News : Apr 2014

Conon Bridge raptor massacre: death toll reaches 19 as reward for information rises to £26,000.

9 April 2014

The number of dead raptors found in the Conon Bridge area has risen to 19 (14 red kites and five buzzards). The reward for information has been boosted to £26,000 after a group of local farmers and landowners pledged £12,000 for in formation leading to a successful conviction (article in the Guardian here). If you’d like to make a donation please visit the donations page here. Public outrage at this atrocity has led to a planned demonstration in Inverness town centre this Saturday.

Conon Bridge raptor massacre: death toll reaches 18

8 April 2014

According to the BBC, the number of dead raptors found in the Conon Bridge area over the last few weeks has now risen again to a disgraceful 18 dead birds. These include 13 red kites and five buzzards. At least six of the birds have been confirmed as being poisoned. We await the results of tests on the other bodies but poisoning is suspected for all of them. Members of the public have so far donated nearly £4,000 to the reward fund, adding to the £5,000 offered by RSPB Scotland and the £5,000 given by an anonymous donor.

SRSG deeply concerned about police failure to attend a suspected poisoning incident

7 April 2014

The Scottish Raptor Study Group is deeply concerned about the reported failure of both Police Scotland and the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) to attend the scene of a suspected raptor poisoning incident in South Lanarkshire.
According to the Raptor Persecution Scotland website, a member of the public found a dead peregrine in suspicious circumstances close to the boundary of Leadhills Estate, near Abington, in February. The finder immediately called the police but was told it was not a police matter. The RSPB was then called, and they contacted the NWCU to ask for a police presence at the scene. PC Charles Everitt of NWCU is alleged to have told the RSPB that it wasn’t a police matter as there was no evidence of a crime.
The RSPB attended the scene and collected the dead bird. Government tests later showed it had been poisoned with the banned pesticide Carbofuran.
Ronnie Graham, one of a number of local Raptor Study Group fieldworkers who monitor raptor breeding success in the area said: “I’m absolutely appalled. Raptor persecution in this particular area has been ongoing for decades. Over the years, countless poisoned baits have been found here and only last year a large cache of Carbofuran-laced baits was discovered very close to where this dead peregrine was found. Poisoning should have been immediately suspected in this incident and the area should have been flooded with officers looking for baits. My colleagues and I would like to know why Police Scotland and the NWCU didn’t think this was a police matter – we were under the impression that wildlife crime was supposed to be a police priority”.
The SRSG will be asking Police Scotland and the NWCU for an explanation about the failed police response to this serious crime.

Conon Bridge raptor massacre: reward increased to £10,000

3 April 2014

A ‘deeply concerned’ member of the public has donated £5,000 to the reward for information about the mass poisoning of red kites and buzzards in Ross-shire. Added to the £5,000 already being offered by RSPB Scotland, it is hoped that the £10,000 will encourage anyone who knows about this atrocity to come forward and speak to the police. Further information about this disgraceful crime, and the history of red kite poisoning in the Black Isle, can be read here.

“The worst two weeks of my life”, says RSPB Scotland’s Red Kite Officer

2 April 2014

We are all devastated for SRSG member Brian Etheridge, the man who has monitored red kites in the Black Isle for almost twenty years and is now having to pick up the bodies of those same birds, now feared poisoned in one of the worst raptor persecution incidents in Scotland for many years. Click here to read what Brian had to say.

Conon Bridge raptor death toll rises to 16

1 April 2014

In what looks increasingly like a mass poisoning incident, the number of dead raptors recovered from the Conon Bridge area has now increased to 16, including 12 red kites and four buzzards. These deaths will have a devastating impact on the Black Isle red kite population; a population already known to be constrained by illegal persecution.