Posts Tagged ‘chloralose


Red kite found poisoned in North Yorkshire (yes, another one)

Press release from North Yorkshire Police (2 May 2018):


Police are appealing for information after receiving confirmation that a red kite, found dead near Knaresborough in December 2017, had been poisoned with a pesticide.

The discovery has prompted a warning from North Yorkshire Police – as part of the force’s Operation Owl campaign – about the cruel, illegal and dangerous practice of lacing animal carcasses with poison to kill other wildlife.

The dead kite was found by a member of the public just outside the village of Ferrensby between Knaresborough and Boroughbridge in North Yorkshire. The bird was in good physical condition and there was no evidence to indicate the cause of death. The finder was concerned that the bird may have been killed illegally, and reported it to the police.

Specialist wildlife crime officers at North Yorkshire Police had the bird x-rayed and this ruled out any cause of death due to physical injury. The police then arranged with Natural England for the bird to be sent away for a post mortem and toxicology tests.

The results showed the bird had significant amounts of chloralose, a pesticide, in its kidney – and it was concluded that this was the cause of death. The post mortem could not identify the nature of the kite’s last meal. The bird would have succumbed within a few minutes of consuming the poison. The location where the kite picked up the poison is not known.

[Photo by N. Perver]

Officers need to hear from anyone who has any information about the illegal use of pesticides to poison birds of prey in North Yorkshire. The practice of lacing animal carcasses with poison to kill other wildlife is both cruel and illegal. It is also poses a serious risk to members of the public and their children or pets if they come into contact with them.

Operation Owl is an ongoing initiative by North Yorkshire Police, the RSPB and the RSPCA, together with the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, the Nidderdale Moorland Group, and others, to reduce the number of illegal attacks on birds of prey. As part of the operation, police carry out surveillance checks on known raptor persecution hot-spots at random times to disrupt offender activity. Officers are also calling on the public to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the police when out in the countryside.

Sergeant Kevin Kelly, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said:North Yorkshire’s wonderful countryside is host to many specially-protected birds of prey, including red kites. It is completely unacceptable that people think they can ignore the law and subject these birds to poisonings and other forms of persecution without consequence.

Like other forms of rural crime, raptor persecution is not a problem that the police can tackle alone. If everyone keeps their eyes open for illegal traps and poisoned bait, it will be a massive boost to our surveillance operation. Operation Owl is a real opportunity to reduce the number of wild birds that suffer and die unnecessarily, and send a clear message to offenders that we will not tolerate this crime in our countryside.”

Howard Jones, RSPB Investigations Officer, said:We are deeply saddened to hear of another illegally poisoned red kite in North Yorkshire. Although the re-introduction of this species into the region has been a conservation success, there continues to be an unacceptable level of persecution towards these majestic birds. Kites are struggling to expand their range into upland areas such as the Yorkshire Dales and, in this case, it is clear that they are not safe in other areas of the county either. We will continue to work closely with North Yorkshire Police and Yorkshire Red Kites to tackle the issue of illegal killing.”

Doug Simpson, Yorkshire Red Kites Co-ordinator, said:I am particularly concerned about this case, it being the first recorded kite death from illegal poisoning in this particular area. It is yet another instance of a red kite persecution victim having been found by someone out walking in the countryside, 22 of our 42 confirmed illegally killed or injured kites having been found in this way.”

Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 101, choose option 1 and be ready to quote reference 12170217776.

Alternatively email If you wish to remain anonymous, call the RSPB’s confidential Raptor Crime Hotline for free on 0300 999 0101.



Latest SASA figures reveal widespread poisoning incidents in early 2011

The latest figures detailing illegal animal poisoning incidents in the first quarter of 2011 have just been released by Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) on behalf of the Scottish Government.

The figures cover the period January to March 2011, and show that criminal raptor poisoning incidents were detected in each of the three months. They include 3 buzzards, 1 golden eagle, 1 red kite and 2 peregrines.  Poisoning incidents were widespread, taking place across Scotland, including in the Borders, Strathclyde, Tayside, Grampian and the Highlands. The illegal poisons used included Carbofuran, Chloralose and Strychnine. So much for the game-shooting industry’s self-regulation. I guess 2011 will not be the year they ‘stamp out’ illegal raptor persecution.

Not for the first time, two of the five recorded incidents were apparently unpublicised in the media: 1 x buzzard poisoned with Carbofuran in the Borders in January 2011, and 1 x red kite poisoned with Chloralose in the Highland region in February 2011.

SASA poisoning figures for period Jan – Mar 2011 available here


two more buzzards poisoned in Scotland

Two dead buzzards found next to a poisoned rabbit bait were poisoned by carbofuran. The buzzards and the bait were discovered in a farm field near Boat of Garten on October 15 this year, by staff from the Strathspey Estate. They called the police and the birds were sent off for toxicology tests. A spokesman from Strathspey Estate said they were shocked by the poisoning. He added, “Considering the efforts made to enhance the wildlife conservation and biodiversity on the estate, it is inconceivable that any of our staff had any part whatsoever in the laying of poisoned bait“.

