27
Jul
20

Poisoned sea eagle found on grouse moor in Cairngorms National Park: RSPB response

Further to today’s news that a young white-tailed eagle has been found illegally poisoned on a grouse moor in the Cairngorms National Park (see here), the RSPB has responded.

Head of Investigations Ian Thomson has written a blog – see here – where he talks about the long history of raptor persecution on grouse moors in this part of the National Park as well as providing a few more details of this young eagle’s life before he was killed.

The RSPB has also published a video:

There’s still much more to say about this latest crime….more soon.

In the meantime, if you’re as infuriated as we are, please consider emailing the First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon) and her Environment Cabinet Secretary (Roseanna Cunningham) to express your strength of feeling that this filthy criminality has been allowed to continue for far too long. The Scottish Government has known about it for years, they know where it goes on and know why it goes on, and yet still, here we are again.

You don’t need to be resident in Scotland to email these politicians. In fact, the more correspondence from outside of Scotland, all the better to demonstrate the extent of the country’s embarrassing reputation. Please be polite.

To email Nicola Sturgeon, please use this address: firstminister@gov.scot

To email Roseanna Cunningham, please use this address: CabSecECCLR@gov.scot

Thank you


49 Responses to “Poisoned sea eagle found on grouse moor in Cairngorms National Park: RSPB response”


  1. 1 Diane
    July 27, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    I’ve emailed BOTH ! I had previously emailed Scottish Government, got the ” we have looked at the Werrity review,if we need to impose licencing sooner than the suggested time scale we will ” blah blah, the long awaited Werritty Review which was a waste of time and money,it was bias from the word go ! We need to organise some kind of mass gathering,we NEED Scottish Government to listen to the people on this, the majority are rightly against blood sports Scotland CAN lead the way !! it needs to be done NOW !!

    • 2 Paul Fisher
      July 27, 2020 at 6:27 pm

      Diane, correct. Peaceful, direct action is now way overdue. We would certainly attend, albeit from Lincolnshire. Not only do the SG not care about opinions, they are no longer interested in the money that is bought into the country every year through wildlife tourism. Sadly, they are no better than our useless bunch.

  2. 5 Tom W
    July 27, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Done. So, so depressing.

  3. 6 Stephen Lewis
    July 27, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    I admire Ian (and his co-workers) greatly and I wholeheartedly agree that – as he says – “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”. I also congratulate the RSPB on getting a video/blog response out so quickly but, depressingly, they are STILL calling for licensing of DGS. WTF? It beggars belief. If the RSPB put its muscle (and money) behind a campaign for a DGS ban then the campaign would be super-charged overnight. Instead the RSPB are being gutless and playing into the criminals’ hands. The news of the poisoned eagle is bad enough but the RSPB’s response is almost as depressing.

    I call on RSPB members to remonstrate with the RSPB that calling for licensing due to criminality is insane and couple that with a threat to withdraw their membership. As Ian says: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

    • 7 MICHAEL GILLETT
      July 28, 2020 at 11:11 am

      I don’t disagree with you that a DGS ban would be the ideal solution. However, the RSPB has to decide whether to go for a more likely or faster successful outcome (licensing) which should reduce persecution or pursue a lengthy battle for a more difficult-to-achieve ban …. while in the meantime persecution would continue at current levels.

      All I’m saying is there’s a fine judgement call here. And while you may disagree with the RSPB’s position, I think calling for members to resign is unhelpful.

      • 8 Spaghnum Morose
        July 28, 2020 at 6:32 pm

        One of the fundamental problems of the long-running battle between bird conservationists and grouse interests is simply that the “birders” are on the whole mild, reasonable, and progressive minded souls who are accustomed to thinking and talking patiently through problems.
        The Owners of grouse moors and their Agents are not. They are purely of the might-is-right attitude, brutally hard-nosed and among the most selfish people on the planet (and I know this because I have spent time amongst them, and many loyal keepers will testify to this too). At some point a mass-membership conservation organisation must emerge which ditches any pretence at being “reasonable” because this is only seen by the opposition as weakness to be exploited. There needs to be a pro-active boots-on-the-ground partnering organisation formed i.e. BTO does science, RSPB does large scale conservation, Wild Justice does the legal system, organisation “X” does muscular protection and prevention out in the field.

