25
Sep
20

Missing eagle’s satellite tag found cut & wrapped in lead, dumped in river at Strathbraan

Well, well, well.

Press release from RSPB Scotland (25th September 2020)

Shocking discovery reveals lengths raptor killers will go to to conceal crimes

Recovered satellite tag provides answers to what happens when birds of prey ‘disappear’ on Scotland’s grouse moors

A satellite tag removed from a ‘disappeared’ golden eagle has been recovered from a Highland river.

The discovery sheds new light on the activities that criminals will go to in a bid to cover up the illegal killing of protected birds of prey.

[The eagle satellite tag #129014, wrapped in lead casing, found at the side of the River Braan. Photo by RSPB Scotland]

In 2016 the bird’s tag stopped transmitting suddenly on a grouse moor in Perthshire and despite searches by Police and RSPB Scotland, it was never traced.

Now the tag has been found – wrapped in heavy lead sheeting and disposed of at a popular beauty spot just a few miles from the last known location of the bird.

The recovered tag is further evidence in just how far criminals who routinely kill birds of prey are going to in a bid to cover their tracks and to present driven grouse shooting as a clean industry.

The object was spotted by a walker and his son on the banks of the River Braan near Dunkeld in Perthshire on 21st May.

On closer examination, they found the tag wrapped in a piece of lead sheeting. The tag bore a label bearing contact details and a serial number, subsequently allowing the police and RSPB to jointly attend recover and identify the object.

Police Scotland have since held the tag for several months to conduct forensic analysis, which is ongoing.

After fledging from its nest, this young eagle had remained on its parents’ territory until November 2014. Over the following 18 months, it explored Scotland’s uplands before it moved into Strathbraan. Within a few days of arriving here, on 1st May 2016 his tag, that had been functioning exactly as would have expected, suddenly and inexplicably stopped. It was suspected that the bird had been killed, and the tag destroyed.

[The young golden eagle fitted with the satellite tag #129014 in 2014. Photo Scottish Raptor Study Group]

As with all such cases, this suspicious disappearance was reported to the police. A search of the land around the bird’s last known location on a remote hill took place and the disappearance was discussed with local land managers. No evidence of what had happened to the bird was uncovered.

Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations said: “As is the case in virtually every raptor persecution investigation, nobody seemed to know anything and, as is the case with every suspicious satellite tagged raptor disappearance on a grouse moor, spurious alternative theories as to what may have happened to the bird and tag were suggested. However, now we know the truth.

This young eagle was killed illegally. The tag was clearly removed from the bird, its antenna was cut off, and the tag was then wrapped in a piece of lead sheeting, presumably because the perpetrator thought this would stop it transmitting. The package was then cast into the river, never to be seen again. Or so they thought.

This discovery gives unequivocal proof not only of what is happening to these birds, but also the lengths to which the criminals involved in the killing of our raptors will go to dispose of evidence and evade justice. It is not unreasonable to conclude that the vast majority of other birds of prey and their tags that have disappeared on Scotland’s grouse moors have suffered similar fates.”

Satellite-tags are used by biological researchers throughout the world to track the movements of animals and birds, from vultures to elephants, and have a proven high reliability. In the UK, their use on birds is strictly regulated by the British Trust for Ornithology and the Government’s statutory nature conservation agencies, with individual projects and taggers requiring demonstrable training and experience and only then under specific licences.

Duncan Orr-Ewing, a member of the Central Scotland Raptor Study Group and RSPB Scotland’s Head of Species and Land Management, said: “The number of satellite tags fitted to raptors, functioning exactly as expected, only to have stopped suddenly on a grouse moor, is an issue of increasing public concern, as evidenced by the Scottish Government commissioning of a review of the fates of satellite-tagged golden eagles, published three years ago.”

It has long been suspected that tags are routinely destroyed by wildlife criminals in a deliberate attempt to conceal evidence. There is no other reasonable explanation as to why this tag has ended up in the river where it was found, wrapped in metal, and with the harness and antenna cut. For me this incident is doubly distressing as it is a bird that I tagged with a colleague in 2014, and it originates from a nest site in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park where there has been a long history of local community protection from egg collectors.

