SLE supports tough action and penalties on wildlife crime

Press Release

Estates and land managers share the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling all forms of wildlife crime.

Scottish Land & Estates made the comments following publication of a blog by Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham MSP outlining the Scottish Government’s action on wildlife offences.

Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates said: “We welcome and share the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling wildlife crime in all its forms.

“Estates and land managers have firmly supported increased penalties for those committing wildlife crime and we were pleased to see this introduced in the recent Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Act 2020.

“Although incidents of wildlife crime has fallen considerably over the last decade, there is a clear need to maintain progress and ensure all forms of offence including poaching and cruelty are dealt with.

“The recent poisoning of a white tailed eagle in Aberdeenshire has shocked farms and estates in the area. They have offered any help they can in assisting Police Scotland find out what has happened and we have issued our own appeal for anyone with information to contact police as soon as possible.

“When an incident of wildlife crime is suspected then we would like to see this made public as soon as possible by an independent source such as police rather than information being released by wildlife activists months after the event. Only then will it maximise the opportunity for apprehending the perpetrators where an offence has been committed.”

SLE added that estates were committed to engaging with government following the recommendations of the Werritty review.

Ms Laing continued: "Moorland estates have studied the review into grouse moor management in Scotland and recognise the interest in its implementation. Land managers have already worked tirelessly with Scottish Natural Heritage to accurately count mountain hares - counts which remain absent from other parts of Scotland. In the last few weeks it was also announced that gamekeepers were trialling a new app to record raptor sightings on grouse moors. The sector is committed to best practice and the best possible data on which to build future policy."