Buzzard poisoned in Peak District National Park

RSPB Press Release

A protected bird of prey has been illegally poisoned in one of the UK’s worst raptor persecution blackspots.

In April 2019 a member of the public found a buzzard freshly dead in woodland near Tintwistle, just north of Valehouse Reservoir, in the Peak District National Park. Close by were the remains of a red-legged partridge.

Continue reading Buzzard poisoned in Peak District National Park

Independent Grouse Moor Review does not go far or fast enough to tackle raptor crimes

RSPB Press Release:

‘Werritty’ Review Group publishes findings

RSPB Scotland has given a cautious welcome to the publication today of the long-anticipated report by the Scottish Government’s Independent Grouse Moor Review Group, chaired by Professor Alan Werritty.

We support the recommendations relating to regulation of muirburn and better safeguards for mountain hare populations, however regret that panel behind the report has not been bold enough to recommend the immediate licensing of driven grouse moors

Continue reading Independent Grouse Moor Review does not go far or fast enough to tackle raptor crimes

Hen Harrier ‘Ada’ reported as disappered on Grouse Moor in the North Peninnes

Joint Press Release from Northumbria Police and RSPB (27 Nov 2019)

Ada being fitted with a satellite tag as a chick this summer

Ada hatched on a nest on the Scottish borders this summer (2019). She was fitted with a lightweight satellite tag as part of the RSPB’s Hen Harrier LIFE project, to learn more about the journeys made by these rare birds of prey and the survival challenges they face.
Continue reading Hen Harrier ‘Ada’ reported as disappered on Grouse Moor in the North Peninnes

Rosie the missing Hen Harrier found alive but not on Grouse Moor.

Great News, Rosie the missing Hen Harrier found alive and well, but looking at the map of the area where this last Hen Harrier went missing does not look like a Red Grouse moor.
Rosie being fitted with a satellite tag in Yorkshire earlier this year

Continue reading Rosie the missing Hen Harrier found alive but not on Grouse Moor.

North Yorkshire Police appeal after injured marsh harrier found near Scarborough

Marsh-HarrierwebPolice are appealing for information after an injured marsh harrier was found near Scarborough. The bird was found at 4pm on Sunday 18 August 2019 by a member of the public in a stubble field close to the village of Hutton Buscel near Scarborough.It was taken to local wildlife rehabilitator Jean Thorpe for care, and was subsequently taken to a veterinary practice for examination. The marsh harrier was found to have a broken left wing with a shotgun pellet lodged next to the fracture, which shows the bird had been subjected to persecution.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said: “Sadly, North Yorkshire is the UK’s worst hotspot for confirmed cases of bird of prey persecution. This magnificent bird has been very fortunate to survive, largely thanks to the dedication and care given by Jean Thorpe, but is yet another example of a wildlife crime having taken place against our birds of prey.”

North Yorkshire Police have carried out extensive enquiries in the Hutton Buscel area. Officers are appealing for anyone with any information, or who may have witnessed anything taking place in relation to this bird, to contact PC Mark Atkinson at Malton Police Station by dialling 101, quoting reference number 12190155625.


New Rewilding organisation launced in Scotland

On Saturday 21st September a new organisation was launched at the ‘Rewilding’ conference held at Stirling University. It was the Scottish Rewilding Alliance – 17 organisations had joined up as they all thought this was a great way of pushing the benefits of ‘Rewilding’ which include increase wildlife,  jobs in rural areas and expanding tourism. These organisations were Southern Uplands Partnership, John Muir Trust, Reforesting Scotland, Mountaineering Scotland, Woodland Trust Scotland, Borders Forest Trust, Scotland The Big Picture, Trees for Life, Rewilding Britain, Open Seas, Royal Zoological Society Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scottish Wild Beaver Group, Scottish Raptor Study Group, Community Woodlands Association, The European Nature Trust and Scottish Badgers.


Continue reading New Rewilding organisation launced in Scotland

Raptor Persecution in the Forest of Bowland, a video interview with Terry Pickford.

