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Peregrine found shot in Devon

News of yet another shot peregrine, this time in Devon. The female bird was found on 6 March 2017 next to Milton Abbot primary school in Tavistock. She was taken to a vet where an x-ray revealed a piece of shot lodged in her right shoulder. The peregrine is currently being cared for by a […]
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Peregrine found shot in Hampshire

The RSPB’s investigations team is reporting the discovery of a shot peregrine in Hampshire. The bird, which hatched on Salisbury Cathedral in 2014, was found in King Somborne, Hants, on 11 March 2017, unable to fly. It was taken to the Hawk Conservancy Trust in Andover where an x-ray revealed it had a fractured wing […]
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South Scotland Golden Eagle Project receives £1.3M lottery funding

The South Scotland Golden Eagle Project, which proposes to translocate eagles from the Highlands to boost the tiny eagle population in Dumfries & Galloway and the Borders, has been awarded over £1.3 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (see here). This means the project can now move forward by submitting a licence to SNH and, […]
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Court case continues for Angus Glens gamekeeper accused of alleged pole trapping offences

Criminal proceedings continued yesterday (28 March 2017) against Scottish gamekeeper Craig Graham. Mr Graham, 51, is accused of allegedly setting and re-setting a pole trap, baited with a pheasant carcass, on the Brewlands Estate in the Angus Glens between 9-17 July 2015. He has denied the charges. This case was first called on 31 March […]
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Raeshaw Estate loses judicial review on General Licence restriction

In November 2015, the Scottish Government’s statutory conservation agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, imposed a General Licence restriction order on a number of estates where it was believed raptor persecution had taken place but there was insufficient evidence to prosecute any individual (see here). These restrictions were the first to be imposed since this new enforcement […]
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Political maneuvering in build up to publication of raptor sat tag review

Over the weekend, there was some extraordinary media coverage centred on accusations that the RSPB is “openly ignoring” PAW Scotland protocols in relation to what should happen when a satellite tagged raptor ‘disappears’. It all stemmed from a leaked letter about wildlife crime, written by the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee, addressed to Environment Secretary Roseanna […]
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MSP criticizes Scottish Government for procrastination on SSPCA powers

Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell has hit out at the Scottish Government for procrastinating over the decision to give the SSPCA increased investigatory powers, which would allow them to tackle a wider suite of wildlife crime. Yesterday, he issued the following press release: Mark Ruskell MSP, Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, has hit out […]
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Dead peregrine in Cumbria: x-ray reveals historical lead shot fragments

Cumbria Constabulary have launched an investigation after the discovery of a dead peregrine, according to the Westmorland Gazette. The bird was found by walkers on a public footpath in Bove Wood, Newbiggin but the article doesn’t say when the corpse was found. The peregrine was submitted for a post mortem and although the cause of […]
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Another red kite shot dead in Nidderdale, North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire Police are appealing for information after the discovery of a yet another shot red kite. The latest victim was found near Greenhow, in Nidderdale, on the afternoon of Saturday 11 March 2017. Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Wildlife Crime Officer David MacKay: david.mackay@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk and quote reference number 12170047155. Last year North […]
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‘Official’ 2016 raptor persecution maps are a misleading distraction

Today the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (Scottish PAW Raptor group) has published the so-called ‘official’ annual raptor persecution maps showing details of recorded raptor persecution crimes for 2016. Once again, Police Scotland has withheld information about several incidents ‘for operational reasons’ and as such these are not included on the ‘official’ map. Some […]
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41 eagles, 10 years, 0 prosecutions

Regular blog readers will know that from time to time we publish a list of eagles that are known to have been illegally killed, or have ‘disappeared’ (i.e. their satellite tag suddenly stops functioning) in Scotland. The last update was in August 2016 when the RSPB revealed that eight satellite-tagged golden eagles had ‘disappeared’ on […]
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Hen Harrier Rowan’s injuries “entirely consistent with being shot”

In the latest edition of the RSPB’s Legal Eagle newsletter (here), there’s an article about how satellite tag technology is shining a bright light on illegal raptor persecution. We were particularly interested to read the following paragraph: ‘In October 2016, Cumbria Constabulary announced that, following some excellent fieldwork by Natural England, one of the Natural […]
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Case against gamekeeper Stanley Gordon re: shot hen harrier, part 10

Criminal proceedings continued at Elgin Sheriff Court yesterday 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. He has denied the charge. Here is the timeline of court proceedings so far: Hearing #1 (19 May 2016): […]
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RSPB offers £1,000 reward for info on two shot buzzards in North Yorkshire

A week ago we blogged about the discovery of two dead buzzards found in North Yorkshire (see here). One had been found shot near East Lutton and the other one had been found shot near Helmsley in the North York Moors National Park. The Northern Echo has now run with an article about these shootings […]
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Scarecrow placed at peregrine breeding site on Northumberland grouse moor

An interesting case highlighted in the latest edition of the RSPB’s Legal Eagle newsletter:
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Ross-shire Massacre: three years on

