SEA EAGLE NEST DESTROYED ON SCOTTISH ESTATE

Police are investigating allegations that an eagle’s nest was destroyed in Angus, the BBC has learned.

Felled tree which it is claimed white-tailed eagles had been building a nest in
It has been alleged that a tree containing a white-tailed eagle’s nest was felled

Continue reading “SEA EAGLE NEST DESTROYED ON SCOTTISH ESTATE”

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BIRD TRAPS ‘POSE RISK TO RAPTORS’

Birds of prey in Scotland will be at risk of injury or death because of a decision to allow the use of so-called “clam traps”, according to campaigners.

Wildlife organisations say the clam traps will pose an increased risk to raptors
Wildlife organisations say the clam traps will pose an increased risk to raptors

RSPB Scotland and the Scottish SPCA are among organisations which have called on Scottish Natural Heritage to reconsider its policy.

SNH has agreed to license the use of clam traps from next year.

The trap system works by snapping shut when a bird lands on a perch to feed on bait.

They are designed to capture crows and magpies, but RSPB Scotland said “non-target” species such as buzzards and sparrowhawks would also be at risk.

It is claimed larger traps could even pose a threat to golden eagles.

Duncan Orr-Ewing, of RSPB Scotland, said:

There have been many recent incidents, including some resulting in prosecutions, illustrating the widespread misuse of the current range of traps and the deliberate targeting of protected species.

“RSPB Scotland has documented 127 confirmed incidents related to the use of ‘crow’ traps over the last 10 years, including the deliberate killing of captured birds of prey, the starvation of trapped birds, and evidence of a widespread lackadaisical attitude towards adherence to current licence conditions.

“With this in mind, we are very concerned that the licensing of new, untested traps will only increase the threats faced by our raptors.”

The Chief Superintendent of the Scottish SPCA, Mike Flynn, told BBC Scotland:

“We did recommend that these clam traps should be subject to an independent, scientific trial before being licensed.

“Until such a trial has taken place, which demonstrates that these traps do not cause injury or harm to any species caught, the Scottish SPCA continues to have concerns over them.”

‘Effective tools’

The legal status of clam traps had been unclear and gamekeepers have welcomed SNH’s decision to license their use on a trial basis, arguing a wide range of species including wading birds and red squirrels will benefit.

Chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association Alex Hogg said:

“We and other land-based agencies welcome the clarity that has been provided by SNH on the matter of identifying legal traps for use.

“Clam traps have been used for the past four years with no evidence of welfare issues.

“They are used as effective tools for the protection of game birds from predation. Black grouse and waders, whose numbers are of conservation concern, have also been shown to benefit.”

Scottish Natural Heritage has pledged to monitor the use of clam traps carefully.

Ben Ross, SNH’s licensing manager, said:

“We will commission objective research on these traps; if the research shows they pose unacceptable risks, we will then prohibit them.

“We’ll also work with partners to develop a code of practice for the use of traps.”

Story by BBC © 2012

BBC Autumnwatch 2012 and Winterwatch 2013

Autumnwatch returns in an exciting new format,

Designed to capture the very best wildlife action of autumn.

Broadcast live for four days in late October,

Autumnwatch will be followed by brand new live series,

Winterwatch, for four days in in January.

Each will be a major live event on BBC Two. Both will be based at a new location in Scotland at the heart of the season’s wildlife action, and will showcase the beauty and drama of these dynamic and diverse seasons.

Continue reading “BBC Autumnwatch 2012 and Winterwatch 2013”

Fishing leaders ‘disappointed’ after mackerel talks

Scottish fishing leaders have said they are disappointed that fresh discussions led to no agreement to end the long-running dispute over mackerel quotas.

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Mackerel has been at the centre of an international dispute over quotas

The EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes were all represented at the talks.

The island nations have been criticised for declaring huge catches of the valuable fish in recent years, leading to fears for its sustainability.

The Scottish Pelagic Fishermens’ Association (SPFA) said Europe must now implement sanctions.

EU Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, was meeting with fisheries ministers from Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

SPFA chief executive, Ian Gatt, said:

“We are disappointed that there was no breakthrough.

“If it is not possible to reach agreement at this high level, then one has to question whether there is any hope at all for the next round of talks scheduled for October.

“This makes it even more important than ever that the European Parliament ratifies sanction measures against Iceland and the Faroes this month, and that the EU wastes no time in immediately implementing them.”

‘Sensible deal’
Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said the outcome of the latest talks was “disappointing but sadly predictable”.

He added:

“Recent years show that Iceland and the Faroes have a track-record in demonstrating a lack of willingness to compromise and reach a fair deal for mackerel.

“By initiating these talks, Commissioner Damanaki has demonstrated her personal resolve to finding a solution that will see a sensible deal in place to safeguard the mackerel stock. However, once again diplomacy has failed.

“It’s unacceptable for any state to compromise the sustainability of a shared fishery by setting hugely inflated quotas. And if we continue to see self-interest and stubbornness as the hallmark of the Iceland and Faroese stances then we need the EU to be equipped to take meaningful action.”

Mackerel is the most valuable stock for the Scottish fleet.

Landings of the fish were worth £164m in 2011 – about a third of the Scottish total.

Story Reported by BBC 

GOLDEN EAGLE KILLED BY A TRAP

BBC NEWS ARE REPORTING THAT A GOLDEN EAGLE ‘WAS KILLED BY A TRAP’

The golden eagle was found under a tree near a country road

A golden eagle suffered a lingering death after its legs were broken by a trap, RSPB Scotland has said.

The bird had been fitted with a satellite transmitter which showed it had not moved for several days.

Its body was found, lying face down with its wings folded, under a tree and close to a lay-by on a quiet country road near Aboyne on Deeside.

