In a television news item about the alleged felling of a tree containing a sea eagle nest, the BBC have acknowledged that sporting estates feel they are being subjected to “trial by media”.
In this case a police inquiry has been ongoing since January, with which the estate has been fully cooperating, but it has not concluded and there are doubts over key aspects. Both the estate and Scottish Land & Estates believe that it was entirely inappropriate for information about the case to be leaked to the media before the outcome is known; it does not help the investigation and damages the reputation of the estate without proof.
A spokesman for Invermark Estate said: “We take our wildlife management responsibilities very seriously and are proud of our record in this area. We have also had an excellent relationship with all relevant wildlife organisations, especially RSPB with whom we often work in partnership. The estate has also been an enthusiastic supporter of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime. We have many species on the estate including golden eagles, ospreys – as well as the sea eagles in question which are thriving on the estate. We have long been happy with the presence of all these species. Any suggestion that the estate or its employees – who are highly trained and implement extensive conservation programmes - would jeopardise or disrupt species that have made this estate their home, is disputed in the strongest possible terms.”
A spokesman for Scottish Land & Estates said: “Invermark Estate has an exemplary record in wildlife conservation and protection. At this stage the facts have yet to be established. There is a worrying trend in these matters that certain people take the irresponsible view that accusations can be made anonymously through the media, in the middle of police investigations, with the objective of hoping that mud sticks and an estate can be portrayed as being guilty until proven innocent. What we do know in this case is that the sea eagles are alive and well and remain on the estate where they are welcome along with many other great examples of Scottish