Jul 082016

Sea Shepherd Global’s New Patrol Vessel.

With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.

Sea Shepherd Global has launched its latest weapon in the battle to protect the world’s oceans; the new patrol vessel, Ocean Warrior.
After 18 months of construction by Dutch shipbuilding company, Damen, Ocean Warrior was lowered into the waters of Antalya Harbour in Turkey last Friday.

“This is a momentous day for Sea Shepherd, and for all of our supporters, and a bad day for poachers,” said CEO of Sea Shepherd Global, Captain Alex Cornelissen.

“The launch of the Ocean Warrior marks a new era for our organisation, as we now have a ship with the speed and capabilities to match the fastest poaching vessels in the world.”

Purchased thanks to the support and generosity of the Dutch Postcode Lottery, the People’s Postcode Lottery in the United Kingdom and the Svenska Postkod Stiftelsen in Sweden, Ocean Warrior is now the fifth vessel in Sea Shepherd Global’s current fleet of conservation ships, and the fifteenth in the organisation’s history.

Geert Vons, Director of Sea Shepherd Netherlands, said,

“We are extremely grateful to the Dutch Postcode Lottery, the People’s Postcode Lottery and the Svenska Postkod Stiftelsen for their generosity, which has enabled us to build the Ocean Warrior. This new vessel will provide our crews with a huge advantage on the high-seas, increasing our capacity to defend precious wildlife in our oceans.”

Ocean Warrior will make its maiden voyage this September, when the ship sails to Amsterdam under the command of Captain Cornelissen. However, details about the ship’s first official anti-poaching campaign remain under-wraps.

“We can not reveal details about the Ocean Warrior’s activities beyond Amsterdam as yet. However, we are confident that our supporters will be very pleased with a campaign announcement that we have coming up in the next few months,” said Cornelissen.

Sea Shepherd were instrumental in protecting wildlife including seals in the Gardenstown area in the past, and continue to be interested and active in North East Scotland.

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Jan 162014

A £500+ reward has been offered for information passed to the Scottish SPCA leading to the conviction of person(s) involved in killing animals in Aberdeen’s ‘Gramps’ – Kincorth and Tullos Hill. Suzanne Kelly reports.

roe-deer-fawn-picA dog walker on Kincorth Hill made a gruesome discovery when their dog found a severed roe deer leg this week.

The witness who took a photo of the severed limb also found small mounds of an unidentified white powdery substance.

They were able to locate a ranger on the hill and reported their finds. The ranger revealed that a skinned cat had been found on Kincorth Hill as well.

Aberdeen Voice found a second hand witness who claims deer were also illegally slaughtered and dismembered on Tullos Hill earlier in January – and who claims the police attended the scene. In this instance Aberdeen Voice was told ‘the police said five deer had been killed’, and ‘there were legs everywhere’.

A Scottish SPCA spokesperson knew nothing about either event. Clarification is being sought as to whether the City’s rangers informed the police about the Kincorth Hill discoveries, and whether the information was passed to the Scottish SPCA or not.

Tullos Hill made national headlines when Aberdeen City Council pushed ahead with a scheme to plant tens of thousands of trees on this former dumping ground – killing some 36 deer in the process. A previous scheme failed, costing the taxpayer at least £43,800 (not counting the fees paid to experts including C J Piper).

Experts wrote in a Forestry Commission report that trees are unlikely to thrive because of factors including the poor soil matrix and potential for being blown over in high winds. Domestic and industrial waste from decades of dumping is clearly visible in the thin soil where the saplings were planted.

Gorse covered a large part of the hill in the past; it was home to the deer and a variety of birds. With the gorse cover, the deer had some security from predators including dogs and hunters.

Despite the stated wishes of several community councils and a petition signed by thousands, the city pushed ahead with the deer cull, insisting the trees would be destroyed by the deer, and that ‘deer had no natural predators’ – a claim made by Peter Leonard of the City’s Housing directorate, and former Housing & Environment leader, Liberal Democrat Aileen Malone.

Clearly the person or persons responsible for this current spate of animal killings constitute predators, whatever pro-culling proponents may claim.

baby deerThmMalone had prevented two people from speaking against the cull (they had new evidence to bring including the cost of the previous failure) at the committee meeting at which the ‘Tree for Every Citizen Scheme’s’ supporters voted to have the deer shot.

The reason for refusing the delegates from speaking was that Malone had only asked for a verbal report on the issue, and not a written one – therefore stopping any potential critics.

Many on both sides of the issue found this move contrary to the spirit of transparency and democracy.

It is not known how the deer were killed, if the meat was taken for use or for sale, and whether or not dogs were involved. Any such attack on wildlife is contrary to Scottish law, and fines and potential imprisonment could follow a successful prosecution. Anyone who can identify those involved is urged to contact the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999; witnesses can remain anonymous.

There are very few deer left in our area following the city’s destruction of over half the herd, estimated before the city’s cull to number 70. There have been indications that illegal dog fighting may also be taking place in Aberdeen city and shire. Anyone with information about dog fighting, the theft of animals, or animal abuse or destruction is urged to contact Police Scotland on 101, the Scottish SPCA, and/or Aberdeen Voice.

When the city and the police have responded to questions put to them about these incidents, Aberdeen Voice will publish an update.

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