SLE statement on hen harrier ‘Marci’

Press Release

Scottish Land & Estates has issued the following statement regarding an appeal for information about a missing hen harrier, Marci.

Sarah-Jane Laing, executive director, Scottish Land & Estates, said: “We support the appeal for information about the missing hen harrier, Marci. Any missing protected species is a cause for concern and anyone with information should contact the police immediately.

 “We wholeheartedly condemn any form of raptor persecution. We are, however, concerned about the way in which cases of missing birds are being publicised. In this case it has been said there were follow up searches by Police Scotland and RSPB but makes no mention that the estate concerned played an active and willing part in the search. The intensive search took place over a 100m radius but nothing was found.  A hen harrier was seen flying around in the area at that time although it was not possible to see if it was the bird in question or whether it had a satellite tag fitted.  The estate is emphatic that the disappearance of the bird was nothing to do with management of sporting on the estate and strongly resent the inference to the contrary by RSPB. 

“The assertion that from RSPB that this case is further evidence of systematic killing of protected birds on grouse moors is at best premature and at worst reckless when there is no evidence to date of a crime being committed. This approach highlights the need for a more independent and transparent system of monitoring satellite-tagged birds to be established. It should also be remembered that the number of incidents of illegal killing of birds of prey has fallen to its lowest level.”