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A poisoned sparrowhawk, a poisoned bait, and a Royal estate in Norfolk

A couple of months ago an article was published in the Mail on Sunday about the ‘mysterious’ death of a satellite-tagged goshawk on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk (see here). We blogged about it (here) and mentioned a number of other raptor-related police investigations that had been undertaken on or near the estate. On […]
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SSPCA briefs MSPs on benefit of increased investigatory powers

As we await the long-overdue decision on whether the Scottish Government will approve an increase in investigatory powers for the SSPCA (see here), the SSPCA has today published a short briefing note which has been sent to all MSPs to encourage their support of this change in legislation. It’s a fantastic briefing note, short, succinct […]
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Raptor groups slam DEFRA’s Hen Harrier Plan

The Northern England Raptor Forum (NERF) has published a damning criticism of DEFRA’s Hen Harrier Action Plan in what it describes as a Year 1 Assessment. The Plan, as you know, was wheeled out by DEFRA in January 2016 and has been widely criticised by conservation organisations, not least for including the controversial element of […]
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More hen harriers on English grouse moors than people attended Trump’s inauguration. Fact. Or something

More ‘facts’ (bollocks) about hen harrier conservation from the Moorland Association – here.
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Raptor satellite tag review: the questions being addressed

As many of you will be aware, we are currently awaiting the publication of a review of raptor satellite tag data in Scotland. This review was commissioned in August 2016 by Environment Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, in response to the news that eight satellite-tagged golden eagles had all ‘disappeared’ in the Monadhliaths. She said she […]
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Crown Office drops third prosecution in two weeks

Two weeks ago, we blogged about how the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS – the public prosecutors in Scotland) had dropped a long-running vicarious liability prosecution against landowner Andrew Duncan, who was alleged to have been vicariously liable for the crimes of his gamekeeper, who had killed a buzzard on the Newlands Estate […]
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CEO of landowners’ lobby group Scottish Land & Estates announces departure

Serial raptor persecution denier Doug McAdam is to stand down as CEO of Scottish Land & Estates, according to a statement on SLE website (here). We’ll miss his persistent and unsupported claims that raptor persecution is in decline, that grouse moor management is great for biodiversity, that raptors thrive on driven grouse moors, that grouse […]
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Evidence session: petition to introduce gamebird hunting licensing

Last week the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee held an evidence session as part of their consideration of the Scottish Raptor Study Group’s petition calling for the introduction of state-regulated licensing for all game bird hunting in Scotland. The archived video of the session can be viewed here The official […]
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Prosecution dropped against gamekeeper in alleged hen harrier shooting

Regular blog readers will know we’ve been tracking the prosecution of Scottish gamekeeper Stanley Gordon, who was alleged to have shot a hen harrier on Cabrach Estate in Morayshire in June 2013. It took the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) almost three years to charge Mr Gordon, and they just beat the statutory […]
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Crowdfunder to help Andy Wightman fight defamation case

Andy Wightman has launched a crowdfunding appeal to help support his fight against a defamation case being brought against him by Wildcat Haven Enterprises CIC. The pursuer is also seeking an astonishing £750,000 in damages and if successful, would render Andy bankrupt which would result in him being ineligible to continue to serve as an […]
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Environment Committee takes evidence on licensing system for game bird hunting

This morning the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee will hear evidence on the Scottish Raptor Study Group’s petition to introduce a licensing system for all game bird hunting in Scotland. The evidence session starts at 10am and you can watch it live here
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Vicarious liability prosecution abandoned as ‘not in public interest to continue’

Last week we blogged about the Crown Office dropping all proceedings against landowner Andrew Walter Bryce Duncan, who was alleged to be vicariously liable for the criminal actions of his 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 […]
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Shot hen harrier Rowan: no further metallurgical tests

The farcical reporting about the shooting of young hen harrier Rowan continues. As you’ll recall, Rowan was satellite-tagged by the Hawk & Owl Trust / Natural England at Langholm in 2016. His corpse was discovered, in suspicious circumstances, in Cumbria /Yorkshire Dales National Park in October 2016, shortly before the Westminster debate on banning driven […]
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Suspicious meat baits on a Highland grouse moor

A few months ago one of our blog readers sent us a series of photographs and a report that a large number of meat baits had been found placed along a 250m estate boundary fence on a Highland grouse moor. The meat baits had attracted the attention of a number of red kites, buzzards and […]
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Remember those illegal pole traps found set on Mossdale Estate?

