Prolific egg collector pleads guilty to charges

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Part of Lingham’s collection

Most prolific egg collector in recent times took nearly 5,000 eggs, including those of rare and declining birds.

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Alison Johnstone Lothian MSP speaks out on Pentlands poisoned peregrine

October 10, 2018

Alison JohnstoneToday Alison Johnstone MSP for Lothian was so appalled about of the male peregrine falcon  found poisoned in the Pentland in May issued the attached statement.

Peregrine falcon found dead in the Pentland Hills

I am deeply saddened that yet another bird of prey has been illegally killed in the Pentland hills, just a few miles from the city of Edinburgh. Scotland’s birds of prey are supposedly protected, yet persecution is rife and rarely met with justice.

That a protected species could be killed using a deadly poison in a regional park that is visited by over half a million people every year is shocking. I will be asking questions of the Scottish Government and Police Scotland to get to the bottom of this failure to protect our wildlife and the public. But it also raises a wider disregard for the law amongst certain parts of the land management community that the Scottish Government is failing to counter effectively. We urgently need to see wildlife crime taken seriously and backed up with sufficient resources and tougher penalties.

Adult male peregrine found poisoned in the Pentland Hills Nr Edinburgh

Police Scotland Official Statement

Police Scotland received a report of a dead peregrine falcon on Thursday 25 May 2018 in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh.

The dead bird was recovered from the Green Cleuch area of the hills in Midlothian.

Detective Constable Andrew Loughlin said: “After extensive inquiries were carried out in collaboration with partner organisations, the bird was found to have been poisoned.

Our investigation has concluded that this appears to have been deliberate as we do not believe that under the circumstances the poison could have been used legitimately.

The investigation has now concluded and no further Police action is being taken at this time.

We take wildlife crime like this very seriously and would urge anyone who has information about crime involving birds of prey to contact Police Scotland on 101 or make a report anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

 

Footnote:

The way this case has been handled with no publicity until  now, nearly 5 months after the event was reported to the police is clearly not good enough. Who took the decision to keep the circumstances secret?

Press Release:Humberside Police investigating the death of a Buzzard found with trap wounds to the head

We are investigating the suspicious death of a common buzzard found at the end of August in the western area of the East Riding of Yorkshire.

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Continue reading Press Release:Humberside Police investigating the death of a Buzzard found with trap wounds to the head

New Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (PPDG), a new beginning?

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Let me start with an introduction, I am a Police Superintendent and I have been a police officer now for approaching 18 years. In that time have had the privilege of working with some of the finest people you will ever meet, let it be known that I work with everyday heroes and I am immensely proud to be a cop. I live in a rural village, and while writing this blog can see and hear a Red Kite out of the window, importantly may their continued resurgence be everlasting.

I have recently been appointed as the new National Chair of the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group. The Raptor PPDG is one of six such Priority Delivery Groups nationally, and I am extremely proud to have been asked to lead this important work.

Continue reading New Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (PPDG), a new beginning?

‘Throwing Down the Gauntlet’- ‘Driven Grouse Shooting.’ Their bluff has been called.

Well with clockwork regularity another season’s fledged hen harriers ‘disappear’ over grouse moors. They’re not even making an effort to throttle back in the face of growing censure, in fact they seem to be giving conservationists, the public and the law a bigger two finger salute than ever. Time to return the gesture, but the thing is we don’t have to resort to breaking the law or raw insult we just have to ask as members of the public for what we always should have had. Given that it’s our taxes and too often politicians that are already supporting driven grouse shooting – we need an Independent, Comprehensive Economic Analysis to determine if Driven Grouse Shooting in England is of any economic benefit, and to find out if we are giving subsidies to something that actually deserves them.

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The above image shows a small part of the Duke of Westminster’s Forest of Bowland’s grouse moor holdings. In 1979 there were over 12 breeding pairs of Hen Harriers distributed across the estate then owned by the late Lord Sefton. In 1980 the estate comprising of several separate grouse moors were sold to the Late Duke of Westminster. By 1985 the 12 breeding pairs of Harriers had been reduced to just a single breeding pair. Today there are no breeding Hen Harriers or Peregrine Falcons located on estates in Bowland owned by the Westminster family.

