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Buzzard shot in Devon

A member of the public found a weak and thin buzzard by the side of the road in Tedburn St Mary, near Exeter, Devon on 20 January 2017. It was taken to the RSPCA’s West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton where, due to the extent of its injuries, the bird was euthanised. It appears the […]
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ECCLR Committee’s latest thoughts on gamebird licensing petition

This morning the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee considered how to progress the Scottish Raptor Study Group’s petition calling for the introduction of a state-regulated licensing system for all gamebird hunting in Scotland. You may recall the petition was submitted to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee last summer. That […]
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More nastiness from The Nasty Brigade

The term ‘nasty brigade’ was coined by Chris Packham in an opinion piece he wrote for BBC Wildlife Magazine in October 2015. He was referring to certain organisations within the shooting industry, which led to two of those organisations (Countryside Alliance & GWCT) making a formal complaint to the BBC – a complaint the BBC […]
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Mass poisoning of raptors in Ross-shire to feature at film festival in New York

In March 2014, 22 red kites and buzzards were illegally poisoned in Ross-shire, in an incident that became known as the Ross-shire Massacre. This shocking crime drew wide public attention and revulsion, leading to public protests in Inverness town centre. In 2015, film-maker Lisa Marley produced a short but beautifully evocative film about the crime […]
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Public funds to promote wildlife criminals: tourism minister ducks question

Earlier this month we revealed that public funds were being used to promote the business of a sporting agent who had been convicted of raptor persecution (through being vicariously liable for the crimes of his gamekeeper). We encouraged blog readers to ask Tourism Minister Fiona Hyslop whether this was an appropriate use of tax payers’ […]
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ECCLR Committee to discuss gamebird licensing petition next week

Things are moving forward with the Scottish Raptor Study Group’s petition calling for the introduction of a state-regulated licensing system for all gamebird hunting. You may recall the petition was submitted to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee last summer. That Committee took evidence in October 2016 from the SRSG and RSPB Scotland (see here) […]
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Vicarious liability prosecution: Andrew Duncan (Newlands Estate), part 13

Criminal proceedings continued yesterday (24 January 2017) against landowner Andrew Walter Bryce Duncan, who is alleged to be vicariously liable for the crimes committed by gamekeeper William (Billy) Dick in April 2014. Gamekeeper Dick was convicted in August 2015 of killing a buzzard on the Newlands Estate, Dumfriesshire by striking it with rocks and repeatedly […]
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ECCLR session 2: the SGA and their ‘alternative facts’

Two weeks ago the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee held an evidence session to scrutinise the Government’s 2015 annual wildlife crime report. The evidence session was divided in to two parts – we’ve blogged about session 1 [evidence from Police Scotland and the Crown Office] here. This blog is about session […]
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Decision on increased powers for SSPCA to be announced by June 2017

We’ve been blogging about the proposed increase of investigatory powers for the SSPCA for six years (since Feb 2011). During this time, five, yes, five Environment ministers have been and gone (Roseanna Cunningham, Stewart Stevenson, Paul Wheelhouse, Aileen McLeod, Roseanna Cunningham [again, but this time as Cabinet Secretary]). Here’s how the Scottish Government has handled […]
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Crowdfunding appeal for new raptor satellite tag project

The campaign group Birders Against Wildlife Crime has launched a crowdfunding appeal to help support a new project to fit satellite tags to raptors in northern England, set to begin later this year. Satellite tagging has revolutionised efforts to detect raptor persecution crimes, and has also helped draw public attention to the illegal killing of […]
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Review of gamebird licensing systems due to be published ‘shortly’

Earlier this month we blogged about the long-overdue commissioned review of gamebird licensing systems (see here). This review was first commissioned by former Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse, way back in May 2014. In January last year, in response to a Parliamentary Question from Claudia Beamish MSP (Scottish Labour), the then Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod […]
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Another question on withheld raptor persecution data

We’ve talked quite a bit on the issue of withheld raptor crime data from the Scottish Government’s 2015 annual Wildlife Crime report. We blogged about it when the report was published in November 2016 (here) and again earlier this month when Mark Ruskell MSP asked for an explanation from Police Scotland during the recent ECCLR […]
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Satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘Bonny’ is missing, presumed dead

Another one of the preciously small group of hen harriers that managed to fledge in England last year has been reported as missing, presumed dead. Read the news on the RSPB’s Skydancer blog here. This time it’s Bonny. Bonny was particularly special. He was the first hen harrier to successfully fledge on the RSPB’s Geltsdale […]
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Kestrel found shot dead in Worcestershire

A kestrel has been found shot dead in the village of Broadwas in Worcestershire. It was discovered on 10 January 2017. This information was sent to us by a blog reader (thank you). The kestrel had been ringed in Warwickshire in June 2016 and whoever found the body in Worcestershire reported the ring number to […]
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Edward Mountain MSP – the fiercest critic of those committing wildlife crime?