Today marks the three year anniversary of the mass poisoning of red kites and buzzards at Conon Bridge in the Scottish Highlands – a crime that became known as the Ross-shire Massacre. A total of 22 dead raptors (16 red kites and 6 buzzards) were discovered in a small geographic area over a number of […]
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Update on illegally-set traps on Glendye grouse moor

Two months ago we blogged about a series of illegally-set traps that had been photographed on the grouse moor of Glendye Estate in Aberdeenshire (see here). We, and many of you (thank you) passed on the information to the local Police Wildlife Crime Liaison Officer, PC Doug Darling in the hope that an investigation might […]
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Pine marten caught in spring trap on Highland shooting estate

This pine marten was found with its leg caught in a spring trap on a Highland grouse shooting estate in the Monadhliaths last month. It was still alive when it was found. The trap was not anchored and the pine marten may have dragged itself (and the trap) some distance before it was discovered by […]
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Illegal pole trap set next to pheasant pen on Lanarkshire shooting estate

An article was published yesterday on The Ferret website about an illegal pole trap found next to a pheasant pen on an unnamed shooting estate in Lanarkshire. Unfortunately the article now sits behind a paywall because we’ve viewed our allotted three free articles in one month, so we can’t add the actual link here. Some […]
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A few sandwiches short of a picnic

As we mentioned yesterday, some individuals within the game shooting industry have recently been doing their level best to discredit the work of raptor fieldworkers, and particularly anything associated with tagging raptors, be it leg rings, wing tags or satellite tags. As usual, their level best falls way short of the mark. Some of it […]
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BAWC’s crowdfunding appeal for raptor satellite tagging project nears target

In January, campaign group Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC) launched a crowdfunding appeal to help support a new raptor satellite tagging project in northern England. The initial fundraising target was £10,000 and this was smashed within a week or so of launching. £10k was the minimum amount required for the project to be viable, but […]
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Two more buzzards shot dead in North Yorkshire

Two buzzards have been found shot dead in separate incidents in North Yorkshire. One was found with shot gun injuries near East Lutton and the other one was found with shot gun injuries at Sutton Bank top near Helmsley in the North York Moors National Park. Information and photos from Jean Thorpe (Ryedale Wildlife Rehabilitation […]
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1,000 birds killed despite General Licence Restriction at Raeshaw Estate / Corsehope Farm

Regular blog readers will know that in November 2015, SNH issued two General Licence restriction orders on the Raeshaw Estate and neighbouring Corsehope Farm in the Scottish Borders (see here). This was in response to alleged raptor persecution crimes (see here), although there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution and the estates have […]
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Convicted shooting agent no longer listed on tourism website

Some of you may remember back in December 2016 and January 2017 we were blogging about an organisation called the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group (SCSTG). The SCSTG had been awarded funding from Scotland’s national tourism agency, VisitScotland, to help develop an initiative called ‘Game for Growth’, aimed at boosting the value of shooting, stalking […]
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Case against gamekeeper Stanley Gordon re: shot hen harrier, part 9

As many of you will be aware, criminal proceedings are underway 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. He has denied the charge. We need to amend some information about this case, written in […]
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Merlin population in decline on Lammermuir grouse moors

A new paper has just been published in the latest edition of British Birds (March 2017) detailing a 30-year study of breeding merlins on four grouse shooting estates in the Lammermuir Hills in south east Scotland: Heavisides, A., Barker, A. and Poxton, I. (2017). Population and breeding biology of merlins in the Lammermuir Hills. British […]
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Environment Secretary’s message to Scottish gamekeepers re: raptor persecution

Last week, Environment Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham gave a speech at the Scottish Raptor Study Group’s annual conference, where she described, with feeling, her ‘contempt‘ for the continued illegal persecution of birds of prey (see here). Her speech was warmly welcomed by those in the audience and many were hoping she would deliver the same […]
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Are red grouse safe to eat? Don’t rely on Government testing to tell you

About eighteen months ago in October 2015 we wrote a blog about the use of medicated grit to dose red grouse with a parasitic wormer drug called Flubendazole. We’d learned that this practice was largely unregulated (surprise!), that some grouse moor managers were using a super-strength drug that was 10 times, and sometimes 20 times, […]
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Andy Wightman MSP tables parliamentary motion for increased powers for SSPCA

Scottish Greens MSP Andy Wightman has tabled a parliamentary motion calling on the Scottish Government to increase the investigatory powers of the SSPCA. Regular blog readers will know that a succession of Environment Ministers (five!) in the Scottish Government have dragged out this fiasco for an embarrassingly long number of years (six years today, in […]
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Call to stop mountain hare culling in Cairngorms National Park

Animal charity OneKind is stepping up its campaign to stop the mass slaughter of mountain hares on Scottish grouse moors. You may remember OneKind organised a protest rally at Holyrood last November (see here), with the ingenious idea of replicating that now infamous photo of a truckload of dead mountain hares, with their own truckload […]
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