        • 9 Keith Dancey
          July 28, 2020 at 8:50 pm

          “organisation “X” does muscular protection and prevention out in the field.”

          Do you mean, out on the moors, in all weathers? Unrealistic.

          • 10 Spaghnum Morose
            July 28, 2020 at 10:24 pm

            Hi Keith. Well, if the answer to the question “do we want more and more hard evidence of the slaughter that we know is happening?” is “yes” – then we need to help the folk who have the dedication and skills to get good evidence, like the recent Goshawk cage trap footage (and a huge well done to the guys who got that). Why shouldn’t the wider conservation community organise to directly help them out with camera equipment, clothing and petrol money and maybe run training on using those hidden cameras. Maybe pay for accomodation if they are asked to travel at short notice to say, set up a dozen cameras after a tip-off. And also pay for some equipment, petrol money and quality cameras for the dedicated volunteers like NERF and FoRK who are out their doing counts, checking territories for hours on end (re. the poor guy recently who witnessed a Harrier blasted and had neither the camera nor skills to record it).

            The weather unrealistic – you are winding me up aren’t you? If we want more evidence there has to be eyes and cameras in locations whenever the dirty deeds are being done…most of it in bad weather and awkward times of day. I’m not expecting this will appeal to bored students who want a bit of easy volunteer work for their CV, or gentle birders who used to toilets and a cafe 50yds from an RSPB hide.

            There are plenty of weather-hardy folk out there already slogging away from this angle, and who have done so for years at their own cost. I think that they, along with RSPB Investigations, Wild Justice and tagging projects are our strongest weapons…so let’s give them some serious funding and grow it. The Owners have their private armies of mercenaries with guns, we need to help our vigilantes with cameras.

      • 12 Stephen Lewis
        July 28, 2020 at 7:48 pm

        Michael, licensing will enshrine/legitimise DGS for decades to come as it basically says DGS is fine as long as a few rules are obeyed. What evidence do yo have that any licensing system will be enforced rigorously? Even the existing far simpler situation is not enforced – hence this post. Why would licensing change that? The bottom line is that by campaigning for licensing the RSPB is saying that DGS is ‘OK’ and essentially campaigning for licensing is campaigning to keep DGS. The shooting lobby will be rubbing their bloody hands with glee as they will be more than happy with licensing. To me and others this blindingly obvious.

        It is not at all unhelpful at all to suggest that RSPB members withdraw as the raptor persecution situation is now so dire and the RSPB’s position/response so ineffectual that to make them sit up and think credible threats are required and large scale hemorrhaging of members (i.e. cash) may be just the ticket. Until the RSPB grow a pair and stop being the Royal Society for the Protection of SOME Birds I’ll never re-join.

        • 13 Keith Dancey
          July 28, 2020 at 8:53 pm

          “licensing will enshrine/legitimise DGS for decades to come as it basically says DGS is fine as long as a few rules are obeyed.”

          That is a deliberate misrepresentation of what has been proposed. It is not ‘a few rules’, and you know it.

          “Royal Society for the Protection of SOME Birds” I believe that to be the slogan of the disreputable Save Our Songbirds.

          • 14 Stephen Lewis
            July 30, 2020 at 6:24 pm

            Keith, nothing other that a DGS ‘licensing system’ has been proposed and you know it. It is not a deliberate misrepresentation at all. You’ve said you want a DGS ban so why ask for a system that will preserve DGS? That is simply wrong-headed and any Government which introduces DGS licensing will see it as problem solved. Just try and get DGS banned once a licensing system has been instigated…

            “Royal Society for the Protection of SOME Birds” I believe that to be the slogan of the disreputable Save Our Songbirds.” That may or may not be the case but I’m nothing to do with Save Our Snongbirds.