Edward Mountain MSP is a new member of the Scottish Parliament (Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party, Highlands & Islands). Edward recently wrote a guest article for the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association’s quarterly rag, Scottish Gamekeeper (Issue 71, winter 2017, page 20). We’re going to reproduce part of that article: ‘I believe that challenging the ‘spectre’ [of […]
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Public funds being used to promote Glendye grouse moor

Yesterday we blogged about the illegally-set traps that had been photographed on a grouse moor at Glendye Estate in Aberdeenshire (here). We await the result of a police investigation to determine who was responsible for setting those traps (but we’re not holding our breath). Meanwhile, as taxpayers, you’ll all be thrilled to learn that your […]
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Illegally set traps on Glendye Estate grouse moor, Aberdeenshire

Have a look at this blog. You’ll see a series of photographs, taken yesterday (17 January 2017) on a grouse moor at Glendye, just beyond the famous Clachnaben hill, which is part of the Fasque & Glendye Estate according to Andy Wightman’s always useful website Who Owns Scotland. This area looks like it’s the area covered by […]
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ECCLR review of wildlife crime report: session 1

Last week the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee held an evidence session in which to review the Scottish Government’s 2015 Annual Wildlife Crime Report. The archived video can be watched here The official transcript can be read here: ecclr-transcript-wildlife-crime-10-jan-2017 The evidence session took place in two parts: the first session involved […]
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Crowdfunding appeal to help support Hen Harrier Day 2017 in Scotland

Hen Harrier Day, now in its fourth year, has quickly become established as THE day to raise awareness about the illegal persecution of hen harriers in the UK. The idea was first mooted by Mark Avery, who suggested using the anniversary of the shot hen harriers at Sandringham to ‘stir things up’ each October  with […]
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Public funds to promote wildlife criminals in Scotland?

In December 2016 we blogged about the ‘Game for Growth’ strategy, which is a plan to promote Scottish country sports and boost its value to the economy. The strategy, which was launched at a parliamentary reception on 20th December 2016 (here) is being led by the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group (SCSTG) and is being […]
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Where’s that SNH review of European gamebird licensing systems?

Pressure is mounting for the publication of SNH’s review of the systems used to regulate gamebird hunting in other European countries. This review was first commissioned over two and a half years ago by former Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse, during a parliamentary debate on wildlife crime / raptor persecution, way back in May 2014 (see […]
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Satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘Highlander’ is probably still alive

Last spring, a satellite-tagged hen harrier called ‘Highlander’ joined the ranks of the ‘missing’ as her sat tag suddenly stopped transmitting over a grouse moor in Co Durham (see here). When you consider the extraordinarily high disappearance rate of young, tagged hen harriers (78.7% as of 2014) and the absence of breeding hen harriers on […]
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Hen Harrier ‘reintroduction’ to southern England: Wiltshire

As part of DEFRA’s Hen Harrier Inaction Plan, we know that a ‘reintroduction’ of hen harriers is planned for southern England. We know that a (flawed) feasibility study funded by Natural England had identified two main areas of interest: Wiltshire and Exmoor (see here). We discussed the bonkers plan for Exmoor a few days ago […]
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Galloway Red Kite Trail worth £8.2 million to local economy

A good news story! RSPB Press Release, 10 January 2017 Wildlife Trail Generates Millions for Economy Tourists spend £8.2 million in Dumfries & Galloway after travelling to see red kites People visiting Dumfries and Galloway to see the region’s red kites have contributed over £8.2m to the local economy, a new report has found. These […]
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General Licence restriction on Raeshaw Estate: judicial review this week