Northern Constabulary and Strathspey Estate are “working closely” to find those responsible. I’m not sure how delaying the news of these deaths for 7 weeks will have helped the investigation but still, at least Northern Constabulary appear to be involved this time. Shame we can’t report the same for the two poisoned eagles found dead on Northern Constabulary’s patch back in June. Six months have now elapsed and still no news…

BBC news for the buzzard poisoning:

Strathspey Estate is owned by the Earl of Seafield, who also owns the Seafield Estate. A buzzard was found poisoned by chloralose on Seafield Estate back in 1991, but no further public records of alleged raptor persecution have appeared since then. Strathspey Estate is actively involved in projects on capercaillie and Scottish wildcat, and is also helping with the satellite-tracking of two golden eagles born on the Estate in summer 2010. The Earl of Seafield signed the SRBPA/SEBG letter to Roseanna Cunningham in May 2010, on behalf of the Seafield & Strathspey Estates, condemning the illegal poisoning of raptors in Scotland. Sandy Lewis, the Chief Executive of Seafield Estate was previously the Chair of the SEBG (Scottish Estates Business Groups), and is, according to the SEBG website, currently their regional rep for North and West Scotland. He was involved in a fascinating legal case earlier this year, involving a grouse-shooting lease in Strathspey. The case also involved land agents Mark Osborne and Nick Baikie, familiar names to readers of this blog. Here are two links to that story:



landowners’ condemnation of raptor persecution exposed as a sham?

On 21 May 2010, this blog reported on the news that over 200 landowners (members of the Scottish Rural Property & Business Association – SRPBA)  had written a letter to Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham MSP, condemning the continued practice of illegal raptor persecution on Scottish sporting estates.

This letter has now become available for public viewing: SRPBA LETTER MAY 2010

On close scrutiny of the signatories to this letter, it is now apparent that on 23 of the estates listed, wildlife crime incidents have been recorded, and on seven of them, estate employees have criminal convictions. Here they all are in their full glory:

Careston Estate, Brechin: Buzzard found poisoned by Chloralose 1992.

Dochfour Estate, Inverness: Buzzard found poisoned by Chloralose 1992.

Invercauld Estates, Braemar: Buzzard found poisoned by Chloralose 1992; Three Buzzards and a raven found poisoned by Carbofuran 2005; Gamekeeper convicted for illegal use of spring trap 1997.

Balmanno Estate, Bridge of Earn: Buzzard found poisoned by Carbofuran, illegal gin traps and egg collection – Gamekeeper convicted 2003.

Haystoun Estate, Peebles: Gamekeeper filmed allegedly removing Peregrine chick from nest – evidence ruled inadmissable in court (a legal technicality) – but keeper convicted of firearms offences 2003.

Haddo Estate, Aberdeenshire: Gamekeeper convicted for  laying poisoned baits and illegal traps and fined £2,600 in 1989.

Dunachton Estate, Kincraig: Buzzard found shot 1990; Buzzard found shot 1992.

Dougarie Estate, Isle of Arran: Eagle found poisoned by Chloralose 1991.

Rosehaugh Estate, Black Isle: Buzzards found poisoned by Mevinphos 1991.

Dinnet & Kinord Estates, Aboyne: Gamekeeper convicted for firearms offences and trespassing on neighbouring estate while carrying a firearm 2006; Golden eagle found poisoned 2006.

Straloch Farm, Blairgowrie: Buzzard found poisoned by Chloralose 1992.

Lothian Estates, Jedburgh: Osprey found shot 1993.

Glenfeshie Estate, Kincraig: Golden eagle found poisoned by Carbofuran 2006.

Islay Estates, Islay: Raven found poisoned by Mevinphos 1989; Buzzard found poisoned by Mevinphos 1989.

Dunecht Estates, Aberdeenshire: Buzzard found shot 2007.

Coignafearn Estate, Tomatin: Poisoned bait found 1983; Golden eagle found poisoned 1988.

Roxburghe Estate, Kelso: Buzzard found poisoned by Mevinphos 1989.

Seafield Estate, Strathsprey: Buzzard found poisoned by Chloralose 1991.

Innes Estate, Elgin: Dead Buzzards and crows found dying after poisoned by Carbofuran – Michael Royan (head gamekeeper) convicted of firearms offences and possession of illegal poisons 2007.

Carbeth Estate, Stirlingshire: Buzzard found poisoned by Chloralose 1989.

