gamekeeper guilty of shooting hen harrier on Craigmill Estate, Morayshire

The hen harrier is the UK’s most persecuted raptor.

In May 2001, a part-time gamekeeper on Craigmill Estate, Morayshire was convicted of shooting a young female hen harrier. He pleaded not guilty to killing a 2nd harrier on the same day, not guilty to having both dead birds in his possession, and not guilty to carrying a shotgun for the purpose of killing a wild bird. The court accepted his not-guilty plea. He was fined £2,000 for killing the harrier.

In July 2000, the hen harrier nest had been under close observation by RSPB workers because eggs had been destroyed in previous years. They recorded video footage of the keeper as he approached the nest and shot the bird. In his defence, the keeper stated he had been attempting to restore the area for grouse shooting and he had shot the bird in “acute frustration”. There is a long history of hen harrier persecution on grouse moors in the UK, making it the most persecuted raptor in Britain.

Further info: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1352092.stm

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