News has emerged that the young female Hen Harrier ringed ( FP 67025) in Glen Tanar on 29.6.2010, and fitted with a satellite tag ( 51894 ), has suddenly and mysteriously disappeared after returning to her natal area, and other adjacent upland areas, and being tracked for several days ( see www.raptortrack.org/category/hen-harrier/tanar/ ). Such are the circumstances that Roy Dennis ( Highland Foundation for Wildlife ), who is central to the research, has reported the matter to the local police and asked for it to be investigated.
Having a life-long passion for harriers the bird had given me a lot of personal pleasure when following the results of her travels via the above web site. From a pure research point of view the details of her activities, daily distances travelled etc , broke new ground, details which now are no longer to be available. Sadly her brother, also marked and equipped with a satellite tag, similarly disappeared!
As is usual the reportage of such incidents immediately generates suspicion of persecution activities and the intolerance of shooting estates towards raptor species , all of which has been repeatedly tabulated and published by bodies such as the Scottish Government , the RSPB and by a plethora of incident and court case reports in the media. I am sure some people would argue this conclusion is terribly circumstantial and subjective, but it's worth taking a look at the background information.
The web site, Raptor Persecution Scotland, in an article issued on the 5th March, 2010 under the title "Named Estates" presents details of the individual estates on which incidents have been reported( alleged persecution incidents, wildlife crime incidents or other alleged criminal activities ) or estates that employ staff who have a conviction for work related offences, details of which have appeared in the public domain.
It must be said that Aberdeenshire figures prominently within what, sadly, is a very extensive list!! To bolster this up the web site contains details of an endless series of incidents of one kind or another, of which the details relating to the above will no doubt be added in the fullness of time. I'm very much a believer in the old adage, "What goes round, comes round" and am becoming firmly convinced that the persistent, arrogant, flouting of the law by sporting estates will result in them taking a step too far and generating such negative PR that there will be a public demand for extensive restrictions on shooting itself.