms to Nicola Sturgeon to highlight how unacceptable this ongoing slaughter of Scotland’s eagles, hen harriers and other birds of prey is and how much it damages the international reputation of Scotland as a modern environmentally responsible nation.

  6. 33 Mike
    July 1, 2019 at 10:35 am

    I’m curious, why is it the birds you handle and tag seem to go missing? Is it not some kind of hindrance to the birds having a tag fitted? Surely disturbing the nest to fit these devices is quite dangerous? Are the people doing the fitting correctly trained etc. I see awesome photos of folk with these majestic birds. Surely posing for a photo with these birds isn’t in the birds best interests or welfare? I’m all for pursuing any wrong doing, but I have concerns over what’s being done initially to tag them and the qualifications of those people doing the tagging.

    • 34 Simon Tucker
      July 1, 2019 at 4:27 pm

      Sorry but if you are really that ignorant on the subject you would do better to find out about it rather than parading your ignorance for everybody to see. Let me guess: you think the earth is flat and that MMR causes autism?

    • 35 Iain Gibson
      July 1, 2019 at 4:49 pm

      Sorry Mike, I don’t mean to insult you, but it is naive not to know the answer to your first question. The simple point is that birds wearing tracking devices are being closely tracked; those without rely on chance findings. There is no evidence that the tracking devices harm the birds, but the information they provide gives us a fuller understanding of the eagles’ movements and fate. Please be assured that the people fitting the trackers have been well-trained, and are working in the interests of individual birds and the species conservation.

    • 36 Reece Fowler
      July 1, 2019 at 6:44 pm

      Satellite tagging is extremely highly regulated, only a handful of people in the country are qualified to do it and they’ll be experienced professionals who have been doing bird survey work for many years. Every tagged bird has to be justified on scientific grounds as well, you can’t just go and do it even if you do have the necessary licences for visiting nests. These tags are widely used throughout the world and are perfectly safe as long as they are fitted correctly and the correct size tag is used for the species.

      In fact, it’s better regulated by several orders of magnitude than many aspects of grouse moor management, like predator control control and the use of various traps.

    • 37 Satellite tag
      July 2, 2019 at 12:26 pm

      You’re not really concerned, though, are you? That was just a poor attempt to deflect away from the issue of illegal persecution. You must try harder next time and make it less obvious.

  7. 38 sog
    July 1, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Ruth, in case you haven’t seen this…

    https://www.thenational.scot/news/17739673.gamekeepers-call-for-monitors-to-oversee-birds-satellite-tags/

    … they would say that, wouldn’t they?

  8. 39 Paul V Irving
    July 1, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Abducted by aliens Would seem to be the most likely option that did not involve ” the usual suspects and suspected actions” One is bad enough but two on the same moor on the same day. hells teeth that cannot be coincidence, when are the Scottish government going to wake up, smell the coffee and actually do something about the despicable wildlife criminals in our midst. Twenty years of promises and we are still waiting even for those of us with the patience of Jobe waiting is wearing pretty damned thin.

  9. 40 George M
    July 1, 2019 at 10:49 am

    One must wonder why the Strathbaan area was not mentioned in the BBC report on these disappearances. The fact that so much controversy has centred on the area since the poorly thought out raven cull took place prior to being suspended, seem pertinent.
    Is this truly an oversight … which in itself is unusual for news vendors … or simply an attempt to prevent those not intimately briefed on the area involved from joining the dots?
    What an intensification of response there might have been if this fact had been included in the BBC new page. I feel it is fair comment to convey that this incident has occurred right in the middle of an area where tensions and resentments in regards to our honorary raptor, the raven, are high. Indeed, under normal circumstances, this might even be one of the main focus of the article.

  10. 41 Nicholas Brown
    July 1, 2019 at 10:55 am

    What research is being done into the long term effects of fitting these trackers to birds, specifically with regards to impact upon body weight, muscle mass, body fat, and ultimately diet when compared to a bird without a tracker over the same period ?
    These things must affect the bird’s acceleration and ability to gain altitude, which will definitely adversely affect it’s hunting success.
    While it’s very convenient to just say it’s grouse moors killing large raptors, this seems at odds with all the latest research showing the breeding success is significantly higher for all birds in these areas, even compared to RSPB reserves, which one might imagine should be leading the way given their supposed expertise and considerable financial backing.

