The RSPB has called for sporting estates to stamp out illegal persecution of the protected hen harrier after a male bird was allegedly hunted down and shot in the Cairngorms by unnamed gamekeepers. A spokesperson for the Scottish Gamekeepers Association said gamekeepers should not be “demonised”. Read the full story published yesterday
Conservationists described the killing, on a Highlands grouse moor, as “appalling”. Two unnamed witnesses reported the incident to police on 30 May last year.
They described watching for almost three hours as two people with shotguns searched the moor for the bird’s perch. It’s believed the gunmen were taking directions by radio from at least one other person in a vehicle.
A police investigation was launched but found insufficient evidence to bring charges. Should anyone be surprised, based upon most wildlife crimes which take place in Scotland, for some reason evidence seems to be very difficult to produce.
Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland’s head of investigations, said: “All the evidence indicates that this appears to have been an appalling, organised killing of one of our rarest birds of prey, which shows a complete disregard of the laws protecting our wildlife. The hen harrier population in Scotland is in trouble, with a 20 per cent decline from 2004 to 2010.
“The intolerance shown towards this species on grouse moors, with this latest case being yet another example, gives a clear indication of one of the main causes of this decline.”