More disappearances of tagged birds this year, as well as shooting and poisoning cases, destroy any pretence that the grouse shooting industry is able to self-regulate, even during a national pandemic. It is abundantly clear that the only way to stop this culturally ingrained and organised criminality against Scotland’s protected raptors is through robust, and immediate, regulation. We call upon the Scottish Government to prioritise this as their response to the Werritty Review.

ENDS

RSPB Scotland has also produced a video:

This tag is not one of the ones that RPUK and Chris Packham have fitted as part of our golden eagle tagging project, but the area where this eagle ‘disappeared’ and where the tag was subsequently found in the river is an area where three of our satellite tagged golden eagles have ‘disappeared’ (Adam, Charlie and Tom), probably suffering the same fate as this one. It’s actually an area where at least eight satellite-tagged eagles have ‘vanished’ in recent years, and was identified as a raptor persecution hotspot by the 2017 golden eagle satellite tag review. Strathbraan is circled in orange below:

We’ll be saying a lot more about this later today.

The Scottish Government has been dragging its feet on raptor persecution for years and years and years. We are expecting a response to the Werritty Review (on grouse moor reform) ‘this autumn’ and in light of this evidence, the latest in a long long line of evidence, we expect a meaningful response. If you’d like the First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon) and her Environment Cabinet Secretary (Roseanna Cunningham) to know how much you expect from them, please send POLITE but strongly-worded emails to:

firstminister@gov.scot

and

CabSecECCLR@gov.scot

UPDATE 25th September 2020 10.30hrs: RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations Ian Thomson has written a blog about this incident and he puts the discovery of this tag in to a wider context – read here.

UPDATE 30th September 2020: The eagle’s satellite tag found in the river: poetic injustice (here)


68 Responses to “Missing eagle’s satellite tag found cut & wrapped in lead, dumped in river at Strathbraan”


  1. 2 Raymond Clark
    September 25, 2020 at 9:26 am

    By I would bring the howls out of them, id hang them up on my front end loader and flog them, ignorant, sorts.

    • 3 phil lavender
      September 25, 2020 at 9:25 pm

      The first grouse shooting enthusiast that tries to promote his lovely sport to me… I`ll rip off his head, wrap him in lead and throw the scumbag in a cesspool

  2. 4 Perdix
    September 25, 2020 at 9:37 am

    If we’re to apply a coating of logic to this – why would anyone go to the trouble of encasing the missing item in lead and throwing it in a river, when it could so easily have been rendered ineffective with a hammer?

    We also have to consider the question of a needle in a haystack and ask the pertinent question – how on earth was this found? – pure chance? I suppose that most weeks someone wins the lottery – I suppose that it’s possible that it was just found on a river bank – perhaps.

    My enquiries also now reveal that the relevant Police Forces, are also conducting enquiries in to the likelihood of certain Estates being targeted.

      • 6 Dougie
        September 25, 2020 at 10:46 am

        Yes, “A coating of bullshit” …………… all wrapped in film of desperation !

        What will we hear next. A child’s excuse like “A big boy did it and ran away”.

    • 7 Paul Fisher
      September 25, 2020 at 9:59 am

      Or of course, the eagle could have just got fed up with carrying the thing around, got a mate to bite off the straps, flown over a church to nick the lead off the roof, wrapped it around the tag and dumped it in the local river. Obvious init!

    • 8 John Cantelo
      September 25, 2020 at 10:05 am

      Are you seriously trying to suggest, as you seem to be doing, that this could have been some sort of ‘set up’ to get the police to target “certain estates”? If, to use your phrase, “we’re to apply a coating of logic to this” then it is an even more unlikely modus operandi for anyone with that intention in mind to adopt than it is for those wishing to get rid of the evidence. It takes little imagination to see how this evidence, had it been ‘planted’, could have been used much more effectively, more dramatically and without any of the questions you raise. There’s a ritualised element to this disposal that fits the mentality of those operating clandestinely to hide evidence of their guilt.

    • 9 Stephen Lewis
      September 25, 2020 at 10:06 am

      “Police Forces, are also conducting enquiries in to the likelihood of certain Estates being targeted.”

      Targeted by whom and for what reason?

