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Young peregrine shot in Devon

Devon & Cornwall Police are appealing for information after a peregrine was found shot in Ipplepen, south Devon, in August. The young bird (hatched this year from a coastal site in Devon) was found with an injured wing on 23 August 2016. An x-ray revealed an air rifle pellet had caused fractures and the bird […]
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‘Missing’ hen harrier Brian: official responses from Environment Secretary & Cairngorms National Park Authority

Two days after the news that young satellite-tagged hen harrier Brian has gone ‘missing’ in the Cairngorms National Park (see here), we now have official responses from Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham and from the CEO of the Cairngorms National Park Authority, Grant Moir. Well done to journalist Christopher Foote (STV news) for publicising this incident […]
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Heads up for hen harriers? How about heads in the sand?

Last week we were treated to yet another ‘partnership-working’ charade, this time under the guise of PAW Scotland’s ‘Heads up for Hen Harriers’ project. This project was established in 2013. It aims to ‘better understand the threats facing Scotland’s hen harriers –and ultimately promote recovery of the species – by working in partnership with land […]
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Too embarrassing for words

Following this morning’s news that satellite-tagged hen harrier Brian has ‘disappeared’ in the Cairngorms National Park just a few weeks after fledging (see here), we’ve been waiting to see what the Environment Secretary and the Cairngorms National Park Authority had to say about it, and more importantly, what they intended to do about it. This […]
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Satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘disappears’ in Cairngorms National Park

Another of this year’s hen harrier chicks has ‘disappeared’ just a few weeks after fledging, this time in the Cairngorms National Park. This one was called Brian, after raptor worker Brian Etheridge, and he had hatched in a nest in Perthshire, within the National Park. After fledging, he stayed within the Park boundary until his […]
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BBC Trust ruling: Chris Packham did not breach guidelines

A year ago, Tim Bonner, Chief Exec of the Countryside Alliance complained to the BBC (see here) about Chris Packham describing various ‘countryside’ organisations as “the nasty brigade” and accused him of other alleged breaches of the BBC’s editorial code. Earlier this summer, just as the campaign to ban driven grouse shooting was gaining serious […]
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Satellite tag reliability: compelling evidence from Montagu’s Harrier study

Satellite-tagged hen harriers regularly ‘disappear’ in the UK uplands, mostly in areas managed as driven grouse moors. Indeed, according to data from Natural England, of 47 hen harriers that were satellite-tagged between 2007-2014, a staggering 78.7% were listed as ‘missing’ (see here). That means a significant and suspiciously high proportion (37 tagged hen harriers) vanished […]
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An open letter to Philip Merricks

There’s not much else to say, is there? This letter was written before Philip’s incoherent presentation at the Sheffield raptor conference (here) and before Philip moved his, er, “immovable conditions” for participating in DEFRA’s Hen Harrier brood meddling plan (see here). The forthcoming Hawk & Owl Trust AGM should be interesting….
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Illegal raptor killing is PR disaster for Cairngorms National Park, says Convener

Illegal raptor killing is a PR disaster for the Cairngorms National Park, says Peter Argyle, the current Convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority. He’s not wrong. Since the Cairngorms National Park was established in 2003, there have been over 60 recorded incidents of illegal persecution (see here) and these are only the ones that […]
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The real price of grouse: episode 8

Here’s episode 8 in a series of videos hosted by Chris Packham about the #NotSoGlorious damaging management practices associated with the driven grouse shooting industry. Episode one (an introduction to driven grouse shooting) can be watched here.  Episode 2 (the damaging environmental effects of heather burning) can be watched here. Episode 3 (traps) can be […]
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Royal grouse shoot in the Cairngorms National Park: a military operation?

The tabloids have been making much of the fact that the Queen was photographed driving Kate Middleton to a picnic on Balmoral Estate last week, joining Prince William who had apparently been grouse shooting (Daily Mail here; Daily Mirror here; Daily Record here). Photo by Peter Jolly. Whilst the tabloids focused on the important things […]
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Illegal raptor killing has to stop, says Angela Smith MP

Here’s another transcript from last week’s Sheffield conference on raptors. This time we feature the deeply personal yet unflinchingly resolute presentation given by Angela Smith MP (Labour, Penistone and Stocksbridge). Angela is no stranger to the subject of illegal raptor killing on grouse moors. You may remember, way back in 2011, she tabled a Parliamentary […]
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Peregrine found shot next to grouse moor in Peak District National Park

On Tuesday 6 September 2016, a critically-injured peregrine was found by walkers on a road in the Goyt Valley in Derbyshire. It was in shock and unable to fly. The juvenile peregrine was collected by volunteers from Raptor Rescue and held overnight. The following day it was taken to a vets in Ashbourne where it […]
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Philip Merricks moves his “immoveable conditions”

Back in June, we blogged about the Hawk & Owl Trust’s supposed “immoveable provisos and conditions” that had been set, by them, as part of their agreement for taking part in DEFRA’s brood meddling plan (see here). Here they are, as a reminder: We were interested to hear whether the setting of three illegal pole […]
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What Philip Merricks said at the Sheffield conference