RSPB Scotland has offered a £1,000 reward for information that leads to a successful prosecution in the case.

The bird was found on 5 May, before being taken for a post-mortem examination at the Scottish Agricultural College laboratory in Aberdeen.

This concluded that the bird had suffered two broken legs due to trauma

“that could be consistent with an injury caused by a spring type trap” and that the severity of these injuries “would prevent the bird from being able to take off”.

The bird had been fitted with a transmitter by RSPB Scotland staff, in full partnership with a local landowner, a few days before it had fledged from a nest in the Monadhliath Mountains, south-east of Inverness, in July 2011.

Stuart Housden RSPB Scotland said –

“Anyone who cares about our wildlife will be disgusted by what appears to be an appalling crime and the lengths taken to hide the facts from discovery”

By re-examining the satellite data, RSPB Scotland staff discovered the young bird spent its first few months in that area before venturing further afield. By April 2012 it was frequenting an area of upper Deeside, before moving south-west into Glenshee.

On 28 April, the bird moved eastwards into Angus. The following day, at 06:00, the bird was located on a hillside overlooking Glen Esk.

Over the next 15 hours, a succession of satellite tag readings, accurate to within less than 20 metres, showed that the bird did not move from this precise spot until at least 21:00 that evening, after nightfall.

However, by 04:00 the next morning, it appeared to have travelled, during the hours of darkness, some 10 miles north, to the location where its body was discovered five days later.

Satellite readings revealed that while the bird did not move from this position, it was probably alive until 4 May.

Follow-up enquires by both Tayside and Grampian Police found no further evidence about how the eagle sustained its injuries.

Lingering death’

It could also not be established how the eagle came to move from Glen Esk to a position under a tree branch on Deeside overnight.

However, a number of eagle down-feathers were found between the lay-by and the bird’s final resting place.

Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s head of investigations, commented:

“It is disgraceful that this magnificent bird was subjected to such suffering. The post-mortem evidence suggests that this bird was caught in an illegally-set trap, smashing both legs.

“The data obtained from the satellite transmitter indicated that the eagle did not move from one spot, on a hill high above Glen Esk, for over 15 hours.

“Then, during the night, when eagles do not readily fly, it has inexplicably moved to a new position, hidden under a tree and close to a road. Here, over the next four days, this eagle suffered a lingering death.”

‘Dreadful case’

Stuart Housden, RSPB Scotland director, added:

“Whilst efforts to stamp out the illegal poisoning of birds of prey are perhaps beginning to yield results, this dreadful case shows that the persecution of our raptors continues through the use of traps and other means.

“We call upon anyone who can provide further information about this case to contact the wildlife crime officer at either Tayside or Grampian Police without delay.

“Cases like this really do have a negative impact on Scotland’s reputation as a country that respects and values all its wildlife heritage. I am today offering a £1,000 reward for information that will assist a successful prosecution.”

A satellite-tagged golden eagle, named Alma by researchers, was found to have been illegally poisoned in Glen Esk in 2009, while other poisoned eagles fitted with transmitters were found in Grampian in 2011, and in Lochaber earlier this year.

Click Here For The Full BBC Report:-

SCOTTISH WILDCATS COULD BE EXTINCT WITHIN MONTHS !

BBC NEWS ARE REPORTING THAT SCOTTISH WILDCATS ARE ON THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION

Scottish Wildcat

A team from the Scottish Wildcat Association (SWA) reviewed 2,000 confirmed sightings, SWA said the analysis suggested there could be 35 wildcats – far fewer than previously thought.

Other research has estimated that there could be less than 400 pure-bred cats.

Last month, a report on a project funded by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) estimated that there were 150 breeding pairs left.

Disease and inter-breeding are the two main threats to numbers of pure-bred wildcats.

Of the 2,000 records of hybrids and wildcats looked at by the SWA team less than 20 were deemed to comply with the accepted coat-marking identifiers of the true wildcat.

With an estimated 3,500 hybrids in Scotland the SWA said this would mean there were just 35 wildcats remaining.

SWA chairman Steve Piper said:

“However you juggle the figures it’s hard to find anything positive.

“If you ignore the eyewitness sightings because they’re unreliable the numbers get even worse.

“Even if you decide the population of hybrids is larger you have to multiply it to impossible levels to get to the commonly quoted figure of 400 wildcats.

“The overwhelming evidence is that the wildcat is going to be extinct within months, anything else is blind hope.”

Click Here For The Full BBC Report:-

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Scottish wildcat conservation project Highland Tiger has created this official introductory film explaining the issues faced by the Scottish wildcat and what can be done to help these amazing animals.

Click here for the Official Highland Tiger Website

Wildflowers The Winners In Wet Weather

The recent poor weather is having an effect on Scotlands wildlife, but the news isnt all bad.

While the weather could have been harmful to ground nesting birds, some plant life is positively thriving. The BBC recently visited our Jupiter Urban Wildlife Garden to see for themselves.

Click here to see the impact of the weather on wildlife at Jupiter.

Simon Milne, Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust said:

In areas where theres been heavy amounts of rainfall, it interferes with butterflies life cycle, meaning their lifespan is reduced and that causes problems with population numbers. Ground-nesting birds can be vulnerable to wet weather, with nests being flooded and chicks dying from the cold. Species such as grouse are particularly at risk.

The effects could be short lived as wildlife is only really affected with prolonged bad weather. Scotlands wildlife populations could recover if next spring is warmer and drier than this year.

Simon Milne said:

Wildlife can be fairly resilient to wet and cold, as long as its not a constant pattern. We can get away with it for one year and populations can recover. However, if we have a second or third year of this sort of weather, it can have a huge impact.