            • 15 Keith Dancey
              July 31, 2020 at 11:49 am

              “nothing other that a DGS ‘licensing system’ has been proposed and you know it”

              Not true. Consult Ed Hutchins. Or the RSPB about the legal details.

              • 16 Stephen Lewis
                July 31, 2020 at 7:54 pm

                Perfectly true as Ed and RSPB will not be implementing any DGS licensing system. There is NO firm, detailed, proposals for a DGS licensing system (and long may it remain so) so all the stuff you are spouting about “independently assessed grouse moors” etc. is not only claptrap but conjecture.

                • 17 Keith Dancey
                  August 1, 2020 at 1:45 pm

                  “Perfectly true as Ed and RSPB will not be implementing any DGS licensing system”

                  What a weird world you live in: only governments implement licensing (or bans) but other people/organisations can propose them to governments, such as Alan Werritty…

                  If you are serious about ending the persecution of raptors you should be interested in what sort of licensing would achieve that.

                  • 18 Stephen Lewis
                    August 1, 2020 at 5:40 pm

                    Yes Keith, that is exactly the point I was making so I’m afraid my world is no where near as weird as the cloud cuckoo land that you seem to live in. ‘Other organisations’ can indeed propose licensing but they do not implement them and more importantly do not ENFORCE them. Therefore, it is utterly fanciful to suggest that a DGS licensing system will be enforced given the woeful state of affairs we have now wrt to enforcement. Mark Avery said exactly the same thing in ‘Inglorious’ and I put it to you that he knows a damn sight more about the issues than you or I. Are you saying that Mark Avery in calling for a ban is wrong?

                    I am indeed very serious about ending the persecution of raptors but licensing WILL NOT do that (asking for DGS licensing is nothing more than asking for DGS itself) and if you think it will then it is you that inhabit some parallel universe. A ban, however, will stop DGS-related raptor persecution. A question for you: Right, so you get your pathetic/complex/costly DGS licensing system. You’ve stated previously that what you want is actually a DGS ban. How are you going to get that ban when you’ve just got licensing? That is another question you can dodge or man-up and answer. The choice is yours.

                    • 19 Keith Dancey
                      August 1, 2020 at 10:03 pm

                      “Therefore, it is utterly fanciful to suggest that a DGS licensing system will be enforced given the woeful state of affairs we have now wrt to enforcement.”

                      “A ban, however, will stop DGS-related raptor persecution.”

                      You are implying that a Government which refuses to enforce a licensing system based upon an assessment of the carrying capacity of the land will – for some reason – support a ban. And you don’t think that is a contradiction.

                      “Are you saying that Mark Avery in calling for a ban is wrong?” No, I supported and lobbied for his e-petition. But… if we fail to get a ban, if no Parliament is even prepared to consider it, we need a Plan B: which is licensing. If the wording of such a license is correct (as I keep arguing) it could achieve the same result – an end to the persecution and abuse of animals and ruination of an entire habitat.

                      Another reason we need a Plan B is because official input to (any) Government, thus far, is confined to licensing, therefore it is incumbent upon us to consider what sort of licensing would work and what sort would not work, otherwise we could end up with a system based solely upon successful criminal prosecutions which, as we know, are almost impossible to obtain.

                      “Mark Avery said exactly the same thing in ‘Inglorious’ and I put it to you that he knows a damn sight more about the issues than you or I.”

                      That may, or may not, be true: I have at least taken on the UK Government and Natural England at both Public Inquiries and at the ECJ.

                      “A question for you: Right, so you get your pathetic/complex/costly DGS licensing system. You’ve stated previously that what you want is actually a DGS ban. How are you going to get that ban when you’ve just got licensing?”