Wemyss & March Estates, Longniddry: Managers of the Barns Estate in Peebleshire, where gamekeeper was convicted of poisoning 20 raptors, described at the time as “Britain’s worst wildlife crime” 2004.

Alvie Estate, Kincraig: Golden eagle found poisoned 1980.

Aberarder Estate, Strathnairn: Eagle found poisoned 1993.

One has to ask, why are these estates still allowed a membership of SRPBA? Doesn’t their continued membership ruin any credibility of the SRPBA’s public pronouncements against illegal raptor persecution? Indeed, it seems to go against the SRPBA’s very own Code of Practice: 

Although of course, we should point out that some of these Estates may have changed ownership/staff since some of these incidents occured – we should probably give them all the benefit of the doubt because after all, the SRPBA has ‘repeatedly condemned the illegal poisoning of wildlife’ and of course we should all accept that their members are all above board and not engaged in criminal activities.

The SRPBA is also a fully-fledged partner in the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime (PAW Scotland) – as a commited partner, I’m sure that the SRPBA has expelled any members that are associated with wildlife crime. Otherwise, what is the point of SRPBA being a partner in PAW Scotland? No point, other than paying lip-service to raptor conservation in a feeble attempt to protect their public image. But we are giving them the benefit of the doubt, aren’t we.

At the latest PAW Scotland meeting  that was held on 25 May 2010, Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham MSP apparently congratulated the SRPBA on their letter. Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt too and assume she hadn’t read it yet.


Perthshire gamekeeper fined for possession of illegal poisons

On 15th Dec 2004, a 39 year old Perthshire gamekeeper (name removed under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) of Taymist, Ballinluig, was fined £1200 after he was found to have two hazardous chemicals. The keeper, who runs shooting parties, admitted illegally storing alpha chloralose in his car and Cymag in his unlocked garage.

Chloralose has been used to kill thousands of birds, including golden eagles, kestrels and buzzards, in recent years. Two tins of Cymag were found in the keeper’s garage. The chemical, which gives off a lethal gas, has been used to clear mole and rabbit holes but will be banned at the end of the year.


osprey, golden eagle & buzzards illegally killed in 1993

According to the Hansard Report April 2004 (Hansard is the edited verbatim report of proceedings in UK parliament), the following illegal raptor persecution incidents were recorded in 1993:

Lothian Estate (nr Jedburgh, Scottish Borders) – 1 x osprey shot.

Aberarder Estate (Strathnairn, Inverness-shire) – 1 x golden eagle killed by Carbofuran.

Gledfield Estate (nr Ardgay, Sutherland) – 1 x buzzard killed by Chloralose.

South Balkeith Farm (Tain, Ross-shire) – multiple buzzards killed by Carbofuran.

Glenberg Estate (Speyside) – 1 x buzzard killed by Chloralose.

Ralia Estate (by Newtonmore, Inverness-shire) – 1 x buzzard killed by Chloralose.

Woodall Estate (Airdrie, North Lanarkshire) – 1 x buzzard killed by Chloralose.

Carruth Estate (Strathclyde) – 1 x buzzard killed by Chloralose.

Farleyer Estate (Aberfeldy, Perthshire) – 1 x buzzard killed by Carbofuran.

Loansfold & Blindswell Farms (Perthshire) – 1 x buzzard killed by Chloralose.

This report was published in the days when the government publicised the names of the Estates where illegal raptor persecution incidents had been recorded. Shame they don’t do that anymore – you have to wonder why? The Hansard report documenting these and other persecution incidents, can be read here:


hen harrier & buzzards illegally killed in 1992

According to the Hansard Report April 2004 (Hansard is the edited verbatim report of proceedings in UK parliament), the following illegal raptor persecution incidents were recorded in 1992:

Dalswinton Estate (Dumfries, Dumfriesshire) – 1 x buzzard killed by Chloralose.

Invercauld Estate (nr Braemar, Aberdeenshire) – 1 x buzzard killed by Chloralose.

Dochfour Estate (Inverness-shire) – 1 x buzzard killed by Chloralose.

Cawdor Estate (Nairn, Inverness-shire) – 1 x buzzard killed by Strychnine.

Balival Estate (nr Kingussie, Inverness-shire) – 1 x hen harrier killed by Strychnine.

Careston Estate (Brechin, Perthshire) – 1 x buzzard killed by Chloralose.

Over Cardney Estate (Dunkeld, Perthshire) – 1 x buzzard killed by Chloralose.

Glenbeich &Ardveich Farms (Lochearnhead, Perthshire – 1 x buzzard killed by Chloralose.

Straloch Farm (Blairgowrie, Perthshire) – 1 x buzzard killed by Chloralose.

This report was published in the days when the government publicised the names of the Estates where illegal raptor persecution incidents had been recorded. Shame they don’t do that anymore – you have to wonder why? The Hansard report documenting these and other persecution incidents, can be read here:

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