Tayside Police are appealing for witnesses after a Golden Eagle was found dead in the Glen Quaich area on Monday the 25th of April.
An investigation is underway after officers attended the site and removed the eagle. A post-mortem will be carried out to determine the cause of death. Anyone with information should call Tayside Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The Glen Quaich area which is part of the wider Strathbraan area has seen several incidents surrounding birds of prey over the last several years.
Blog Raptor Prosecution UK, which follows and tracks incidents of Raptor Persecution, highlights “the relentless and illegal killing of birds of prey in the UK”, posted about the report point that there have been a series of raptor killed or gone missing in the area in recent years.
In 2018 a White-Tailed Eagle disappeared in the area. In 2019 a Hen Harrier named Rannoch, was killed in an illegal trap in the same area. With another Hen Harrier named Heather going missing nearby in 2018.
In 2020 a Peregrine falcon was shot, with a Long-Eared Owl found in an illegal trap shortly after. The bodies of 100 dead birds believed to be crows were found floating in a loch in 2019, with it feared they were part of an illegal cull.
Speaking in a release from the RSPB about the death of Hen Harrier Rannoch, Ian Thomson, Head of Investigations Scotland, said: “This latest killing of a hen harrier is truly appalling. The actions of the individual who set this trap were both reckless and indiscriminate, and showed a complete disregard for both the law and the welfare of local wildlife. Sadly, the catalogue of criminal killing of tagged hen harriers and other birds of prey continues unabated; we know many others are illegally killed and going undetected, so her death is part of the tip of the iceberg of the true level of criminality.”
In January 2022 Nature Scotland issued Lochan Estate which sits in the area, and offers Grouse shoot days, with those participating meeting at the Amulree village hall, a ban on the the use of their general licences.
With the press release from NatureScot saying that this was done based on evidence provided by Police Scotland of wildlife crimes against birds. The evidence relates to the 2019 incident of a Hen Harrier found dead on the estate in an illegally set spring trap.
General licenses allow landowners and land managers to carry out actions which would otherwise be illegal including controlling common spices of wild birds to protect crops or livestock. The restrictions will prevent people from using the general licenses on the land for three years, with the period extendable if more evidence of offences come to light.
Speaking in the press release Donald Fraser, NatureScot’s Head of Wildlife Management, said: “We are committed to using all the tools we have available to tackle wildlife crime. In this case, there is clear evidence that crime involving a wild bird occurred on this property. Because of this, and the risk of more wildlife crimes taking place, we have suspended the general licences on this property for three years. They may still apply for individual licences, but these will be closely monitored.
“This measure will help to protect wild birds in the area, while still allowing necessary land management activities to take place, although under tighter supervision. We believe this is a proportionate response to protect wild birds in the area and prevent further wildlife crime.
“We work closely with Police Scotland and will continue to consider information they provide us on cases which may warrant restriction of general licences. The detection of wildlife crime can be difficult but new and emerging technologies, along with a commitment from a range of partners to take a collective approach to these issues, will help us stop this from occurring in the future.”
Following the ban speaking to the BBC the estate said: “The estate categorically rejects any suggestion of wrongdoing in relation to the welfare of wildlife.
“We made very robust representations five months ago and only received the notification this week, which we found surprising given the material we produced.
“We will therefore be appealing this decision.”
Raptor Persecution reporeted in March this year that Lochan Estates lost their appeal.