Terry Pickford a founder member of the North West Raptor Group (1967), provides his views in the attached video of the ongoing raptor persecution taking place throughout Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland. Terry points out that the persecution of raptors in his opinion is currently much worse now than it was 40 years ago. Many followers will be astounded to learn that since 2006 Peregrine nesting pairs in the Forest of Bowland have been reduced from 18 to a single breeding pair, with many breeding territories completely destroyed making their future use impossible. No one will be surprised to learn both the Peregrine and Hen Harrier are now being forcibly restricted from settling to breed on all of Bowland’s privately owned shooting estates, being contained to one estate owned by United Utilities Plc.


A call for support from the RSPB by John Armitage.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


John Armitage former Regional RSPB Officer Forest of Bowland

It’s some little time since I put out an entry on this Blog. There are good reasons for this as it happens , but the explanations can wait as the topic below demands urgent action from us all.

Recently the Directors of Wild Justice registered an E-petition calling for a ban on driven grouse shooting.  I’m presuming at this point that readers are conversant with the background details and arguments surrounding such a plea.  As I look at the petition site this afternoon the number of signatures stands at 69,153, a truly remarkable response given the little time which has elapsed since it went public. To gain a debate by elected members of Parliament the number of signatures must reach 100, 000 and preferably  be in excess of that figure. As many will probably know there has already been one debate associated with the petition dealing with the same subject matter and based on a previous petition registered by Mark Avery. The ensuing proceedings can only be described as a travesty, if not resulting in a wholly predictable outcome.

Continue reading A call for support from the RSPB by John Armitage.

The Langholm Moor Working Group are working on a community land buyout to make nature reserve.

Langholm Moor Nature Reserve: Community Land Buy-Out

The Langholm Moor Working Group are working on a community land buy out to establish the Langholm Moor Nature Reserve to benefit the local people, nature conservation & tourism.

Continue reading The Langholm Moor Working Group are working on a community land buyout to make nature reserve.

Scottish Courts: Sentencing wildlife criminals a complete shambles..

This Guardian story below is now over 4 years old, however it highlights the inconsistencies and shambles in Scottish Courts when sentencing wildlife criminals today. In 2015 George Mutch gamekeeper was sentenced to 4 months in prison by Aberdeen Sheriff Court after being found guilty of 4 charges, including setting stares hitting a goshawk over the head in 2012. Read about the case HERE.

Sheriff Noel McPartlin hearing the case against Mutch said “the persecution of wild birds was a huge problem”.

He said: “Having regard to the gravity of the offence, I am of the view that there is no other method of dealing with you which is appropriate to this case other than the imposition of a custodial sentence.”


Alan Wilson outside court last week

Now compare the sentence handed down to George Mutch with the more recent successful prosecution of Alan Wilson, 61, of Duns, who admitted to nine charges including killing goshawks, buzzards, badgers and an otter. Other charges against Wilson involved the setting of illegal snares and possessing illegal pesticides. In addition the court was shown records where Wilson kept ‘kill lists’ of 1000 animals he’d slaughtered and then dumped the bodies in stink pit.


Goshawk image courtesy of Sam Hobson

Wilson was ordered to carry out 225 hours unpaid work and given a restriction of liberty order. Wow!

An undercover Scottish SPCA investigator described what Wilson had done as a “despicable case of serious and systematic crimes to indiscriminately remove wildlife from an estate”. “The sheer volume of dead wildlife discovered is truly shocking,” the investigator added.

We understand the Scottish Gamekeepers Association have now expelled Wilson from his SGA membership. That’s great, but what does this sentence signify? It’s certainly was no deterrent, indeed the leniency of the sentence invites others of the same ilk as Wilson to carry on their killing and take the ‘punishment.’

Because of the huge scale of killing taking place on this single estate carried out by one man, someone on the estate must have seen the evidence lying around the estate grounds uncovered by investigators. We would like to think the police are at least investigating the possibility of  prosecuting the estate owner under the Vicarious Liability legislation for what was taking place for all to see?

There are now calls for stricter penalties for wildlife crimes as Scottish gamekeeper avoids jail after killing protected birds. You can read the Revive Coalition article HERE