Please sign the attached Parliament Petition by following the link below, this is so important if we do not wish to see our English raptors all disappear from red grouse moors in our lifetime.

The petition – https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/226109

Continue reading ‘Throwing Down the Gauntlet’- ‘Driven Grouse Shooting.’ Their bluff has been called.

New report: over half the world’s raptors have declining populations

We interview our Chief Scientist, Stuart Butchart, about a newly published paper: State of the World’s Raptors. What threats face this iconic group of birds, and what can we do to help?

Why is it important to focus on the status of raptors in particular?

From ghostly owls to majestic birds of prey, raptors are among the most iconic birds, but they are also highly threatened, with many of the larger species requiring large tracts of intact forest, and others persecuted because of their supposed impacts on livestock or game. We teamed up with researchers at the Peregrine Fund to undertake the first assessment focused specifically on the status of this group.

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Image by Jessica Law

Continue reading New report: over half the world’s raptors have declining populations

Irish Raptor Study Group challenges Donegal wind farm permission 29th August 2018

Presence of endangered Hen Harrier on wind farm site should have been verified.

The Irish Raptor Study Group was today granted permission to bring judicial review proceedings challenging a decision of An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission for a 19-turbine wind farm located at Meenbog in South Eastern Donegal.

The proposed development site is located in an area which is specially designated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service as regionally important for the protection of Hen Harrier. While the developer in its application did not identify the presence of breeding Hen Harrier on the wind farm site IRSG volunteers had identified two pairs of breeding Hen Harrier in the same area.

Meenbog wind farm is in an area of South Donegal that supports up to 7% of the national breeding population of Hen Harrier in the Republic and the IRSG expressed serious concerns to An Bord Pleanála about the impact the proposed development would have on the species.

According to IRSG Chairperson Ryan Wilson-Parr, “IRSG offered to show An Bord Pleanála exactly where these breeding sites were so that the impact on this threatened species could be fully assessed before a decision on whether to grant permission was made. However rather than resolving this crucial conflict of evidence, the Bord, proceeded to grant permission without regard to whether there would be an impact on the Hen Harrier breeding pairs that IRSG identified on the site”

“In our view this is a serious breach of Ireland’s obligations under the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and the Birds Directive, measures intended to provide a high degree of environmental protection including specific protections for the habitats of endangered bird species such as the Hen Harrier.”

Mr Wilson-Parr, Chair of IRSG said “IRSG is confident that An Bord Pleanála failed to meet its obligations under EU law regarding protection of Hen Harrier and that its decision will be set aside by the High Court”

He added: “I would like to sincerely thank Fred Logue of FP Logue Solicitors, and David Browne BL for their excellent work on this case”.

The case will return to the Court on 19 September at which point the court will set a timetable for the proceedings

Grouse moors: Working together to achieve shared outcomes

A training workshop for Natural England employees and those working in upland management recently took place on the North York Moors.

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The training workshop brought moorland management and knowledge sharing out into the field.

The National Gamekeepers Organisation has provided an industry-led free grouse moor training day at Snilesworth Estate on the North York Moors (02 August) to help improve land management and enhance local wildlife.

Continue reading Grouse moors: Working together to achieve shared outcomes

Yorkshire gamekeeper caught red handed killing two short-eared owls.


 

On the 19th April 2017 RSPB officers witnessed Timothy David Cowin shoot two protected short eared owls in the Langshaw Moss area of the Whernside shoot. The disposal of the bodies on the moor was filmed, officers from North Yorkshire and Cumbria Police met RSPB at the location and intercepted Cowin. The bodies were recovered along with a Foxpro calling device. On 28th August 2018 Cowin plead guilty to shooting the owls and possessing the Foxpro. He was fined a total of £1000 and ordered to pay £170 costs.

After being shot the gamekeeper then buried the bodies of both owls in a stone wall.

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