Moy Estate raptor poisoning - police swoop

Tony Gosling tony at
Sat Jun 5 10:50:29 BST 2010

much more on this story here

Children tracking red kite trigger huge bird poisoning raid by police
Published Date: 04 June 2010
WILDLIFE crime investigators raided a Scottish estate after 
schoolchildren monitoring a rare red kite sparked a major inquiry.

A 45-strong team entered the 25,000-acre Moy Estate, south of 
Inverness, yesterday morning following a surveillance operation 
lasting several weeks.

A number of poisoned birds of prey, including red kites, sparrowhawks 
and merlins, were removed. It was also reportd that a poisoned grouse 
carcase had been removed.

One of the recovered red kites had been satellite-tagged and adopted 
by children at Carrbridge School who were monitoring its progress 
online via the Eyes in the Skies website. Suspicions arose after the 
signal from the bird stopped moving.

The joint operation involved 25 officers from Northern Constabulary 
as well as investigators from Scottish Natural Heritage, RSPB 
Scotland, the Scottish SPCA, Scottish Wildlife Crime Unit and the 
Scottish Government's Rural Payments Inspectorate.

Outside the estate, Chief Inspector Andrew MacLean, the force's 
Inverness area commander, said: "This was an intelligence-led 
operation into the deaths of protected birds, including red kites and 
other birds of prey which have been found on this estate during the 
last month and are known to have been poisoned."

He added: "Wildlife crime is a blight on the environment and a 
serious concern to the public.

"Northern Constabulary consider such crime a serious risk to the 
safety of the public and have demonstrated today our intention to 
rigorously deal with reports of wildlife crime, in particular the 
poisoning of wildlife on open ground which is accessible to the public."

Stuart Housden, director of RSPB Scotland, said: "Serious crimes 
against our most spectacular birds and wildlife are utterly 
deplorable, and do major harm to our reputation as a country that 
values and cares for its wildlife and natural environment.

"There is a growing body of compelling evidence which demonstrates 
the scale and impact that illegal poisoning is having on the 
populations of iconic birds of prey such as the red kite and golden eagle."

A RSPB report in March showed that 27 birds of prey were killed last 
year, including golden eagles, buzzards, red kites and a sea eagle.

Last month three golden eagles, a sparrowhawk and buzzard, were found 
dead near Skibo Castle in Sutherland amid fears they had been poisoned.

More than 200 Scottish landowners have since called for those 
involved in the illegal poisoning of birds of prey to face the "full 
weight of the law".

No-one at the Moy Estate was available for comment yesterday.

Douglas McAdam, chief executive of the landowners' group, The 
Scottish Rural Property and Business Association, said: "We do not 
yet know the full facts of this case. We are appalled none the less 
at what appears to be yet further illegal persecution against 
Scotland's wildlife, but we do need to await the outcome of the legal 
process to determine where guilt lies."

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