Concern as Inversnaid Feral Goat Cull Resumes

RSPB Scotland has resumed a controversial cull of feral goats on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond.

The environmental organisation is facing criticism from local people, who fear the cull could wipe out the entire population of goats around Inversnaid.

The animals are popular with tourists and walkers on the West Highland Way.

But their voracious appetites cause problems for conservationists and RSPB Scotland says it needs to protect the rich woodland habitat.

It wants to reduce goat numbers in the Inversnaid area from about 69 to 30 in the coming years.

Reserves manager Robert Coleman said:

“This is Scotland’s rainforest. We’ve got a huge range of moss and lichen here. In fact, 5% of all of the world’s moss species are represented in Scotland and this habitat is an excellent example of that diversity.

“By managing the herbivores, deer and goats, we can ensure the longevity of this habitat and make sure there are trees, mosses and lichens in the future while ensuring we maintain the populations of herbivores within the area as well.”

Feral goats on the banks of Loch Lomond are popular with tourists
Feral goats on the banks of Loch Lomond are popular with tourists

Twenty goats are due to be shot this year. The local community council and the British Feral Goat Research Group believe the remaining population may be too small to survive a series of harsh winters.

Community councillor Andre Goulancourt told BBC Scotland:

“If the goats were at a low number and we had two or three successive bad winters then we would end up with no goats.

“These goats have been here for a long time and they represent an asset to the tourist industry that Inversnaid depends on. The local people enjoy seeing them too and it would be a great loss if the goats were to disappear.”

‘Important elements’

But Scottish Natural Heritage has backed the cull.

Alan McDonnell, of SNH, said:

“A recent survey found that goat numbers are higher than previously thought, and the cull is necessary to bring numbers down to a more sustainable level. Pollochro Woods is a protected natural site and part of the Loch Lomond Woods Special Area of Conservation.

“The protected features in these woods include the native woodland habitat itself, mosses and lichens — which are all threatened and important elements of Scotland’s nature.”

Meanwhile, Forestry Commission Scotland has pledged to consult with the local community on plans to reduce goat numbers in the wider area.

A spokesman said:

“There is a real need to balance the long-term restoration and management of Loch Katrine, Loch Ard and surrounding areas with the increasing numbers of feral goats.

“Managing the feral goat population also reduces the risk of them becoming a hazard for road users in the area. This is done in consultation with the local communities so that we can fully explain what we are doing and why.”

Story reported by BBC

FWN filmed some wild goats two years ago near Loch Katrine, amazing to see these interesting animals in there natural habitat. Surely a reintroduction of wild cat and Lymx would keep the deer and goat numbers down if these organizations are that concerned about them damaging the environment.

Man!!!  is the most destructive element in climate and environments.

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SCOTTISH SPCA REPORTS HUGE RISE IN CYGNET RESCUES

The Scottish SPCA has reported a 100% rise in the number of sick, injured and orphaned cygnets coming into its care.

29th May 2013 (Cygnets) 039
The Scottish SPCA said it had rescued 127 swans so far this year

The animal charity said it was currently caring for 43 mute swan cygnets, double the number it cared for during the same period last year.

Welfare officers have rescued 127 swans so far this year, 70 of which have been juveniles.

All the swans are taken to the Scottish SPCA’s rescue centre near Alloa in Clackmannanshire.

Centre Manager Colin Seddon said,

“There isn’t one single reason for the increase although we do feel that more people than ever now know to contact us, rather than the RSPCA or the RSPB, if they see a wild animal in distress.

“Some of the cygnets have been found wandering on roads and car parks while others have been attacked by animals, such as dogs, or have been chased off ponds by more dominant swans.

“They are very territorial creatures and sadly competition for nesting and breeding sites is fierce.”

Mr Seddon said that once the animals are old enough to be independent they are released back into the wild.

He added:

“We release cygnets at the time when they are normally dispersing from their parents and at sites where food is provided to help them through their first winter.

“These are sites already frequented by wild-reared swans of all ages so it’s a great introduction for them.”

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”

Sharp drop in Scottish bird poisoning cases follows new crime legislation

New wildlife crime legislation targeting landowners is being linked with a sharp drop in the numbers of birds of prey poisoned in Scotland.

Continue reading “Sharp drop in Scottish bird poisoning cases follows new crime legislation”

FWN Test Out New Eco-friendly Electric Bikes.

On Sunday Colin and myself took a trip up to Ashfield near Dunblane to test out our new Cyclamatic E-bikes which we are using to bring you news stories and videos of the local wildlife around Central Scotland.

These bikes are eco friendly and have a range of 20 miles, which gives us a larger area to cover now.

On our travel we checked out the far wood for Red Kites and spotted a few Pink Footed Geese, taking a well earned rest and some food for there long journey home.

Colin then shows us a burn where he hopes to film a wild otter and in a future project film some underwater video of life beneath the surface.

We then ride up to Kinbuck to check out the rabbits on the hillside and we then come across some Canada Geeseon the river bank.

Continue reading “FWN Test Out New Eco-friendly Electric Bikes.”

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

BIRD POISONING TOLL ‘DEPRESSING’

 Scotland has renewed its call for landowners and their staff in some parts of Scotland to do more to protect raptors from being killed illegally.