    • 42 J
      July 2, 2019 at 12:30 pm

      The latest research? There hasn’t been a single nesting hen harrier on private estates in England for years. Please, educate yourself before trotting out embarrassing industry propaganda. Satellite tag fitting is highly regulated; you are absolutely clueless about the subject matter.

  11. 43 Paul
    July 1, 2019 at 10:59 am

    It’s becoming obvious that tagging is the problem, about this practice was brought to an end.

    • 44 Les Wallace
      July 1, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      Yeah it’s a problem for wildlife criminals.

    • 45 Paul V Irving
      July 1, 2019 at 12:46 pm

      As somebody who has in the past fitted satellite tags to birds( GL Geese) one thing is quite clear in these two and all other cases, it is not a tag fitting problem. Were that the case these young eagles and many others, including young Hen Harriers, Ospreys, WT Eagles etc would have behaved in ways that indicated a problem long before they were one and two years old, this argument is simply not credible. A tag MUST weigh no more than 2% of the birds weight, as well as the fitter being trained to fit each harness individually. Then we get the argument only birds with tags disappear? Actually that cannot be true, tagged birds are just samples of the wider population and any birds in that wider population that disappear, not being monitored of course we would be unaware of their disappearances. One would however expect a similar portion of the wider population as that of the tagged population to ” disappear” That’s basic science!!!!
      The SGA goons keep calling for independent tag monitoring as if somehow what is happening is somehow not entirely above board, I’ll be polite here and say they are mistaken. Of course what they are trying to do is to cast doubt where none should exist to cover the tracks of potential criminality within their own ranks, to be blunt it is HOGWASH!
      Alex et al you are just behaving like apologists for the widespread endemic criminality with the shooting cabal, even those sympathetic to your view must know this1

      • 46 Michael Newman
        July 2, 2019 at 2:20 pm

        The SGA and others are right to call for public access to tag data. Today’s media slurge about the disappearing Golden Eagles illustrats why perfectly. The news release was pure supposition and innuendo.The only facts seem to be that two tags stopped working. We don’t know what type of tag they were, how often they “phoned home” , where they were located when they last transmitted, when they last transmitted etc. etc.. If the raw data was available everyone would be able to see what was going on. And if there was irrefutable evidence of wildlife crime occurring there could be a prosecution and organisations like the NGO would have to act. But in the case of these two goldies there is NO evidence of wrong doing. Its like Fred all over again.

        • 47 J
          July 2, 2019 at 7:58 pm

          Only someone with severe bias, and an ignorance of the context of their disappearance, could make such a ridiculous claim. Have you ever heard of balance of probability, or are you that intent on denying the obvious that all semblance of rational thought has left you? Last week, it was a ‘set up’, this week it’s simply obstinate denial. The first thing police do is check the satellite tag data; you make out like there’s some inside ‘conspiracy’ going on, which makes you sound even more ridiculous.

          • 48 Michael Newman
            July 4, 2019 at 11:41 am

            I have heard of balance of probability. So have the criminal courts and they require proof beyond reasonable doubt. There is a reason for that. The balance of probability doesn’t cut it. And yes I am biased. I want those guilty of illegal raptor persecution to be brought to book and want to see actual, admissible evidence to that end. Innuendo and supposition won’t do it.

    • 49 Wild Detection
      July 1, 2019 at 1:19 pm

      …You wish Paul. Why is that, are the tags beginning to tell the truth about what is really going on at those moors?

    • 50 Paul Fisher
      July 1, 2019 at 5:11 pm

      There is no doubt that tagging is a problem. The tag automatically increases in weight thirtyfold as the bird flies over a grouse moor. After bringing the bird down, it then dissolves the bird leaving no trace. Further technological advancements now allow these tags to completely disappear after ridding the world of one more problem bird.
      How this can only happen over grouse moors is of course a closely guarded secret.

    • 51 Simon Tucker
      July 1, 2019 at 5:48 pm

      Has anyone told the BTO’s cuckoos? Funny how many of them manage to make the trek to and from the Congo every year with their tags intact and functioning yet Golden Eagles, Hen Harriers etc. can only fly a few miles before the tags bring them down. Of course, they are no threat to grouse. There is some serious deflecting by you going on here: one can only suspect what your motives are. Of course the criminals want rid of tags: it is virtually the only way of identifying that a crime has been committed. So, if you are in favour of removing tags that, presumably, means that you are one of those who don’t want the truth about the criminality of the shooting industry to come out. Do you have the integrity to declare your interests and allegiances? I bet you don’t.

