Commenting on the publication of RSPB Scotland’s report Illegal Killing of Birds of Prey 2015-2017 Susan Davies, Director of Conservation, Scottish Wildlife Trust said:
“This new report is depressing reading. It highlights the ongoing illegal persecution of iconic birds of prey in our uplands alongside the continued failure of the Crown Office to bring cases to court. Scotland’s wildlife faces many pressures but illegal persecution is one threat that, with the right leadership, resources and penalties, is within the power of the Scottish Government and the game sector to solve.
“A number of Scottish Ministers, including the First Minister, have made strong statements about unacceptable moorland management but they have been slow to turn that rhetoric into meaningful action.
“A number of Scottish Ministers, including the First Minister, have made strong statements about unacceptable moorland management but they have been slow to turn that rhetoric into meaningful action. In particular we urgently need more specialist support for on the ground investigation of wildlife crime, and stronger penalties for those convicted of offences, as recommended in 2015 by the Wildlife Penalties Review.
“It is also high time to introduce a licensing scheme for moorland management. This would help to address not only crimes against birds of prey but also a number of issues resulting from the intensive management of large parts of Scotland’s uplands for sport. These include the impact of muirburn, the intensive control of animals including corvids, stoats and foxes, and the mass culling of iconic mountain hares.”