    • September 25, 2020 at 10:06 am

      I shouldn’t feed the troll but
      ‘when it could so easily have been rendered ineffective with a hammer?’
      some probably are but a hammer would have to destroy the chip (or chips). You would have to know exactly how to do that. If i were you i would be worried about DNA and fingerprints.
      Oh and using you coating of logic how do you think the person who you think is framing the poor innocent Strathbraan estates would have to have found the tag that no one could find in 2016 and hide it for 4 years and after all that work leave it beside a river in the wild hope that someone would find it and that the person wouldn’t just chuck it back in the river. Seriously, the only people who could have done this is the RSPB and the police. You need a doctor, when under stress, denial is the first defence mechanism. Mine is anger.
      Type in Strathbraan to the search engine on the right. Go on i dare you. That is a lot of framing you are going to have to do to satisfy your conspiracy theory.

    • 12 Paul V Irving
      September 25, 2020 at 10:21 am

      Another piece of ludicrous conspiracy theory from the apologists for wildlife crime. What utter hogwash.

    • 13 Adrian Crofton
      September 25, 2020 at 10:59 am

      I think Perdix has a point – I wager there’s a band of renegade golden eagles targeting innocent land owners, and conducting a simultaneous campaign to strip lead from church roofs . I’m sure I even saw one hovering by our local scrap dealer’s yard with a bundle of copper wire in its talons recently. I think Police Scotland should be informed…

    • 15 Jonathan Wallace
      September 25, 2020 at 11:14 am

      Of course it is possible to dream up a variety of scenarios to explain how this tag came to be by a riverside wrapper in lead, each more complicated than the next. Applying the principle of Occam’s Razor the suggestion that the eagle was illegally killed and the tag cut off from it and dumped in the river to hide the evidence would seem to any reasonable person the most plausible.

      I would suggest the following possible answers to the questions that you think suggest some weird conspiracy to frame an estate:

      1) “why would anyone go to the trouble of encasing the missing item of lead and throwing it in the river when it could so easily have been rendered ineffective with a hammer?”

      Using a hammer would have required the tag to be pretty significantly smashed up in order to be certain of disabling the transmitter and as the perpetrator would have expected the area from where the last signal from the bird was sent to be searched exhaustively he would then have needed to clean up after himself pretty thoroughly if the intent was to remove any hint that foul play was involved. Any fragments of the tag’s casing found on the ground would point to a crime having been committed. You might say he could have taken the tag away with him to smash elsewhere but then of course the tag would have tracked him to wherever he took it, potentially incriminating him and again pointing to criminal activity if the signals were sent from places an eagle would not frequent. I am not an expert in electronics or radio technology but I believe a wrapping of lead would effectively and immediately prevent the tag from transmitting so, from the criminal’s point of view, problem solved. Frankly if you are setting out to kill an eagle I don’t see it as being any more troublesome to take a small amount of roofing lead with you than it would be to take a hammer.

      2) You suggest that it is implausible that passers-by would have found the object on the river bed. Well I would say that the chances of a disabled tag that was thrown into a river being re-found in this way are indeed low and this may well explain why in so many cases where satellite tagged eagles suddenly stop transmitting neither bird nor transmitter are ever found. But, as your own comment points out, low probability events do occur – people do win the lottery as you put it – and people certainly find all kinds of inconspicuous things on river beds from ancient musket balls to pieces of jewellery without anyone ever suggesting that there is anything odd going on. If the river was running low after a hot dry April then it is perfectly understandable that objects that may have been previously hidden under water became exposed to view.

      On the other hand, as Anand points out, your implication that this is some kind elaborate set up to frame the estate four years after the bird went missing, seems to require some rather more demanding leaps of imagination as to how such a plan could be implemented and expected to work…

      • September 25, 2020 at 1:57 pm

        The chances of a lead bound tag being found in a river bed are also increased if it just happened to be one of several at the location. The lead, as well blanking off any signal, at least in the mind of the perpetrator, would clearly weigh down the tag to ensure it would remain longer undetected on the river bed. It might be a thought for police to look back at reports listing evidence following raids on premises, just on the off chance that there maybe was a logical explanation for the scrap lead off-cuts in the corner of the “bothy”
        Maybe C4 and Alex Thompson could follow this one up.

