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New wildlife crime measures to help prevent raptor persecution welcome says RSPB Scotland

Last modified: 01 July 2013

Profile of golden eagle

Prevailing levels of human killing are having a devastating effect on the populations of some of our native bird of prey species

Image: Bill Paton

In response to the Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse's announcement today (1 July) of new measures to tackle crimes against Scotland's birds of prey, Duncan Orr-Ewing, Head of Species and Land Management at RSPB Scotland said: "It is firmly established that the prevailing levels of human killing are having a devastating effect on the populations of some of our native bird of prey species, including golden eagle, hen harrier and red kite. Recent incidents involving the killing of golden eagles and other iconic bird of prey species have rightly caused public outrage. We welcome the clear leadership shown today by the Scottish Government indicating that these crimes will not be tolerated in modern Scotland. We support further sanctions to act as a deterrent, and to make it easier for the authorities to convict those involved. We hope that these measures will be implemented soon, and are well targeted to bear down on the organised crime behind much of this activity.

“Whilst we accept that many Scottish sporting estates have a good reputation for giving a home to our native bird of prey species, the recent and historic problem of the killing of protected raptors is largely associated with land managed for commercial driven grouse shooting. This sector appears unwilling in many cases to embrace the change in public expectations, as well as adopting modern sustainable land management practices, with the protection of golden eagles and other birds of prey a key test of their positive intention. Where the current system of statutory sanctions and industry peer pressure fails to deliver its purpose, greater intervention by the Scottish Government is entirely appropriate to ensure that the public interest is delivered."

How you can help

Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines. We can all help by giving nature a home where we live.

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