SLE statement on hen harrier appeal

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Press Release

Scottish Land & Estates has issued the following statement regarding an appeal for information issued today in relation to three hen harriers.

Sarah Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “The disappearance or illegal killing of any satellite-tagged bird of prey is a matter of concern and we consistently support appeals for information.

“However, today’s appeal from RSPB should be seen for what it is – a blatant attempt to put pressure on  government ahead of a forthcoming independent report on grouse moor management.

“Months have now passed since the two harriers have stopped transmitting. This is not good enough when there is widespread concern about the lack of independence and transparency on satellite tagging as well as serious questions being raised about the reliability of tags. It cannot be stated with certainty that each time a tag fails a crime has been committed. There is evidence to the contrary where birds have reappeared or in one case where one bird of prey was killed by another. What is happening – and is deeply regrettable - is that information is being manipulated to inflict as much damage on grouse shooting as possible rather than being timed to gather the greatest level of information about what has happened.

“In the case of the hen harrier found shot near Wanlockhead, our organisation publicised this case in July of this year and raised it with the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime at that time. The bird was found on an estate which has hosted several successful harrier nests and Police Scotland conducted an investigation.

“This is hugely disappointing at a time when partnership between government, police, land managers and conservation groups could tackle incidents of wildlife crime much more effectively.”