1. The Moorland Association (representative body of grouse moor owners in England & Wales) has commissioned some ‘research’ which, they claim, shows that ‘merlin thrive on grouse moors’ (see here). The quality of this ‘research’ was ably shredded by a commentator called ‘Rich’ on Mark Avery’s blog a few weeks ago (see here). Now another blogger, Steve Mills, has written an excellent piece about the so-called ‘protection’ of raptor species on driven grouse moors. Read it here.
For anagram fans: Moorland Association / A sad morons coalition.
2. There’s an article just published in the Holyrood magazine about the illegal poisoning of raptors in Scotland, including an interview with RSPB Scotland’s Duncan Orr-Ewing, who suggests that raptor persecution levels on Scottish grouse moors are at similar levels to those of the Victorian era. Read it here.
There have been various responses to the article on Twitter from the great and the good:
From Doug McAdam, CEO of Scottish Land & Estates (the landowners’ representative body):
“Raptor crime unacceptable but article and assertions not supported by evidence“.
From Daye Tucker, Director at Scottish Land & Estates:
“Without wishing to defend indefensible, that claim [that persecution is at Victorian levels] is so beyond exaggeration“.
From Adam Smith, Director GWCT (Scotland):
“All condemn recent appalling non-moor raptor killing but most opinions in story not evidence led“.
These are all interesting responses/denials, especially in relation to item 3:
3. The PAW Scotland Raptor Group has today issued what it describes as a ‘united’ statement of condemnation over the recent mass poisoning of red kites and buzzards in Ross-shire. Also included in this statement is the following:
“The Group recognised that more needs to be done to strengthen the message that all forms of raptor persecution are completely unacceptable. The Group will ensure that this message is heard throughout Scotland and is strongly and publicly supported by all bodies representing land use, field sports and conservation. The Group agreed to set up a short life working group to make recommendations as to how to deliver a strong message that commands wide support and is focused on preventing raptor persecution. The aim is to encourage all those with any information about such illegal practices to report this to the police“. Read the full statement here.
Both Scottish Land & Estates and the GWCT are members of the PAW Raptor Group. Can’t wait to see how they’re going to reconcile their denials about the extent of raptor persecution and turn it in to “a strong message that commands wide support and is focused on preventing raptor persecution”.
It’ll also be fascinating to see how the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association (also a PAW Raptor Group member) “encourages all those with any information about such illegal practices to report this to the police” when their own policy advice to their members is to say nothing to the police except to give their name, address and date of birth, if asked.
Interesting to note that the PAW Scotland Raptor Group failed to provide any condemnation about the poisoned peregrine found recently in the Leadhills area. Can’t think why.