The long-awaited judicial review of SNH’s decision to impose a General Licence restriction order on Raeshaw Estate finally gets properly underway this week. SNH imposed the General Licence restriction on Raeshaw Estate (a grouse moor estate near Heriot in the Scottish Borders) in November 2015. The restriction was implemented due to alleged raptor persecution incidents reportedly […]
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Withheld raptor crime data: some info for DCS Scott of Police Scotland

This morning the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee heard evidence on the Scottish Government’s 2015 annual wildlife crime report. The session was dynamite and there are many things to discuss – we’ll be blogging a lot more about this in the coming days but we wanted to start with the […]
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Scottish Environment Committee takes evidence on wildlife crime: Tuesday 10th January

As we blogged last week (here), this morning the Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee will take evidence on the Scottish Government’s 2015 annual wildlife crime report. This should be a fascinating session as for the first time, rather than just hearing from Police Scotland and the Crown Office, the Committee will also […]
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Hen Harrier ‘reintroduction’ to southern England: a bonkers proposal for Exmoor National Park

As part of DEFRA’s Hen Harrier Inaction Plan, we know that a ‘reintroduction’ of hen harriers is planned for southern England. We know that a (flawed) feasibility study funded by Natural England had identified two main areas of interest: Wiltshire and Exmoor (see here). We’ll discuss Wiltshire in a separate blog. This blog is all […]
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Hen harrier ‘reintroduction’ to southern England: who’s funding it?

Yesterday we blogged (here) about the HH southern England ‘reintroduction’ project team and the proposed project timeline. That project timeline, which was drafted in May 2016, made it clear that a funding bid was going to be made to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). However, more recent documentation, released under FoI, suggests that an HLF […]
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Hen harrier ‘reintroduction’ to southern England: the project group & their timeline

Last week we blogged about the proposed ‘reintroduction’ of hen harriers to southern England (here), part of DEFRA’s Hen Harrier Inaction Plan. In that blog we focused on the unpublished feasibility/scoping report that was being used to justify the project, and we highlighted various concerns about the scientific robustness of that report. In this blog […]
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Notorious egg thief on the run

Jeffrey Lendrum, a notorious international falcon egg thief, has gone on the run in Brazil and there are fears he may well turn up back in the UK this year to go after peregrine eggs. In January 2016 Lendrum, 55, was sentenced to four and a half years in jail after being convicted of being […]
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Ten bin bags of dead pheasants dumped under hedge in Norfolk

There’s an article on the Eastern Daily Press website today (here) about how ten black bin bags full of dead pheasants have been found dumped under a hedge in Norfolk. The person who found them believes the birds had been shot. Isn’t it wonderful that Natural England will now issue licences to kill buzzards (see […]
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Update on the 3 shot buzzards in Somerset

Following on from today’s earlier blog about the three shot buzzards in Somerset (here), we’ve now been informed that one was shot in Somerset (Chedzoy) on New Year’s Day and died of its injuries and the other two were shot in separate incidents in Wales (locations unknown) and were transported to the RSPCA wildlife hospital […]
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3 buzzards shot in separate incidents in Somerset

In the first few days of the New Year, three buzzards have been shot in separate incidents in Somerset. Two are being treated at an RSPCA wildlife hospital but the third didn’t make it. Two men were seen shooting at this third buzzard near Chedzoy on New Year’s Day. And this is the county where […]
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Environment Committee to take evidence on annual Scottish wildlife crime report

Next week (Tuesday 10 January 2017, 9.30am) the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee will hear evidence about the Government’s recent (2015) annual wildlife crime report. In the past, this committee (the RACCE Committee as it was then called) has only taken evidence from Police Scotland, the Crown Office, and the […]
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Electric pole shocker as buzzard deterrent is illegal

It’s been brought to our attention that the Raptor Politics website is advocating the use of something called an Electric Pole Shocker as a non-lethal method of deterring buzzards from perching around pheasant pens. This device has previously been advertised for use in the USA and it’s apparent that the image and technical specifications above […]
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Hen harrier ‘reintroduction’ to southern England: the feasibility/scoping report

Back in November we blogged (here) about DEFRA’s proposed ‘reintroduction’ of hen harriers to southern England, which is part of DEFRA’s Hen Harrier InAction Plan. We had received information, via an FoI request, that Natural England had identified two potential areas for the reintroduction – Exmoor and Wiltshire. These two areas had been identified from […]
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