  12. 52 Dougie
    July 1, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Two sat-tagged eagles ………. the tags stopped working just 4 hours apart on 18th April, but nothing gets said for the next 73 days !! How can people be expected to help when they are kept in the dark like this.
    Raptor crime has been plagued by the failure to provide timeous public notification of incidents.
    If there is some secret reason for delay in order to help explain disappearances/apprehend criminals then it most certainly is a spectacular long term failure.

  13. 53 Les Wallace
    July 1, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Emails sent. Andy hit the nail right on the head when he spoke about access to and influence of the highest levels of government as being the reason this keeps going on and on. No other explanation for the continued inaction regarding blatant criminality year after year after year. It makes the rest of us outside the privileged clique second class citizens in our own country. I hope this isn’t a digression or irrelevant, but I’ve pasted in an email I sent to MSPs on the petition committee regarding their response to one about substantially reducing flood risk to many homes and businesses by implementing naturalistic flood prevention schemes nationally. A key element is the use of beavers principally, but not solely in the more upland areas. When discussing the petition the response of the committee was to go to SLE, NFUS and ‘Fisheries Management’ for more evidence, not those involved in work with beavers specifically or for that matter anyone who’s been affected by flooding as opposed to supposed damage by beavers. This is another facet of the same issue Andy spoke about as is the number of people being hurt and killed on the road in collisions with our bloated red deer population thanks to the ‘sporting’ estates. There’s major scope in Scotland to significantly reduce millions of pounds worth of flood damage to tens of thousands of businesses and homes, and the human misery that goes with it that’s being quietly ignored and that might just possibly have something to do with nervous vested interests. I hope Revive can really pick up and run with this issue, I don’t think the people of Perth for one would be happy that keeping their town dry is compromised so grouse moors don’t have to have any trees and beavers. The first two links to further information I can’t recommend highly enough – the video is the most compelling one I’ve seen on any topic, and the article by Derek Gow will strike a chord with anyone disgusted with what’s happening to our wildlife. I honestly don’t think this is off topic , it’s about hitting the same brick wall.

    Dear Petitions Committee,

    I am Les Wallace and you discussed my petition 1720 – Natural Flood Alleviation Strategy for Scotland on Thursday the 20th of June. I was somewhat alarmed that although SEPA, SNH and the James Hutton Institute were going to be contacted to provide further evidence so were NFU Scotland, Scottish Land and Estates and ‘fisheries management’. The petition was intended to take this issue into the broader public who were affected – namely those whose homes and businesses have been flooded when this might have been avoided had the strategy suggested by the petition been in place. I therefore feel that it was extremely poor there was no call for evidence from those outside government with an interest and experience in natural flood alleviation work, especially the role of beavers in this.

    I would like to suggest that you contact Paul and Louise Ramsay of Bamff Estate, who have had an enclosed beaver colony on their land for many years, and other members of the Scottish Wild Beaver Group and they in turn would be able to identify relevant speakers on this topic. I myself can name several Mr Derek Gow, the Treesponsibility Group (they are mentioned in the petition), those involved in the four trials in England to determine the effects have on alleviating flooding (and drought conditions, improving water quality and aiding conservation), and similar schemes not using beavers at the present time which include Belford Northumbria where replica ‘beaver’ dams are used to slow the flow – also the case with Hardcastle Crags an NT property.

    The fact that so many references have to be made to schemes outside of Scotland when with our geography we could benefit more than most from this approach is intensely frustrating and was the motivation for the petition in the first instance. The petitions committee will not have broken that cycle of inaction if it only refers to non governmental bodies which have taken an antipathetic stance to the reintroduction of beavers from the very beginning. The ‘damage’ supposedly due to beaver activity – real, imagined or exaggerated – even if it can’t be mitigated (and there has been little evidence of interest in this) must be measured against the immense damage caused by the flooding they can reduce. I suggest the committee also ask in for evidence those who’ve lost their homes to floods and ask them at a time when we throw away a third of our food if preventing the corner of a tattie field from getting soggy is more important than homes, villages and towns from going underwater. I wonder if the representatives from NFU Scotland, Scottish Land and Estates and ‘fisheries ‘management’ will have had that experience?