Red kite
A poisoned red kite

Director Stuart Housden said “intolerance” had been shown to the birds in parts of the eastern and central Highlands and southern uplands.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said illegal killing was not tolerated.

The SGA added that landowners and employees had worked hard to reduce incidents of bird of prey abuse.

In the RSPB‘s newly-published report, The illegal killing of birds of prey in Scotland in 2011, Mr Housden praised land managers’ efforts to conserve species of birds such as lapwing and capercaillie.

But he said birds of prey continued to be persecuted. Fewer raptors were found poisoned in Scotland in 2011 than recorded in the previous year’s RSPB report.

Tests confirmed 20 raptors, including a golden eagle, seven buzzards and four red kites, were poisoned in 2011.

In 2010, 29 birds were found killed in this way according to the RSPB.

But Mr Housden said potentially more birds were killed but not found. He said 2011’s toll still made for “depressing reading”.

As well as the poisonings, there were 16 incidents where birds were killed illegally by other means.

Buzzards were found dead in crow traps in Perthshire, a peregrine was shot near Ballater and a short-eared owl was shot in Strathdon, both in Aberdeenshire.

A goshawk nest near Peebles in the Borders was also recorded to have been shot at.

‘Highest ever’

In the report, Mr Housden said many landowners and their employees acted responsibly and helped in efforts to conserve species such as lapwing, corncrakes and capercaillie.

However, he added:

“The fact that the illegal killing of birds of prey in Scotland has continued is inescapable.

“What is also clear is that had it not been for the development of new satellite-based technology, some of these victims would never have been found.”

SGA chairman Alex Hogg said the figures in the RSPB report were similar to Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture statistics, that were published in March and September this year.

He said 2011 had seen an increased number of investigations that had found fewer cases of abuse, but had instead uncovered deaths caused by birds colliding with power lines and vehicles.

Mr Hogg said:

“This is at a time when raptor numbers are, in many cases, the highest ever recorded and more and more people are losing increasing number of livestock to birds of prey, putting jobs and families at risk in a difficult time for the Scottish economy.

“Given that background, partners were rightly encouraged that the huge amount of work that has been done to educate and raise awareness, is working.”

He added:

“The Scottish Gamekeepers Association has an unequivocal stance against the abuse of birds of prey and will continue to work hard, as it has done, to keep bringing these figures down.”

Story by BBC Scotland

GOLDEN EAGLE FOUND STARVING AND SEVERELY INJURED AFTER BEING SHOT

Golden eagle: The shot bird was found by a member of the public.
Pic: Scottish SPCA

The Scottish SPCA was alerted on Saturday after a member of the public discovered the injured bird in north-east Dumfries and Galloway, adjacent to the Southern Upland Way.

The golden eagle is now receiving veterinary treatment and specialist care at the charity’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre.

Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said:

“This eagle has been caused tremendous pain and suffering. It became grounded after being shot, which caused the feathers on its tail and wings to break and meant it was unable to search for food.

“If the eagle hadn’t been found on Saturday it is very likely it would have starved to death. Golden eagles are extremely rare and it is very concerning that someone would deliberately try to injure or kill such a magnificent creature.

“As well as being cruel, injuring a wild bird is also a criminal offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 and we are very keen to speak to anyone who has information about this incident. This eagle will require lengthy rehabilitation and expert treatment in our care.

“Although it’s very early days yet, it is feeding now and we are hopeful it will make a full recovery and we will be able to release it back into the wild next year.”

Stuart Housden, director RSPB Scotland, said:

“With one golden eagle already found poisoned this year, and a second bird the apparent victim of an illegal trap, this is yet another appalling incident. Whoever pulled the trigger must have deliberately targeted one of our most iconic birds, with lethal intentions.

“Whoever it was has access to a shotgun, and the confidence to use it in this area. Much has been made of an apparent recent decline in the illegal poisoning of Scotland’s birds of prey, but this, and other recent criminal incidents, show that efforts to stamp out the illegal persecution of strictly protected wildlife have a considerable way to go.”

The Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline is 03000 999 999.

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:-

Osprey makes record-breaking migration journey

After surviving Scotland’s soggy summer, a young osprey may have flown into the history books by making a record-breaking journey to sunnier climes.

Osprey in flight

In just two weeks, ‘Alba’ left her natal home at Loch Garten and made her hazardous 3,000 mile maiden migration to West Africa.

Having only hatched earlier this year, the female bird has astounded online audiences who have been following her journey on the internet.

Alba and her sister Caledonia were fitted with satellite tags before leaving the nest so that both staff and the public could follow their fortunes and movements.

While the pair fledged successfully towards the end of last month, Alba made short work of the journey to their wintering grounds and is now believed to have made the fastest migration of any tagged European osprey.

Richard Thaxton, site manager at RSPB Scotland Loch Garten Osprey Centre, said:

‘It is astonishing that in just a fortnight, Alba has travelled from Loch Garten in Strathspey to southern Mauritania close to the border with Senegal. Other tagged birds have taken months to do this! It is all the more remarkable when you think that this is her first migration, with sea crossings to contend with and all sorts of weather. It’s good to know she has arrived there safely.’