Following publication of a new report by RSPB Scotland on the illegal killing of birds of prey in Scotland, Tim Baynes, director of the Scottish Moorland Group, said: “The most striking fact about bird of prey deaths in Scotland is that they declined over the last 20 years and have fallen dramatically over the last five years in particular. This substantial drop in cases has been recorded in official statistics produced by the Scottish Government.
“Our condemnation of wildlife crime is unequivocal and we support the Scottish Government’s Environment Minister in the tough stance she has taken against those who indulge in this activity. There is a concerted effort by a number of organisations including Police Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates and the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association to eradicate the problem all together. The last five years has seen significant progress through Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime in Scotland and we are therefore perplexed and disappointed that RSPB has chosen to look backwards and not forwards with their report, particularly in view of the overall positive trend. We would suggest that RSPB would achieve more by working more closely with people on the ground who are responsible for moorland management on a daily basis.
“Only yesterday, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association produced a report showing that Golden Eagles were nesting on 58 different sites where grouse shooting takes place and the number of eagles is rising. Last month, there was further evidence produced in a raft of wildlife reports which showed that 81 different species of birds were thriving on shooting estates – something RSPB is reluctant to highlight.
“We are pleased, however, that RSPB Scotland has made in its report some acknowledgement of the positive role landowners are playing in leading the efforts on bird of prey conservation. This, allied with our efforts on projects such as the Heads up For Harriers scheme and South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project, demonstrates a real determination to ensure that birds of prey can prosper across Scotland.”