    I have added in a few references below that I believe all committee members need to examine to obtain as balanced and objective look at this issue as possible. This video examines why bringing back farming from the river edge reduces flooding and water pollution – this in itself would greatly reduce possible conflict with beavers – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00tcTY_UEk4

    This article by Mr Derek Gow a farmer himself is a powerful piece regarding the current, somewhat ludicrous situation in Scotland re the beaver – https://markavery.info/2019/06/03/guest-blog-i-nmust-tell-yu-something-of-the-beaver-by-derek-gow/

    Given that we are also suffering from an acute problem with vast uninterrupted moorland, tree planting and beaver translocations in the uplands as well as reducing downstream flooding would create very effective firebreaks – damp woodland and dammed water don’t burn readily!! https://thekidshouldseethis.com/post/beaver-dams-wildfire

    I hope that the petitions committee has found this email constructive.

    Regards Les Wallace

  14. 54 Janet Castro
    July 1, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Can we not recruit an army of volunteers on the ground? Another thought is to take the issue into schools in these black spots?

  15. 55 Sue Bodkin
    July 1, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    How devestating . Let’s hope more information comes to light . Eagles are so amazing.x

  16. 56 Alan Cranston
    July 1, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Do you have a direct email for Fiona Hyslop, minister for tourism? The government website gives only a generic email address for each minister.

    [Ed: Hi Alan, no, sorry, but a reader may have one….]

    • 57 Jonathan Wallace
      July 1, 2019 at 6:57 pm

      The Scottish Cabinet web-page gives the following as the e-mail contact address for her scottish.ministers@gov.scot but that is obviously a generic address that will not go directly to her. Her email address as an MSP is Fiona.Hyslop.msp@parliament.scot. You could try sending your message to both addresses.

      • 58 Alan Cranston
        July 1, 2019 at 9:58 pm

        Thanks. In the event I wanted to include the Justice and Rural Economy ministers as well as Environment and Tourism, so I sent my email to the generic address (as well as the known ones) and asked that it be directed to each of them as well as the First Minister. I also copied it to my constituency MSP because he is consciencious in forwarding constituents’ letters to Ministers and of course has a better chance of getting an individual response. As of course does Andy with his excellent letter.

  17. 59 David Paterson
    July 1, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    Perhaps large scale opposition to grouse shooting might make the persecuters think twice. Hit them in the pocket. Money is the root of the problem.

  18. 60 Scm
    July 1, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    An WT eagle went missing at almost the exact same time of year, a year previous (give or take a week) in the same area (probably around a couple of km away but different estate), which was spotted (this may not be common knowledge) shortly after the highly publicised search.
    Definitely needs to be an independent body set up to tag, monitor and publish data when an incident like this happens, with a degree of probability.

    [Ed: the first part of your comment has been deleted as it discusses detail which could compromise the police investigation].

    • 61 Les Wallace
      July 1, 2019 at 10:04 pm

      Isn’t it funny how this keeps happening? When news of Fred’s last signals from the North Sea were made public it turns out someone had actually seen him flying out to sea. What incredible eyesight the keepers and their friends have!!!

    • 64 Scm
      July 1, 2019 at 10:09 pm

      It’s only discussing information that you’ve put in your post which is now in the public domain – auchnafree and times.

      [Ed: No, it is not discussing information that’s already in our post. Give it up, please, or you’ll be banned]

  19. 67 Scm
    July 1, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    Admin, why is my comment deleted?

    [Ed: Eh?]

  20. 68 Lizzybusy
    July 1, 2019 at 10:19 pm

    Is this a feasible event?

    How about a family event starting with a march up to the top of Arthur’s Hill overlooking Parliament and the Pentland Hills where Fred the Golden Eagle disappeared last year. People could fly kites with images of raptors on the Hill or simply fly standard red coloured kites to represent Red Kites. That could look quite spectacular and potentially send a powerful visual message. We want REAL red kites not toy ones! There could be speakers and then perhaps the crowd could march actually to the Parliament Buildings to demand action.

  21. 69 dave angel
    July 2, 2019 at 8:50 am

    From today’s Herald

    ‘Alix Whitaker, a spokesman for the estate, appealed for anyone with information to contact the police.