      • 18 Lizzybusy
        September 26, 2020 at 12:56 pm

        Superb demolition job! Brilliant!

    • 19 Coop
      September 25, 2020 at 11:38 am

      On reading this report, I thought that surely none of the charlatans who regularly wash up here would actually be fool enough to come up with some cockamamie defence of the shit shower that is the DGS mob, when the best thing they could do is to just shut the f**k up.

      Well, whaddayaknow?

    • 20 Colin McP
      September 25, 2020 at 1:13 pm

      Q1: Why go to the trouble and instead use a hammer? Well covering in lead will immediately disable transmission. Even if you had a hammer, then its probably that it wouldn’t be that effective striking the tag on soft heather where the Eagle was likely found, and also lead avoids the risk of the tag being tracked to where you happened to have a hammer and something to strike it against. Looking at the picture they look to be quite robust devices.

      Q2: How on earth was it found? Pure chance. There are apparently 8 tags that also have gone missing in the same area, so if they all have been disposed of in the same way then there is a good chance one of them will be found. I’d hope the Police and RSPB do a sweep of the river in case there are any more in the River Braan.

      But back to the point, you seem to be implying this wasn’t done deliberately. I’d be interested in your plausible explanation of what chance event lead to this satellite tag being cut from an eagle, transmitter snipped off, then wrapped in lead and found dumped in a river. You are either a fool or an apologist.

    • 21 John L
      September 25, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      The evidence is circumstantial, however, the most logical conclusion is that the discovery of this satellite tag wrapped in lead sheet and hidden in a remote stream; points to a premeditated crime -a crime of an eagle being deliberately killed, and an attempt to dispose of the evidence.

      But of course there will always be those who take to social media to spin their rubbish.

      Perdix- perhaps you would like to enlighten us with how you conducted “your enquiries”. Which “relevant” Police Forces are involved? Who you spoke to? What information they gave you?

      What you can not ignore is that there is properly researched evidence that satellite tagged birds of prey are more likely to go missing in the vicinity of grouse moors; and that there are people working on those grouse moors who have the means and motivation to want to remove raptors from the grouse moors.

    • 22 Urtica
      September 25, 2020 at 5:36 pm

      A denial from someone called ‘Perdix”! that says it all. Perdix is the Latin name for our wonderful native Grey partridge. A species which I rarely see nowadays. Decline in numbers partially attributed to the release of so many non-native pheasants and red-letgged partridge (Tomkins et al 2000).

    • 23 Chris Dobson
      September 25, 2020 at 7:57 pm

      So the people who are trying to protect birds are killing them to incriminate the people who like killing birds? That’s more plausible than the other way around? Only in a warped mind

  3. 24 Tom Willis
    September 25, 2020 at 9:37 am

    Did anyone receive a reply to their emails to the Scottish Government earlier this summer? I wrote to Ms Sturgeon and Ms Cunningham in July and again last week after receiving nothing beyond an automated response giving me a reference number. Of course the First Minister will have a lot to concentrate on at the moment but it’s very disappointing to not receive a response from anyone in Government.

  4. 27 steve macsweeney
    September 25, 2020 at 9:42 am

    Shocking but no surprise.Only draconian action will stop these criminals.
    Emailed x 2 as requested

  5. September 25, 2020 at 9:49 am

    Strathbraan where SNH were going to allow the mass culling of Ravens.
    It is getting to the point, or perhaps is way past the point, where the Scottish government is, by negligent lack of action, complicit in any future raptor crime on driven grouse moors.
    Fantastic of the man an boy that found the tag and reported it! They could have helped turn the tide.

  6. 29 SunshineOnLeith
    September 25, 2020 at 9:51 am

    Given the location and previous raptor persecution on this estate, surely it will employ only a small number of staff? Are Police Scotland interviewing all ie from landowner, factors, etc?
    I’m sure many people are feeling angry with Scottish Government complete silence on the wildlife abuses here and on other grouse shooting estates? Vicarious liability ought to be implemented where multiple wildlife crimes are being committed.
    An immediate ban on any shooting on this estate and other estates which border the area plus the Environmental Minister’s resignation.

