Tomorrow marks the start of another Scottish government themed year: The Year of Natural Scotland, in which we’re encouraged to celebrate Scotland’s stunning natural beauty and biodiversity. Good job it wasn’t this year’s theme as there might have been some red faces in the government:
- SGA gamekeeper Whitefield sentenced for poisoning four buzzards (he already had an earlier wildlife crime conviction). His sentence this time? 100 hours community service.
- Scottish gamekeeper McLachlan, convicted for possession of the banned poison Carbofuran. Fined £635.
- Scottish gamekeeper Barrie lost an appeal for his sentence of £520 for illegal possession and control of a wild bird.
- COPFS choosing not to prosecute a Scottish gamekeeper who had been filmed beating birds to death with a stick inside a crow cage trap.
- Scottish gamekeeper Christie convicted for wildlife crimes relating to the illegal use of a crow cage trap. His sentence? An admonishment (a telling off).
- Scottish gamekeeper Graham convicted for allowing a buzzard to starve to death inside a crow cage trap. Fined £450.
- Scottish gamekeeper McKellar convicted for possession of banned poison. Fined £1,200.
- Scottish gamekeeper Scobie convicted for using banned poison. Fined £270.
- A satellite-tagged golden eagle mysteriously ‘disappeared’ in the Angus glens.
- A satellite-tagged golden eagle mysteriously ‘disappeared’ to the North East of the Cairngorms National Park.
- Peregrine chicks mysteriously ‘disappeared’ from a nest site in Dumfries & Galloway.
- A golden eagle was found dead, poisoned in Lochaber.
- A golden eagle was found dead in suspicious circumstances on the Isle of Harris. Still awaiting results.
- A satellite-tagged golden eagle mysteriously ‘disappeared’ in the Monadhliaths.
- A poisoned raven, crow, and three poisoned baits were found in the Borders.
- A satellite-tagged golden eagle was found dead near a lay-by in Aberdeenshire. Its injuries and its sat tag data suggested it had been illegally trapped on an Angus grouse moor and then dumped during the night and left to die.
- A golden eagle was found shot and critically injured on a grouse moor in Dumfries & Galloway.
- Barry, the sat-tagged hen harrier from Langholm mysteriously ‘disappeared’.
- Buzz, the sat-tagged buzzard mysteriously ‘disappeared’ in the Angus glens. (More on this case in the New Year).
- Willow, a sat-tagged marsh harrier mysteriously ‘disappeared’ in Galloway.
- A hen harrier was found shot dead on an Aberdeenshire grouse moor.
These are just a few of the ‘highlights’ from Scotland this year – there are a few more that we can’t yet report but we will in the New Year. And of course this list doesn’t include other confirmed incidents from other parts of these fair isles such as England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic; a list that includes shot and poisoned sea eagles, buzzards, kites, harriers, peregrines and sparrowhawks. Nor does it include the incidents that went undiscovered.
We’ll be blogging quite a lot about the Year of Natural Scotland, which hopefully won’t be just a banner-waving exercise by the government but an opportunity for them to put their money where their mouths are. You don’t think so? No, neither do we. Why should 2013 be any different from the previous three decades of ineffective action?
A hint of what’s to come is the revelation that the theme will be highlighted during several events throughout the year. Two particular locations caught our attention: the Scone Game Fair and the Moy Game Fair.
The Scone Game Fair is of course organised by the GWCT. That’s the same GWCT that has recently asked for the addition of buzzards and sparrowhawks to the General Licences (that means they want permission to kill them…we’ll be blogging about that shortly). It’s also the same Game Fair that has previously attracted sponsorship from some very, how shall we put it, ‘surprising’ sources.
The Moy Game Fair is held on the Moy Estate near Inverness. If you’re unaware of this place, try googling it.
Thanks for all your interest and support in 2012…we’ll see you soon. Sláinte!