                      If the licensing is of permission for the business to continue, based upon independent assessments of the bio-diversity and bio-abundance of the habitat (since the shooting industry claim to Government that they do not seriously harm the environment) then – by definition – there would be no need to ban the activity. The independent assessments would attest as to whether any environmental harm was being done.

                      Which is the same stance as supporting a ban on driven grouse shooting but not of walked-up shooting (the killing of grouse would not be banned)

                      Only you appear to be concerned about the cost of such a licensing system (“costly”) when the costs of all licensing systems are born by the licensee (in this case, the shooting estates out of their profits). I wonder why that bothers you?

                      Will any Government more likely support a licensing system or a ban, when it comes to shooting? If it is the former, we need at least to be prepared to specify what sort of license it should be, rather like the current situation over the licensing for killing mountain hares.

                      But you argue vociferously against any such consideration, which rather leaves that question open for politicians to decide without our input.

                      It is not all or nothing: it is all or something which we think would work.

    • 20 Keith Dancey
      July 28, 2020 at 1:27 pm

      “I call on RSPB members to remonstrate with the RSPB that calling for licensing due to criminality is insane and couple that with a threat to withdraw their membership”

      Yep, that might do untold harm to conservation, but I doubt there will be many takers.

      The RSPB is seriously compromised by having a life-long supporter of shooting as its Patron, but it is still the best conservation organisation in the UK.

      • 21 Stephen Lewis
        July 28, 2020 at 7:50 pm

        The RSPB are good in many ways but in terms of DGS/raptor persecution they are woeful and wrong-headed. A busted flush that is doing the conservation cause a great disservice.

  4. 22 Paul Fisher
    July 27, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    A question. We have been invited to renew our membership of the Scottish National Trust. Does anybody know their position on this criminality? Never heard a peep from them on this subject and I suspect, if I ask, I’ll just get the blah blah line. Are they vocal on this in Scotland?

    • 23 dave
      July 27, 2020 at 7:08 pm

      Paul, hen harriers sat tagged on the SNT Mar Lodge estate have suddenly and suspiciously “disappeared” close to where the criminals poisoned this eagle. So I would say SNT definitely have a very positive attitude to birds of prey. I would certainly suggest you to renew your membership to help their work.

      • 24 Richard Towers
        July 28, 2020 at 8:13 am

        How about damaged tags failing to send the signal or so poorly fitted, they fell off?

        • July 28, 2020 at 10:32 am

          Of course, tags falling off just happens to be over those ever so unlucky grouse moors. Unfairly attacked by co-incidence again. Poor unfortunate, downtrodden grouse moors, when will existence stop picking on them.

        • 26 Coop
          July 28, 2020 at 7:25 pm

          Not content with looking a knob already, Dick’s on a roll.

        • 27 Paul
          July 29, 2020 at 10:52 pm

          Towers. Are you a grouse moor apologist? I’m sure I’ve seen your drivel on Facebook.

          • 28 Coop
            July 30, 2020 at 11:22 am

            Scroll down, Paul. In another of his risible attempts to deflect, Dicky makes a false claim about the RSPB, referring to “OUR management of the moors for grouse shooting”. This tells you all you need to know about his motivation.

  5. 29 Peter Hack
    July 27, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    Time to call for a visitor boycott of this “National Park” noting perhaps that British “NP’s” fail to make UN criteria for National Parks ?

    • 30 dougie
      July 28, 2020 at 10:32 am

      A lack of eyes on the ground serves to facilitate the activities of the criminals. The more people that wander about the harder it is for criminals to go unnoticed. Criminals always try to avoid being observed.
      Look what has happened during the Covid lockdown when the public could not access the hills.
      Despite the shortcomings of the NP, reducing visitor numbers would be exactly the wrong thing to do.
      Find another way to make your displeasure known.

