The BBC news website is reporting that a red kite that had been illegally trapped last week has had to be euthanised due to the severity of its injuries.
The kite was found ‘in distress and seriously injured’ on Wednesday 13th May 2015.
The article (see here) is fairly low on details, but what has been written is actually quite informative.
It quotes a Police Scotland spokesman: “This was clearly an intentional act with the sole purpose of trapping this kind of bird of prey“.
That tells us that the bird probably wasn’t caught inside a crow cage trap (by accident), but more than likely was caught in an uncovered, illegally-set spring trap, baited and deliberately placed to trap a bird of prey by its leg(s).
The article also states that the bird was found trapped ‘on moorland west of Stirling’. This is also pretty revealing. There isn’t much moorland to the west of Stirling and the moorland that is there is managed for grouse shooting (for those who don’t know the area, have a look on google maps and look for the tell-tale muirburn strips that identify the land as a grouse moor).
This latest raptor persecution crime is not the first one reported from this area in recent months. In July 2014, a poisoned red kite was found in the area. This crime wasn’t publicised by Police Scotland and didn’t reach the public domain until we blogged about it in January this year, when we found the details hidden away in a government report. At that time, we asked blog readers to contact SNH to ask whether they had issued a General Licence restriction order for the land where the poisoned kite had been found (see here).
In February 2015, Andrew Bachell, Director of Operations at SNH responded by saying the case was ‘under consideration’ (see here).
Meanwhile, later in February, a poisoned peregrine was found on the same estate (see here). It, too, had been killed by ingesting the banned poison Carbofuran.
According to the SNH website, a General Licence restriction order has still not been issued for this estate (or any other estate, come to that).
And now, three months later, an illegally trapped red kite is discovered in what appears to be the very same area.
Somebody (or some people?) is clearly conducting a campaign of raptor persecution crimes in this area. Where’s the enforcement? Why hasn’t a General Licence restriction order been issued for this area of moorland? Had one been issued for the poisoned red kite (July 2014) or the poisoned peregrine (Feb 2015), this latest crime may not have occurred and this poor red kite may not have had to suffer such appalling injuries that it had to be euthanised.
We think it’s time to ask Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod some questions about the apparent lack of enforcement action in this area. Only last month she wrote an article stating that “wildlife crime will not be tolerated in modern day Scotland” and she specifically mentioned the General Licence restriction orders: “Arrangements are also in place for SNH to restrict the use of general licences where there is evidence of wildlife crime” (see here).
So, if “arrangements are also in place”, why hasn’t a General Licence restriction notice already been enforced in this particular area and when might we see notification that one has been issued? It’s time for the Government Minister responsible for tackling wildlife crime to show her mettle. Emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Red kite photo by David Tomlinson