    He said: “We were absolutely shocked to learn that these two eagles were missing. They have been around the estate for some time now and we were delighted to have them.
    “We have been told by the police that neither the estate nor its staff were involved in their apparent disappearance. No-one knows what has happened to these birds.”

    https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17742167.chris-packham-targets-grouse-moors-after-eagles-vanish/

    ******

    It seems odd that at this early stage in the investigation the police can

    1. be so certain about who was not involved in the ‘apparent disappearance’ and

    2. be so willing to share their intelligence with a member of the public.

    Maybe the Herald have got it wrong (they seem to have got the gender of the spokesperson wrong, so who knows). Perhaps the spokesperson has misunderstood what the police have said.

    Whatever the reason the Police must be asked to clarify exactly what they have said, and to whom.

  22. 70 Alauda
    July 2, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    I can see comment has been made by another contributor, but can’t see that the position has been clarified, so I’ll ask again for my own benefit.

    Was there a reason for the delay in going public with this? I know that RP has been highly critical of others in the past in similar circumstances where there has been a delay in appealing for information. I would have thought that making the public aware back in April could have assisted the investigation.

  23. 71 Alan Busson
    July 2, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    Email sent to The first minister. So pleased that children are writing to share their disgust. Let’s hope Adam and Charlie’s lives are not in vain. We have to keep up the pressure. Thank you RPUK.

  24. 72 Lynn Alcock
    July 3, 2019 at 7:49 am

    I love going to Scotland for the scenery and unique atmosphere of the Highlands especially the wonderful wildlife. You seem a decent enough bird! Protect yours.

    • 73 Michael Newman
      July 4, 2019 at 5:22 pm

      I have just noticed that the managed moor near Strathbraan has a installation of 14 or so wind turbines in the middle of it. So there is a plausible explanation of the loss of tracker signal right there. And no game keeper or shooting interest involved.

      • 74 alancranston
        July 4, 2019 at 5:40 pm

        Clever these wind turbines, killing the birds, marching the bodies across the moor to the track turning circle, destroying the sat tags, vanishing both the birds and the tags without even summoning a vehicle, then back to their proper places without anyone even noticing they’d gone. I should look out, they’ll be after you next.

        • 75 Michael Newman
          July 5, 2019 at 11:47 am

          alancraston. I have no idea what you are on about. Just to be clear: I am suggesting that the non-function of the tracker units could conceivably be as a result of collison with turbine blades or as a result of the blades vortices. The evidence supports that idea just as well as it supports the idea of illegal interference. Oh and it has been pointed out to me that there are more turbines in the area than I thought. I can count about 90 or so.

        • 77 Paul
          July 5, 2019 at 3:41 pm

          Foxes will become very wise to any free meals at the wind turbines, probably eat smaller birds on site, drag larger off, Will the transmitter work underground, in a foxes den? No didn’t think so.

          • 78 alancranston
            July 5, 2019 at 3:57 pm

            Thanks for making me laugh Paul, I was trying to be funny with my little story of the turbine folk, but I bow to your greater talent, I cannot compete with your tale of day-hunting, eagle-eating long-distance haulier foxes with magic vanishing dens by vehicle turning circles.

  25. 79 Paul
    July 5, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    A recent Scientific Study confirms an increase of 75% in raptor deaths around areas of wind farms, these two eagles are in an area with over 60 wind turbines. Unless there’s actual evidence to suggest someone from the Estate is responsible then these accusations are purely speculative, as the Estate deny any wrong doing AND if there is evidence then please work with the Estate to end the practices of rouge people. However if there is no evidence then these beautiful birds are likely dying due to the wind turbines, and trying to blame grouse shooting fits well with an anti shooting narrative, but doesn’t actually help the raptors, turning a blind eye to the truth.

    • July 5, 2019 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Paul,

      We’re very interested in your claim: “A recent scientific study confirms an increase of 75% in raptor deaths around areas of wind farms….”

      Please could you provide the full citation of this study because it sounds fascinating (= highly improbable).

      At risk of repeating ourselves, THERE IS NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER to suggest eagles Adam and Charlie were killed by wind turbines. Their last known tag transmissions were nowhere near a wind farm.

      • 81 Paul
        July 5, 2019 at 2:04 pm

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/11/06/study-wind-farms-kill-off-75-of-buzzards-hawks-and-kites-that-live-nearby/
        I’m sure googling those key words contained within this article will find you the report.

        How is it possible for the Eagles to be ‘no where near a wind farm’ there is a wind farm is quite central to Auchnafree Estate (North east of Estate house by about 3/4 km, smack bang in middle of managed Moreland) and a much larger one to the north east, by may be 3/4 km, couple of minutes flying time at best.

        As I said earlier, approach the Estate with evidence so they they can root out rouge people would be the correct way forward, anything less shows it’s an anti shooting agenda by people using the eagles and who intend to gain some stupid personal gratification from the loss of those eagles.

        • July 5, 2019 at 2:57 pm

          Thanks for that, Paul. You’ve just demonstrated why you should never accept at face value something you read on the internet.

          A site-specific ‘study’ that took place in the Western Ghats in India cannot possibly be extrapolated to apply to the UK, even though the website article claims it can be.

          And without actually reading the paper and understanding the methods and constraints, you certainly shouldn’t be accepting the reported findings as factual.

          It reminds us of that episode a few years ago where the Scottish Countryside Alliance claimed that ‘ a scientific study had shown that satellite tags only had 50% reliability’. On further scrutiny of this statement, it turns out the Countryside Alliance had taken the findings of an obscure study on satellite-tagged Olive Ridley Turtles in Asia, whose tags were failing due to a faulty salt-water switch, and applied those findings to the study of satellite tagged golden eagles in Scotland. It was either incredibly ignorant, or cynically devious of the Countryside Alliance to do so.

          https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/obscure-sea-turtle-tracking-data-from-india-used-to-explain-disappearing-eagles-in-monadhliaths/

          To summarise, the issue of ‘disappearing’ satellite-tagged golden eagles in Scotland and the (non)-influence of wind farms has been analysed in detail in this report. We suggest you read it:

          https://raptorpersecutionscotland.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/analyses-of-the-fates-of-satellite-tracked-golden-eagles-in-scotland.pdf

          • 83 Paul
            July 5, 2019 at 3:37 pm

            The study doesn’t suit your interests because it was based in India, are the Golden Eagles that are mentioned significantly different to those in the UK? Does the wind effect the turbine differently in India? No, the study does reflect how wind turbines the World over have an effect on birds, especially BOP, this has been well documented in the UK too.

            So what’s left…your one sided opinion. You and people like you lack the ability to see further than your hatred to a group of people, the big looser will always be the BOP in whom’s demise you revel, more ammunition for your crusade.

            If you genuinely cannot approach the Estate and work with them to figure out what’s going on then your group of people are no better, and quite possibly worse, than the rouge gamekeeper of old.

            • July 5, 2019 at 3:50 pm

              Hi Paul,

              Sorry, but you absolutely cannot apply the research done in India to the UK.

              There will be different species, different habitats, different conditions etc etc. It’s not even possible to extrapolate an ecological impact survey from one UK wind farm to another, precisely because the micro-conditions can be so very different. Why do you think the authorities insist on site-specific impact assessments each and every time?

              I take it you haven’t yet read the peer-reviewed scientific report, commissioned by the Scottish Government, on the non-impact of wind turbines on the disappearance of young sat-tagged eagles in Scotland?

              Nobody is saying that wind turbines couldn’t possibly have an impact – of course they can, and do, at many sites around the world. But there are also many other sites that do not have an impact. Just because eagles are killed at a wind farm in California doesn’t mean they’ll be killed at a wind farm in Scotland.

              Judging by the rest of your comment it seems pretty futile to continue to converse. You clearly don’t accept the science and you hate the fact that the suspicious disappearances of golden eagles on grouse moors in Scotland are getting so much media attention.

              I’ll leave you to your obfuscation and denial.

              • 85 Paul
                July 5, 2019 at 4:49 pm

                “You clearly don’t accept the science and you hate the fact that the suspicious disappearances of golden eagles on grouse moors in Scotland are getting so much media attention.

                I’ll leave you to your obfuscation and denial.“

                Media attention surrounding this matter does not bother me one bit, I’m absolutely sure that most people will be as level headed as myself and see what is truly going on here, any real data with real substance would have been seized by the police for a criminal investigation, all you can do it try to throw mud, mud is all you have!
                The accusations of obfuscation and denial
                would be more suited to yourselves, not releasing data to prove your claims, unwilling to work with the landowner.
                Quite pathetic really. Proves what I’ve said all along, you don’t care for the Eagles.

  26. 89 Sandra Hall
    August 8, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    We strangely have 2 eagle’s flying around our area. Ashby, moriaand measham in the Leicester area. We are not the only ones to have seen them.


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