Scottish Land & Estates statement on hen harrier

Press Release

Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) has issued the following statement regarding a hen harrier whose satellite tag is reported to have stopped transmitting.

Mark Tennant, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Scottish Land & Estates would ask anyone with information on this hen harrier, including local sightings, to make this known to Police Scotland as soon as possible.

“SLE has spoken to the estate located in the area that RSPB is pointing the finger at. The estate has an impeccable record in caring for wildlife and biodiversity – including hosting many successful hen harrier nests on its estate in recent years.

“As a member of PAW Scotland, we reiterate our condemnation of all forms of wildlife crime and would urge anyone to report such matters to Police Scotland when they have such concerns.

“This latest press release from RSPB Scotland does, however, once again raise questions about RSPB’s dual role in controlling satellite tags and then using that information to progress their vocal campaign to licence driven grouse shooting.

“We are told from the RSPB Scotland press release that the bird went missing in late-May. Now, some four months later, RSPB Scotland issue information to media describing the bird as ‘vanishing’ on a Scottish grouse moor. Their press release does not even appeal for information to be passed to police but instead asks the Scottish Government to licence grouse shooting estates.

“Once again, there are many unanswered questions here. When was this matter reported to Police Scotland? Why was formal help not sought from the estate? If the estate is under suspicion, why has there not been a formal investigation rather than trial by media? If the bird has been illegally killed, why is there not an appeal by RSPB Scotland for information to be passed to police? 

“The current approach is the issuing of information at a time to maximise political pressure rather than finding out what has actually happened to the bird. 

“It is abundantly clear that we need tagging and monitoring to be carried out by an independent body and for real time tracking to be transparent to all.

“This would give everyone – government, police, land managers and conservation groups – confidence in the system.”