    • September 25, 2020 at 9:53 am

      Hi SunshineOnLeith,

      There are numerous estates within the Strathbraan area and satellite-tagged eagles have ‘disappeared’ from several of them.

      A prosecution for vicarious liability would only be possible if it could be shown there was a relationship between the estate owner/factor/agent etc and the individual who committed the original crime. That’s virtually impossible when the perpetrator of the original crime removes all evidence and dumps it in the river in an attempt to destroy it. Unless of course, a forensic analysis of the dumped tag reveals some more info…..

    • 31 Alan Dickinson
      September 25, 2020 at 9:59 am

      Sorry but the police can interview all of the people in the area but that wont get them anywhere because they will lie their heads off this is one thing the police cannot ne blamed for suspend the Grouse shooting for a while may have some effect but I doubt it .

  7. 32 Alan Dickinson
    September 25, 2020 at 9:55 am

    This is all a disgrace to the UK government who will no doubt continue to sit on their hands not daring to upset the shooting classes but the people of the U.K. may well tire of this inaction by the people best placed to stop it all
    Boris we know is a big fan of blood sports but is the Scottish government the same?

  8. 33 Phyllis Venables
    September 25, 2020 at 9:55 am

    You know Del Amitri sing nothing ever happens enough said.

  9. 34 Harry Bickerstaff
    September 25, 2020 at 9:57 am

    How the shooting fraternity must have howled with laughter at their outwitting us, with their little trick of hiding the satellite tracers in lead sheeting! They have been doing this for a while now as others will know, but felt it better not to spread the idea to others, as it would simply aid them. However it tells anyone who had any doubts, that disappearing birds (and their transmitters) isn’t an accident, or failure of the technology, as the shooting lobby has tried to tell us. Now, it is out in the open. Every reason to pursue the implementation of the Werrity report at its absolutely strongest level, where any possible leeway for the shooting lobby now must be discarded. There is now no room for allowances of any kind to be made, in the making the recommendations of Werrity, the law of Scotland as soon as practicably possible.
    Unfortunately COVID 19 is still with us and must be seen as the highest priority, but at least, we should be having a public statement from the Scottish Government of where we are actually at, in the preparation of the proposed legislation.
    The question now must be; do we want legislation ONLY for Driven Grouse Moor Shooting estates – and quickly, or do we also go for heather burning, unregulated grit medication, unnecessary shooting of Mountain Hares etc.?
    Additional legislation for the above, may well slow down legislation about management (Licensing) of shooting estates and we should at least be aware of that potential problem/delay.

  10. 35 workshy333
    September 25, 2020 at 10:01 am

    Now, are we all sure that is was not an RSPB officer, or even Mr C Packham himself, that shot this bird …or found it lying around perhaps, fiddled, (perhaps meddled), with the tag, wrapped it in lead and left it to be found near a beauty spot by a convenient walker, who was then, to give the story some strength and integrity, reported to the police, in the hope of framing the local conservationists, ‘guardians of the countryside’, our much loved moor owners, managers and GKs. It’s a conspiracy, just like the vaccination against C19 will actually be a way of getting micro chips, (nano chips?), into all of us so Boris can keep an eye on our movements.
    (Sorry, getting carried away!).
    Great evidence, lets hope it reveals some forensics.

  11. September 25, 2020 at 10:16 am

    Just think that the perpetrator was probably carrying a sheet of lead in his vehicle. That is incredible although not surprising.
    Alternatively he (probably a he) would have gone somewhere to pick up the lead. If the latter would it show up on the tag data, was it that accurate? I doubt it or there would have been an arrest.

    • September 26, 2020 at 12:31 am

      It’s likely old or scrap lead off an old slated building – I’ve seen Ian Thomson’s short clip showing the lead wrapping – while you can’t be absolutely certain it looks like a heavier lead, more likely found on much older buildings than would be readily purchased at a builder’s merchant today. That in mind, it’s not out of the question that off-cuts of scrap lead are readily available on any estate and may well be commonly carried in the Land Rover.

