Is this what happened to this year’s Langholm harrier chicks, Barry and Blae? (Blae confirmed dead, Barry now ‘missing’ – see this morning’s blog entry below).
These photos were taken on Moy Estate in 2010. Naturally, nobody was charged with these offences. Probably not enough “hard evidence”, eh? One gamekeeper (James Rolfe) was charged with possession of a dead red kite that was found in the back of his vehicle. The kite had two broken legs and its head had been caved in with a blunt instrument (see here and here for background info).
This first photograph shows a skinned rabbit that had been placed out on the moor. Can you see the hidden spring traps on either side of this bait? No? Any passing raptor would probably struggle to see them, too:
This next photo shows another bait found set on Moy with two spring traps. This time the moss has been removed so the traps could be photographed. These traps are illegal when used in this way:
This next photo shows a hen harrier caught in one of the illegal traps that had been laid out on Moy Estate. The picture is slightly blurred but we can forgive the photographer, given the circumstances:
Here’s the same harrier being carefully removed from the trap. This one was lucky – he survived: