Monday, June 10, 2013

Involvement by grouse moors in persecution is not a myth, but far too sad a reality!!

I'm a huge fan of the Raptor Persecution Scotland website

These guys are really on top of the job with statistical databases maintained and all entries thoroughly researched and professionally presented. The most recent entry says it all,  " Significant haul of poisoned baits found on Leadhills Estate". Please read it and follow the site regularly, comment and even send off E-mails if you can, as every effort is directed at a positive cause for change.

Now I know that I bang on about raptor persecution , Hen Harriers, and the Forest of Bowland (the previous stronghold for Hen Harriers in England that now has none) even to the extent, and very frequently , of not even recounting my birding exploits up here on Islay and so I apologise for my overbearing intensity. But I think after reading the following summary you'll realise what motivates me into securing change as the situation vis a vis some sporting estates and their attitude towards raptors is mediaeval and utterly arrogant, displaying no intention of accepting the laws of the land!!

The Leadhills Estate is in the Scottish borders. A sporting estate managed for grouse shooting and, it seems with a long history of persecution incidents being confirmed within its curtilage. The following statistics have been cribbed from the Raptor Persecution site but, in turn, are contained as confirmed incidents within formal reports issued by the RSPB and the Scottish Government. All figures refer to the period 2003-2012 inclusive.

In all, within that period, 43 incidents were confirmed, some multiple discoveries of baits.  

BIRDS SHOT                                               6

BIRDS POISONED                                     22    4 described as being "Near Leadhills" 

POISONED BAITS DISCOVERED           26   12 described as being "Near Leadhills"

EGGS DESTROYED                                     1

ILLEGALLY SET TRAP                               1 

DEAD BIRD DISCOVERED                       1

The bird species affected ranged from Buzzard to Magpie, Crow to Red Kite, Hen Harrier to Golden Eagle.

Now all this is just plain silly. In 2006 alone 14 incidents were confirmed. Besides the sheer persistent arrogance involved, the repeated application of technique not only shows a complete disregard for the law, but demonstrates the inadequacy of the law in presenting a sufficient level of preventative threat.

This approach is what persuaded me that a licencing system should apply to Estates. If they were proved to have carried out illegal persecution then their licence would be removed for a period and commercial activity would cease.  Goodness knows what  situation would result with persistent offenders!! Certainly the keepers involved would have their licences and gun licences removed and be without a job. Gradually one assumes , and hopes the penny would drop and illegal activities cease. Certainly the current situation in the UK appears to indicate that, unless some firm action is taken, such illegal activities will continue, which is clearly unacceptable in this day and age.  So, if you haven't signed the Epetition, now is the time to do so!!

Licencing of upland grouse moors and gamekeepers.

Many thanks.


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