  12. September 25, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Update 10.30hrs:

    Ian Thomson, Head of Investigations at RSPB Scotland has written a blog where he puts the discovery of this tag in to a wider context:

    https://community.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/b/scotland/posts/a-raptor-persecution-cover_2d00_up-exposed

  13. 39 19bruce59
    September 25, 2020 at 10:52 am

    It really is time the actual perpetrators and more so the landowners were jailed with massive fines as they’re the ones giving the rights for grouse etc and know full well what’s going on and totally ignore it….
    Justice.. Stop saying and start doing

  14. 40 David.
    September 25, 2020 at 10:55 am

    Channel 4 news should be told about this. See what the Grouse shooting apologists come up with in their excuses (Fairy Tales).

  15. September 25, 2020 at 11:15 am

    We have this year witnessed an escalation in persecution along with an increased awareness and corresponding public outcry due to National TV exposure. It has laid bare the truth as the fate of both Golden Eagles and White Tailed Eagles at the hands of the perpetrators has been witnessed by a much wider audience.

    This is the proverbial tip of an enormous Iceberg because, whilst Satellite tagging can provide us with the evidence, the numbers of birds and mammals tagged are very few, perhaps a handful in thousands or hundreds of thousands. But, illegal trappings and poisonings of creatures that have not been tagged have given us an insight into the potential scale of persecution, it is truly frightening and it is immoral.

    The evidence continues to mount as does the pressure for the authorities to act – that needs to be now. It is not about winners and losers, it is about what is right and what would be for the benefit of all.

  16. September 25, 2020 at 11:33 am

    This truly shows what type of people we are dealing with. No respect for the law. No respect for animals. No respect for the environment.

  17. 44 Kath Mulloy
    September 25, 2020 at 11:57 am

    I’ve sent another email to Ms Sturgeon and again urged strong action. The pressure is increasing. The report on Channel 4 news this week showed the shooting fraternity for exactly what it is.

  18. 45 Coop
    September 25, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    BBC and Guardian now covering. Nowhere left to hide for the scumbags!

  19. 47 Dougie
    September 25, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Tom Willis’s post (0937 : 25 Sept) “Of course the First Minister will have a lot to concentrate on at the moment but it’s very disappointing to not receive a response from anyone in Government.” inter alia.

    Governments are rightly never permitted the luxury of being too busy with one thing to set aside others. That apart, rampant wildlife crime has been prevalent since long before Covid 19 appeared.

    There is an odour in the air and it is certainly not Chanel No.5.

  20. 48 Michael Haden
    September 25, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Perhaps in future when the police investigate these things they may question why someone has a roll of lead flashing in their vehicle?

  21. September 25, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    Again it clearly points to someone out there, and this sort of action will continue.

    • September 26, 2020 at 10:58 am

      How many shooting estates are up stream from where it was found? If it’s been in the water for 4 years, it could have been thrown in at any number of places up stream and worked it’s way down. Ok, lead is heavy, but a river in spate can move boulders. This will hinder the investigation considerably, unless there is any forensic evidence, which is improbable. If the perpetrator went to this amount of trouble to conceal the tag in lead then they most probably wore gloves also. It was found in May and only just been made public, which usually tells us that investigations have hit a wall and it’s an appeal to the general public for any info. So unfortunately it looks like another criminal gets away with it. Another dead bird adding to the list. Any hope of a ban on DGS is a long way off, licensing is the first step and it needs doing now. Will licensing stop illegal killing of birds? I doubt it. It might reduce it, but it won’t stop it. The Werritty also only applies to Scotland, what about England? Is there anything in the pipeline for something similar? Grousemoors in Northern England and the Peak District are black holes for raptors.

      When we ring Ospreys in Wales, we take a DNA swab also. Is this the case with GE and other birds in Scotland. If a dead bird is found and doesn’t have a tag it could still be identified if a swab was taken. The carcass of the above GE is somewhere (maybe not much left after 4 years though).