There was a conference in Sheffield last Friday and Saturday: ‘Raptors, Uplands & Peatlands – Conservation, Land Management & Issues’. Mark Avery has written a blog giving an overview of his impressions (here). We will be publishing a selection of transcripts from this conference and here is the first of those. Note, this is NOT […]
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The real price of grouse: episode 7

Here’s episode 7 in a series of videos hosted by Chris Packham about the #NotSoGlorious damaging management practices associated with the driven grouse shooting industry. Episode one (an introduction to driven grouse shooting) can be watched here.  Episode 2 (the damaging environmental effects of heather burning) can be watched here. Episode 3 (traps) can be […]
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Three poisoned buzzards found in Co Laois, Ireland

The National Parks and Wildlife Service in Ireland is appealing for information after the discovery of three poisoned buzzards. The buzzards were discovered in a field in Cappakeel, Emo, County Laois over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Toxicology tests have revealed they’d been poisoned with Carbofuran. Full details from the Leinster Express here
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The real price of grouse: episode 6

Here’s episode 6 in a series of videos hosted by Chris Packham about the #NotSoGlorious damaging management practices associated with the driven grouse shooting industry. Episode one (an introduction to driven grouse shooting) can be watched here.  Episode 2 (the damaging environmental effects of heather burning) can be watched here. Episode 3 (traps) can be […]
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Tackling raptor persecution features in Scot Gov’s work plan 2016-17

The Scottish Government has published its work plan for 2016-2017 (see here). We are pleased to see that tackling wildlife crime, and specifically raptor persecution, is a feature (see page 56). “We must protect the environment from those who seek to damage it for personal gain. We will increase the penalties for wildlife crime and […]
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How to stop the illegal persecution of raptors in the Cairngorms National Park

Yesterday we blogged about the illegal persecution of birds of prey in the Cairngorms National Park (CNP) and how, 13 years after the Park was first established, persecution continues (see here). Some (but definitely not all) the grouse moor managers within the CNP are running rings around the Park Authority (CNPA), and have been doing […]
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The illegal killing of birds of prey in the Cairngorms National Park

Many people think of the Cairngorms National Park as a wildlife haven. It’s what many expect of a National Park; indeed, it’s what we should all expect of a National Park. The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) promotes it as such (this screen grab taken from the CNPA website): But just how much of a […]
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The real price of grouse: episode 5

Here’s episode 5 in a series of videos hosted by Chris Packham about the #NotSoGlorious damaging management practices associated with the driven grouse shooting industry. Episode one (an introduction to driven grouse shooting) can be watched here.  Episode 2 (the damaging environmental effects of heather burning) can be watched here. Episode 3 (traps) can be […]
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‘Dodgy’ traps now ‘improved’ in Peak District National Park

Last week we blogged about two ‘dodgy’ tunnel traps that had been photographed in the Peak District National Park (see here). There was some debate about the legality of both traps because the tunnel entrances hadn’t been sufficiently restricted to minimise the risk to non-target species, although one of the traps did have a twig […]
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Another hearing set for Raeshaw Estate’s judicial review (General Licence restriction)

Regular blog readers will know we’ve been writing about the General Licence (GL) restriction order placed on Raeshaw Estate (a grouse moor estate near Heriot in the Scottish Borders) for some time (see here for a summary). The restriction order was implemented due to alleged raptor persecution incidents reportedly taking place on the Estate (according […]
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Trial for gamekeeper re: alleged shooting of a hen harrier

Criminal proceedings continued at Elgin Sheriff Court on Thursday against Scottish gamekeeper Stanley Gordon. Mr Gordon, 60, of Cabrach, Moray, is facing a charge in connection with the alleged shooting of a hen harrier in June 2013. Mr Gordon entered a not guilty plea at Thursday’s hearing and so this case will now move to […]
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The real price of grouse: episode 4

Here’s episode 4 in a series of videos hosted by Chris Packham about the #NotSoGlorious damaging management practices associated with the driven grouse shooting industry. Episode one (an introduction to driven grouse shooting) can be watched here.  Episode 2 (the damaging environmental effects of heather burning) can be watched here. Episode 3 (traps) can be […]
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An interesting letter from Invercauld Estate

In July we blogged about the discovery in June of a critically-injured Common gull that had been found caught in two illegally-set spring traps on Invercauld Estate in the Cairngorms National Park (see here). We also blogged about a bizarre press statement from Invercauld Estate (issued via the GWCT’s twitter feed) in which they denied […]
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Raptor conference Sheffield: bookings close this Sunday

There are still a lot of places available to attend this event (83 places available for Friday, 105 places available for Saturday). Programme & booking form can be found here Bookings close this Sunday 4 Sept.
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PAW Scotland rejects gamekeeper’s claims as ridiculous

Further to the claims of Scottish gamekeeper Donald McBeath that ‘bird activists’ are killing golden eagles and hen harriers as part of a smear campaign against grouse shooting (see here and here), the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW Scotland) has dismissed his claims as ridiculous. PAW Scotland statement: The Partnership for Action Against […]
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SSPCA consultation: another year rolls by

Two years ago today saw the closure of the Scottish Government’s public consultation on increasing the SSPCA’s investigatory powers in relation to wildlife crime investigations, and particularly in relation to raptor persecution. We’ve been told, repeatedly, by successive Environment Ministers that tackling raptor persecution is a Scottish Government ‘key priority’. It’s now been five and […]
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