Remember those three illegally-set pole traps that were found on the Mossdale Estate in the Yorkshire Dales National Park last year? (Photo: RSPB) You know, the ones where a Mossdale Estate gamekeeper was filmed by the RSPB as he re-set them on posts on the grouse moor? (Photo: RSPB) Yes, the gamekeeper who escaped with […]
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More ‘extreme hairdressing’ as Highland grouse moors set alight

Last week, Scottish Land & Estates were warning of a high wildfire risk but said that ‘many grouse moors have already stopped their annual muirburn programme’ (here). Here are two that haven’t yet stopped (they don’t have to stop until the muirburn season ends on 15 April). First up is Moy Estate – we’ve blogged […]
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Buzzard, raven & crow shot in Brecon Beacons National Park

The RSPCA is appealing for information after the shooting of three birds in the Brecon Beacons National Park. A member of the public discovered a dead raven and a dead buzzard near Pen-y-Cae on 5 April 2017. They were taken to the RSPCA’s Merthyr Tydfil clinic where x-rays revealed they had been shot with a […]
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Vicarious liability prosecution: case dropped (Andrew Duncan, Newlands Estate)

Regular blog readers will know that we’ve been tracking the vicarious liability prosecution of landowner Andrew Walter Bryce Duncan, who was 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 […]
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GWCT’s 2017 Scottish Auction catalogue

The GWCT’s annual Scottish Auction fundraiser is set to take place at Prestonfield, Edinburgh on 4 May 2017. We’ve just been having a read of the auction catalogue. As ever, it’s quite an eye-opener. Have a look and see how many names you recognise: GWCT Scottish Auction 2017-Catalogue As well as the auction lots, there’s a […]
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Red kite shot in Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire police have issued the following appeal for information: APPEAL FOR INFORMATION ABOUT SHOOTING OF RED KITE 7 April 2017 Police are appealing for witnesses and information after a wounded bird of prey was taken to a vet in Buntingford. The Red Kite was spotted in Furneux Pelham, Buntingford, in distress and unable to fly. […]
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Killing red kites is de rigueur in Nidderdale AONB, North Yorkshire

Today the RSPB’s Investigations Team has published a blog focusing on red kite persecution in North Yorkshire. Many of you will already know that North Yorkshire is consistently rated as the worst county in the UK for recorded raptor persecution crimes and in recent years there has been steady report of illegally-killed or injured raptors, […]
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Red kite shot dead near Toddington, Bedfordshire

Bedfordshire Police and the RSPB are appealing for information following the discovery of shot red kite in Bedfordshire. A member of the public found the kite’s corpse at Daintry Wood near Toddington (unfortunately no date has been provided) and it was sent to ZSL for a post mortem where an x-ray revealed 10 pieces of […]
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More evidence to be heard on gamebird licensing petition

You may recall last summer the Scottish Raptor Study Group (SRSG) submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee, calling for a state-regulated licensing system for all gamebird hunting in Scotland. The Petitions Committee took evidence in October 2016 from the SRSG and RSPB Scotland (see here) and then evidence from the Scottish […]
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Police confirm RSPB staff did not have covered faces on estate search for missing eagle #338

For the benefit of those not on social media and who therefore may have missed this…… Further to yesterday’s blog (here) about the police search of North Glenbuchat Estate for missing golden eagle #338, Police Scotland has today stated that RSPB staff who assisted them on the search did NOT have covered faces. So, the […]
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More on ‘missing’ golden eagle #338, North Glenbuchat Estate

On Saturday 1 April 2017, we blogged about a satellite-tagged golden eagle (#338) that the RSPB reported had ‘disappeared’ after its last sat tag signal pinged in from the North Glenbuchat Estate in the Cairngorms National Park in early March (see here). The estate, via PR company Media House, issued a robust statement in response […]
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Armed man with tethered eagle owl on a Lammermuirs grouse moor

A couple of weeks ago one of our blog readers was walking on a grouse moor in the Lammermuirs when he came across a live eagle owl tethered to a post and an armed man loitering close by at the edge of a shelter belt of trees where a pair of buzzards is known to […]
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Satellite-tagged golden eagle ‘disappears’ on North Glenbuchat Estate in Cairngorms National Park

RSPB Scotland has released the following press statement: APPEAL FOR INFORMATION AFTER ANOTHER SATELLITE-TAGGED GOLDEN EAGLE “DISAPPEARS” RSPB Scotland has today issued an appeal for information following the disappearance of a satellite tagged golden eagle near Strathdon in Aberdeenshire. The young male eagle was fitted with a transmitter by a licensed raptor study group member, […]
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