      • 51 Spaghnum Morose
        September 27, 2020 at 7:33 am

        I don’t think the carcass will still ‘be somewhere’ as you hope. Here’s my theory…Eagle shot in the hills, kee…sorry, culprit immediately off cuts antenna shoves it in the peat, cuts off tag, rushes back to vehicle, wraps tag in lead and flings it in river as he drives over bridge, burns corpse in a stove or drum in one of his back sheds and throws ashes into another river. The only remote hope is for a fingerprint on the tag or the lead, highly unlikely. Just my thoughts.

  22. 52 Paul Brown
    September 25, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    This guy hasnt got the guts to use his real name..Perdix is a type of grouse !! I wonder if the local police mentioned “The likelihood of certain estates being targeted” to anyone else..or just ‘perdix’ ?.. Behave.

  23. 53 Spaghnum Morose
    September 25, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    It would be well worth searching the whole river bottom and especially bends in the river during a summer drought with metal detectors. I’m sure there are detectorists who would love that challenge. Surely the Estate(s) wouldn’t object? Perhaps Perdix could convince the Estate’s of the merits of this to demonstrate their willingness to get to the bottom of it…all as part of his ongoing “enquiries”.

  24. 54 Leslie Liney.l
    September 25, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    It is now time to take serious action against the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes. As an ex Derective Inspector I recognise the difficulty in pursuing the perpetrators. Real and concerted,action should be seriously considered in respect ofgrouse moor and sporting estates in general . Licensing and means of inspection would not be popular with land owners but wild life survival must come first.

  25. 55 Frances
    September 25, 2020 at 5:04 pm

    This is hard evidence of their crimes. In view of the current advances in technology is it possible to microchip birds now? These couldn’t be removed or tampered with, hopefully.

  26. 56 Chris Dobson
    September 25, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    On a tangent,I’m very impressed with the tags. I would imagine the perpetrator thought it would be unidentifiable by now

  27. 57 ANNE HOUNAM
    September 25, 2020 at 8:15 pm

    Sickened by Grouse shooting generally – it’s cruel and so unbalanced in favour of the shooters, that it certainly can’t be called a sport, but this Is yet another example (were one needed) of one rule for us plebs and a different rule for the rich and landed patricians. So nothing has changed in 2500 years has it.
    There should automatically be a punishment for any landowner, over whose land a Raptor disappears (or goes off-line) unless the body can be produced showing that it died from an unsuspicious cause. Such a Law would foster the nurturing of Raptors by the Grouse areas, and the acceptance that some birds will end up as dinner in an eagle’s nest, as would happen naturally.

  28. 58 Coop
    September 25, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    And more brazen lies from the tweedies…

    “The golden eagle population in Scotland is thriving, including on grouse moors where eagles pose little problem to land management activities.”

    Mark Tennant SLE.

    https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/2518150/discarded-tag-from-golden-eagle-that-disappeared-shows-lengths-raptor-killers-will-go-to-conceal-crime-rspb-claim/

  29. 59 tuwit
    September 25, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    What does the Scottish Gamekeepers Association say?

    https://news.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/2020/09/gamekeepers-respond-to-rspb-tag-find.html

    Responding to a media release from RSPB Scotland regarding a satellite tag recovered from a Perthshire river, a Spokesperson for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said:

    “If RSPB’s interpretation of this is what has actually happened, which they do not have proof of, then, of course, we would share that concern. However, it is one of many possible interpretations and until any forensic process is concluded it would be unwise of us to comment further or add to speculation on who may have covered up a tag or what their interests were in doing so. To state that this is what happens to every missing satellite tag in Scotland is without evidential basis whatsoever.

    “Satellite tags have become heavily weaponised by political campaigners. They elicit high levels of publicity and a person finding one on their land would not want it around, given the scrutiny they would come under. We will await to see what the Police can uncover from the evidence. We hope they find the truth of what has happened, for everyone’s sake.”

    Ends.

    Posted by Scottish Gamekeepers Association at 02:14

    I’m left being uncertain whether the SGA are unwittingly endorsing interfering with evidence. The section “a person finding one on their land would not want it around, given the scrutiny they would come under” may indicate that they have a rather ambivalent attitude to evidence. Of course, the evidence has already been tampered with. Unless the eagle itself shed its tag, wrapped it in lead, etc. (probability zero). Tampering with evidence? I thought that was a crime on the statute book in its own right.