    • 31 Spaghnum Morose
      July 28, 2020 at 7:31 pm

      One mustn’t boycott spending time in any of our NPs or uplands because of their (weak) role in helping upholding the law. By all means complain bitterly and vocally. But there are few enough everyday law abiding people out and about in these places esp at the key times of day (early morning and late evening) as it is. In daytime ramblers and walkers outnumber working keepers by 500 to 1. But at the critical times of day in critical expanses of upland areas keepers outnumber normal folk by 50 to 1. You don’t need to do anything, just be there be seen from time to time. Don’t surrender your and our rightful inheritance to beautiful places and beautiful wildlife to this grim and selfish industry.

  6. July 27, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    It might be a lost cause but the criminals champion is Fergus Ewing. He should be reminded of the outcomes of his actions.

  7. 33 The sky dancing shepherd
    July 27, 2020 at 10:55 pm

    DONE

  8. July 28, 2020 at 1:22 am

    A letter has been sent about this issue describing our concern and we hope this will help so the matter may be dealt with, finally.
    GOVEGAN CANADA
    govegancanada@gmail.com

  9. 35 Richard Towers
    July 28, 2020 at 8:11 am

    This will probably have been poisoned further afield and flown flown back to its nesting site. This possibility has been deliberately missed in your own single.minded narrative.

    You also miss out the fact that the RSPB have produced reports in full favour of our management of the moors for grouse shooting. You make no mention of that, yet spout on about licensing issues you clearly know nothing about.

    • July 28, 2020 at 9:32 am

      “This possibility has been deliberately missed in your own single minded narrative”.

      You’re right, Richard, it was “deliberately missed” because the poisoned eagle was, er, only one year old, and therefore not nesting. Nice try though.

      Please provide the links to the RSPB reports that are in “full favour of our management of the moors for grouse shooting”.

    • 39 Charly
      July 28, 2020 at 2:40 pm

      Driven grouse shooting will end soon in Scotland , and so will the illegal persecution of Raptors. Mountain hare protection was just the start, it will happen, suck it up and move on😒

  10. 40 Patrick Stirling-Aird
    July 28, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Paul,

    I do not decry at all the good work being done by the National Trust for Scotland, on raptor conservation and otherwise, at Mar Lodge and elsewhere on their properties. It might be worthwhile your asking NTS centrally i.e. at their headquarters what their policy is on supporting calls for licensing of grouse moors, perhaps as a first step in this whole saga.

  11. 41 Stan
    July 28, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    When a raptor is found poisoned on grouse land, revoke the owners shooting licence or better still stop all grouse shooting.
    Its in the pockets that hurts them.

  12. 42 Boaby
    July 28, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    Roseanne Cunningham has kicked the proposal to increase SSPCA s powers into long grass despite them having and proven track record on investigating animal crimes including wild animals, particularly badger baiting and dog fighting.

    There would be no cost in implementing these powers and it would help in the fight against wildlife crime.

    Roseanne chose instead to appoint special constables to the CGNP which was clearly insufficient and treated the public like fools.

    Let’s see what she pulls out the bag this time….increased police training or more wildlife crime police officers all of which have been used so many times in the past……yet nothing changes

    Shame on Scotland …Shame on Scot Gov

  13. July 28, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    I am very sad to learn of the poisoning of yett another beautiful bird,, these people have no conscience for the wickedness they destroy to the amazing beauty we love and adore,, I live in hants and just wanted to express my sadness.

  14. 44 Ben Haworth
    July 28, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    Have emailed Scottish Government from Ross. Puts me off going there.

  15. 45 Preston Parkes
    July 28, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Its getting out of order these killings of birds of prey and have people got no respect for them

  16. 46 Allan Mac
    July 28, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    I understand why someone has done this but do not condone it. Where I live the eagles are killing lambs pets chickens ducks it’s all great for you lot who are nowhere near there hunting grounds so say where to release them into the wild but it’s the locals who lose out. They are great birds but unfortunately they go for the easy targets.

  17. July 29, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    We will be doing that.
    Best wishes
    Bring this scum to justice


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