I didn’t see many eagles on my holiday in Scotland. I did travel down the A82 through Bridge of Orchy, and very pretty it was too.
Last week a farm manager from Bridge of Orchy was convicted of possessing Carbofuran, an illegal poison whose use has been banned since 2001. A dead golden eagle had been found on a remote hillside near Bridge of Orchy in June 2009. A post-mortem found that the eagle had been poisoned with Carbofuran.
Carbofuran is banned throughout the EU. It is used elsewhere as an insecticide for potatoes, soya and corn. But anyone using this banned chemical ought to watch out – it is highly toxic to humans, is a neurotoxin and can reduce testosterone levels and increase the levels of female hormones. Any gamekeeper’s wife whose man is showing rather too much of his feminine side should ask a few questions about what he may have in bottles in the barn.
Certainly someone had been sloshing it about a bit near Bridge of Orchy as the body of a Carbofuran-poisoned fox and a sheep carcass laced with Carbofuran were found nearby.
A farm manager pled guilty to the possession of this poison and was fined £1200.
Commenting on the sentencing Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations, said:
RSPB Scotland has invested considerable resources in assisting Strathclyde Police in the investigation of this significant case. We heartily commend the efforts of the police in their rigorous follow-up to the illegal poisoning of the golden eagle on Beinn Udlaidh, leading to this successful prosecution.
We are very disappointed that, at the conclusion of the investigation, no-one has been charged with the poisoning of this golden eagle, one of our most vulnerable and iconic bird species, or with the laying out of poison baits in the open in our countryside.
While we welcome the conviction, yet again, we are dismayed that the final result of a high profile enquiry poses little in the way of a deterrent to those who continue to flagrantly disregard our wildlife protection laws. The illegal killing of protected birds of prey remains a persistent problem in some parts of Scotland, with, for example, six further golden eagles confirmed as illegally poisoned since this incident, including one in Lochaber earlier this year. We call upon the Scottish Government to urgently review the penalties imposed by the courts on those who break our wildlife laws.
Quite right too (apart from a couple of split infinitives)!