    Of course, their webpage could be edited at some future date. To remove what they said, possibly.

    • 60 John L
      September 26, 2020 at 11:18 am

      Surely, any honest law abiding person, who found a satellite tag on their land, would immediately alert the relevant authorities?
      If it then turned out that tag was evidence of crime, an honest person not involved in that crime would then most probably want to assist the authorities by providing details as to who was on the land, who had access to the land, etc etc ..so that those persons could be eliminated from any subsequent criminal investigation.

      Wouldn’t honesty, openness and transparency would be the best the course of action? As this would undermine any smear campaign by anyone trying to use the incident for political purposes.

      But of course, if you really don’t want the truth to come out, then no doubt you will take a different course of action??

      I would be really interested to know what what alternatives the SGA provide to explain how a satellite tag, which was fitted to a Golden Eagle, which went missing nearby some years ago, could end up being wrapped in lead sheeting and found in a river by a member of the public.
      A satellite tag which shows evidence of the kelvar straps which hold the device to the bird being cut, which has the antennae damaged, and which was then wrapped in heavy lead sheeting, which would prevent the device sending out a signal.

      Why would someone go to all those lengths to try and conceal a device which sends out a signal providing its location? A device which had the primary function of tracking the movements of an Eagle.

      So lets see what alternative explanations the SGA offer…because at the moment they haven’t provided a credible alternative to the explanation being offered by the RSPB.

      Sadly after being so long in a river, it’s doubtful there will be any forensic evidence which will indicate who wrapped the device in lead sheeting.
      Those who are behind, what at this stage can only be treated as crime, are no doubt fully aware of this.
      So it just gives those that shield them room to spin their alternative fantasies.
      Fantasies which most right minded people do not believe.

  30. 61 Michael Le Masurier
    September 26, 2020 at 1:02 am

    No one has yet speculated as to whether the tag would still work. The original post says it has only had the antenna snipped off and I presume the unit it is very watertight.
    If it could be recharged and restarted could it reveal new information?

    An eagle is dead and didn’t desrve its fate.
    Somebody’s fate now is to worry their criminal acts may be exposed.
    They know who thay are; maybe one day soon the world will too.

    • 62 sog
      September 26, 2020 at 9:23 am

      The report indicates that the tag has been under forensic investigation by the Police. They probably won’t comment on what they found for their own reasons.

  31. 63 John L
    September 26, 2020 at 8:59 am

    Having watched the RSPB video about this killing, read other reports about just what is happening to Golden Eagles in certain parts of Scotland, and then considered the planning which must have gone into the killing of this Eagle and disposal of the satellite tag.
    I would suggest that the police treat this investigation in much the same manner that they would when dealing with serious organised crime.
    This killing of Golden Eagles, many which are satellite tagged is destroying a national iconic bird, and preventing its resurgence in certain parts of Scotland.
    There has to be a change in legislation, to give the police far greater intrusive investigatory powers when it comes to investigating wildlife crimes.
    This needs to be coupled with disruption tactics towards those shooting estates where the crimes are occurring, with covert surveillance of suspects, stop and search and direct appeals to the public for information and intelligence.
    It would also be worth looking at the Proceeds of Crime Act- and if raptors are being killed to ensure an abundance of grouse to be shot by a fee paying cliental, then its time it was argued that the revenue generated was as a result of criminal activity, and then this money should be confiscated by the courts.
    Any form of game shooting which is conducted on the back of unlawful activity needs to made financially unviable.
    Money is the driving force behind so much crime- and as is so often stated with criminal activity- “follow the money” !!
    It wouldn’t be difficult to put forward a strong case that those shooting management companies which are managing grouse moors in an unlawful manner to generate economic revenue are nothing other than crime cartels- so isn’t time we gave the police the necessary powers to investigate these cartels in the same manner they would investigate drugs gangs?
    Crime is crime, whatever colour the clothes it wears!!

  32. 65 Steve
    September 26, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    Wouldn’t there be a danger of the lead polluting the river, too?

  33. September 26, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    I was just waiting fro the SGA statement to say “we cant trust this until we have access to all the data on the movements of lead sheeting. Its become an unregulated weapon that is used to attack the entire rural population”….


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