News : May 2014

New e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting in England

28 May 2014

A new e-petition has been launched to gather signatures in support of a ban on driven grouse shooting in England. An explanation of the need for this petition has been provided by its creator, Dr Mark Avery, the former Conservation Director of the RSPB:

“Intensive management of upland areas for the ‘sport’ of grouse shooting has led to the near-extinction of the protected Hen Harrier in England, as well as increased risk of flooding, discolouration of drinking water, degradation of peatbogs and impacts on other wildlife.

Grouse shooting interests have persecuted the Hen Harrier to such an extent that, despite full legal protection for the last 60 years, it is almost extinct as a breeding species in England (2 pairs nested in 2013) despite there being habitat available for 300+ pairs. The investigation of wildlife crimes against such protected species is time-consuming, difficult to prosecute, and ties up valuable police resources.

Grouse shooters have failed to put their own house in order, despite decades of discussion, and government has proved incapable of influencing this powerful lobby group.

The time has now come for the public to call ‘Enough!’ and require the next government to ban driven grouse shooting in England”.

Many SRSG members will be supporting this petition because hen harriers don’t recognise political boundaries – Scottish hen harriers will die on English grouse moors and vice versa.

If you’d like to sign this petition, please see here.

White-tailed eagle killed at Scottish wind farm

25 May 2014

A young white-tailed eagle has been killed at a wind farm in Clackmannanshire. The bird, known as ‘Red T’, was released in east Scotland in 2011 as part of the reintroduction programme. His body was discovered at Burnfoot Hill wind farm in February this year. A post-mortem has concluded the ‘likely cause of death’ was collision with a wind turbine. Full story here and here.

Further delay in trial against Scottish gamekeeper

13 May 2014

The trial of a gamekeeper accused of several offences in relation to the taking and killing of raptors has suffered further delay. George Mutch, a gamekeeper from Kildrummy Estate in Aberdeenshire is facing prosecution for offences alleged to have taken place in August 2012. His trial was due to begin on 28th May but has now been adjourned until October. Mr Mutch has denied all the charges.

Eradicating raptor persecution from Scotland: a parliamentary debate

6 May 2014

There was a parliamentary debate today, focusing on eradicating raptor persecution from Scotland. It was led by Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse in response to recent high profile incidents including the mass poisoning of 22 raptors at Conon Bridge, Ross-shire. The minister expressed his “anger, revulsion and utter frustration” that these crimes continue to take place in Scotland and said he would consider taking further action if things don’t improve. He also mentioned that the first prosecution under the 2012 vicarious liability legislation (WANE Act) was underway. A full transcipt of the debate can be read here.

Updated wildlife crime forensics guide published

1 May 2014

A new version of the PAW Wildlife Crime Forensics Guide has been published. Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse, who launched the publication at the annual Police Wildlife Crime Conference, said: “This second edition of the wildlife crime forensic guide is an invaluable resource which introduces specialist wildlife forensic techniques, and illustrates how more traditional methods can be used”. The new book can be downloaded for free here.