Mon 1 Jul, 2019

This latest outrage should be a wake-up call to the Scottish Government that for all their reviews, inquiries and reforms, rampant criminality remains in place across many of Scotland’s driven grouse moors. Andy Wightman MSP

Adam, a young Golden Eagle named by Green MSP Andy Wightman, has disappeared in suspicious circumstances in Highland Perthshire, in an area managed for grouse shooting.

As the Scottish Environment LINK species champion for the golden eagle, Wightman named the bird Adam in 2018, as a tribute the late ecologist and mountaineer Dr Adam Watson.

As revealed in a new video by broadcaster Chris Packham, GPS tagging showed Adam disappeared at ground level in the Strathbraan area. Another golden eagle also disappeared in the same area on the same morning.

The disappearances are the latest in a number of missing birds that had been satellite-tagged as part of the monitoring of their behaviour and ecology.

The incidents have largely occurred in areas used for intensive driven grouse shooting management.

Andy Wightman has now written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, calling for a step up in prevention and detection of wildlife crime.

Responding, Andy Wightman said: "I am shocked and devastated by the disappearance of Adam, a young Golden Eagle, whom I spent time with when he was nine weeks old.

“The cold rage that I felt when I heard of the circumstances of his disappearance has now developed into a determination to discover his fate.

“This latest outrage should be a wake-up call to the Scottish Government that for all their reviews, inquiries and reforms, rampant criminality remains in place across many of Scotland’s driven grouse moors.

“I have written to the First Minister to ask her to provide clear leadership on eradicating wildlife crime, to legislate to outlaw driven grouse-shooting, to meet with myself and raptor workers and to invite the Justice Secretary to convene a high-level meeting of law enforcement officials to review policing and justice measures.

“Adam’s disappearance happened on the same morning as another satellite-tagged Golden Eagle, Charlie. They both vanished within hours of each other on the same grouse moor in Highland Perthshire.

“These disappearances are merely the latest in a long, long list of raptors to disappear in suspicious circumstances in Scotland.

“Today’s revelations, together with the SNH Report demonstrate conclusively that there is organised criminal activity taking place with impunity on grouse moors. That’s why I’ve asked the First Minister to step up attempts to protect our iconic wildlife.”

A third of all satellite-tagged golden eagles have disappeared without trace on or next to a driven grouse moor.

Broadcaster Chris Packham said: “We can’t prove that harm has come to Adam and Charlie, nor who might have been responsible, but we can look at the circumstances, look at the science, look at the wider evidence and draw plausible conclusions.

“The Scottish Government has already acknowledged that illegal raptor persecution is an ongoing problem. How many more golden eagles do we have to lose before that same Government takes effective action?”

Get involved

More like this

SNP reforesting plan paid for by oil giant

Tue 15 Oct, 2019

The Scottish Government’s meagre attempts to reforest Scotland is being paid for by an oil giant, it has emerged.

On the same day as Nicola Sturgeon spoke at an SNP conference sponsored by BP, Shell tweeted that it is using Scotland’s public reforesting programme to offset its vast levels of pollution.

The multinational fossil fuel extractor confirmed it will fund public body Forestry and Land Scotland to generate carbon credits.

National investment bank must drive net zero efforts and empower local government

Fri 27 Sep, 2019

The new Scottish National Investment Bank must drive efforts to tackle the climate emergency and local government must have a stake, the Scottish Greens have said.

In the first debate on new laws to establish the institution, Scottish Green local government and communities spokesperson Andy Wightman called for the proposed law to have more vision, by placing its mission to fund a transition to net zero on the face of the bill.

He also called for councils to have a stake in the bank.

Reforestation rate is woefully inadequate

Thu 26 Sep, 2019

The Scottish Government is hailing a tree planting strategy that will will take 150 years to reach EU average.

Latest forestry stats show that only 18.7% of Scotland is forested, while the European average of tree cover is 40%.

Despite reforestation being essential in capturing carbon and tackling the Climate Emergency, the Scottish Government’s target is for 21% cover by 2032.