SLE statement on RSPB bird crime report

Press Release

Scottish Land & Estates has issued the following statement regarding the RSPB Birdcrime report.

A spokesperson for Scottish Land & Estates said: “We condemn all forms of wildlife crime - including raptor persecution. Official police recorded incidents of raptor crime continue to decline in Scotland, which is welcome, and for many years we have supported the introduction of tougher penalties for those who are found guilty. The basis of this RSPB report is fundamentally different to the official statistics as it seems to include cases which are suspected by RSPB rather than proven by police investigation.

“Official wildlife crime statistics are usually published by the Scottish Government in conjunction with Police Scotland each year. They have shown that crimes against birds of prey have fallen to historically low levels.  Up to date statistics for 2020/21 are awaited. 

“Alongside the decline in raptor crime, the last year has seen increased raptor breeding on grouse moors. Photography and recording of birds of prey on moorland estates has been developed by members of the six regional moorland groups and can be seen widely on social media.  Collaborative projects such as the South of Scotland Golden Eagle project, involving both the donation of eagle chicks and hosting of translocated birds by sporting estates, are significant news now.

“RSPB rightly work hard to expose and investigate cases of raptor crime and a few still occur every year in Scotland, but they should be welcoming the sea change in attitudes to birds of prey that has occurred over the last decade.”