“‘Calluna’, a female harrier, was tagged this summer at a nest on the National Trust for Scotland’s Mar Lodge estate, near Braemar. We were monitoring her transmitter’s data which showed that she fledged from the nest in July. She left the area in early August, and gradually headed east over the Deeside moors. However, while the tag data showed it to be working perfectly, transmissions abruptly ended on 12th August, with no further data transmitted. Calluna’s last recorded position was on a grouse moor a few miles north of Ballater, in the Cairngorms National Park.” http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/ourwork/skydancer/b/skydancer/archive/2017/09/01/calluna-has-disappeared.aspx
Representatives of the shooting lobby have already stated the ridiculous. My work is done.
Response of Scottish Land & Estates – “Estates in the area have welcomed a number of hen harriers to the area during August and only today one moor reported three harriers. Local land managers reject the inference that the loss of signal from this tag is connected to grouse moor management and are now offering every assistance in searching the area where the last transmission was recorded.“
Response of Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association – “The SGA would urge anyone who saw the bird or knows anything about it to contact Police Scotland. This is the first we have heard of this. Obviously any news like this is very disappointing. The SGA condemns raptor persecution and if any of our members are convicted of a wildlife crime they are removed from our organisation. We have learned from those monitoring tags that birds can move some distance away from where they were last recorded so it is important that, if people know anything, they alert the Police immediately.”
Response of Scottish Association for Country Sports – “We would remind the RSPB that tag technology can fail for a number of reasons, and that raptors are susceptible to natural causes of death as well as to illegal persecution.“
“The probability of 5 or more male Hen Harriers disappearing through ‘normal’ levels of mortality over a breeding period from 9 nests is 0.0033% … So there must be something pretty odd happening.” (http://markavery.info/2015/09/22/wondering2/)
Yes, that’s a 1 in over 30,000 chance. Pretty unlikely. Well done the grouse shooting industry for allowing us to experience such a rare event.