Statement from Cairngorms National Park Authority re: shot goshawk

mon-15-june-copyGrant Moir, Chief Executive of the Cairngorms National Park Authority, has today issued a statement about the recent shooting of a goshawk (here) on land within the National Park:

We are incredibly frustrated to again be putting out a statement condemning the shooting of a raptor in the National Park. We must ensure such crimes become a thing of the past. We will be working with the new Minister for Environment to consider what else we can do in the National Park, building on public support for our wildlife and finding ways of getting more eyes and ears on the ground. We encourage anyone with information relating to this incident to contact the police by calling 101”.

The condemnation is good and is the least we should expect. However, the bit about “We will be working with the new Minister for Environment to consider what else we can do….” shows good intent, but in reality amounts to little more than a PR soundbite.

Remember the Cairngorms Nature action plan, aimed at restoring raptor populations & managing mountain hares for the benefit of golden eagles within the Cairngorms National Park (CNP), launched with great fanfare in May 2013 (see here)?

A resounding failure, as evidenced in May 2013 by the mysterious ‘disappearance’ of a young sat-tagged golden eagle on a CNP grouse moor (here); in May 2013 by the alleged ‘coordinated hunting’ and subsequent shooting of a hen harrier on a CNP grouse moor (here); in April 2014 by the mysterious ‘disappearance’ on a CNP grouse moor of East Scotland’s first fledged white-tailed eagle in ~200 years (here); in May 2014 by this video of masked armed gunmen attacking a goshawk nest within the CNP (here); in October 2015 by the publication of a scientific study documenting the long term decline of breeding peregrines on grouse moors in the eastern portion of the CNP (see here); in February 2016 by the publication of a scientific study documenting the catastrophic decline of breeding hen harriers in the eastern portion of the CNP (here); in March 2016 by the discovery of a dead hen harrier ‘Lad’, suspected shot, found on a grouse moor within the CNP (here); in March 2016 by the news that mountain hares were being massacred on grouse moors within the CNP (here); and again in March 2016 by news that further mountain hare massacres were taking place on grouse moors within the CNP (here); and now in May 2016 by the news that a goshawk was shot on an estate within the CNP (here).

And also remember, the CNPA has already met with the (now former) Environment Minister in January 2015 to discuss the issue of raptor persecution and moorland management within the NP – we blogged about that meeting here. The Environment Minister said afterwards that she ‘welcomed the positive collaboration shown between the CNPA and landowners and looked forward to seeing a real difference on the ground‘.

What is the point of the CNPA having further discussions with another naive Environment Minister? It’s utterly pointless. The grouse moor managers within the Cairngorms National Park are running rings around the Park Authority, and have been doing so for years: Golden eagles poisoned, golden eagles ‘disappearing’, white-tailed eagles ‘disappearing’, hen harriers being shot, breeding hen harriers in catastrophic decline, goshawks being shot, goshawk nests being attacked, breeding peregrines in long-term decline, mountain hares massacred. All within the Cairngorms National Park, the so-called ‘jewel’ of Scottish wildlife. It’s scandalous.

What we need, urgently, from the CNPA is action, not more hand-wringing and platitudes. For a start, the CNPA could be looking at the Sandford Principle (see here and here). There’s an excellent blog called Parks Watch Scotland that has also suggested some courses of action the CNPA could take: see here and here.

The CNPA CEO said today he was ‘incredibly frustrated’. We all are, but the difference is the CNPA has the power to do something about it.

Actually, we do have some power, albeit more indirect than the powers of the CNPA. We have the power to blog about the rampant and persistent persecution of wildlife within the National Park and by doing so, raise awareness amongst an unsuspecting general public of just what is happening to THEIR wildlife within the boundary of THEIR National Park. We’re pretty sure that as more people get to hear about it, the vast majority will be outraged and will join the call for further action to be taken against those grouse moor estates.

Please sign the petition and join 35,000+ calling for a parliamentary debate on the banning of driven grouse shooting: HERE

24 Responses to “Statement from Cairngorms National Park Authority re: shot goshawk”

  1. 1 Me
    May 10, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Wouldn’t surprise me if it wasn’t the same shower of sxxt that were caught on camera last year. To mix with sxxt you have to be a sxxt.

  2. 2 crypticmirror
    May 10, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    What is needed is an independent law enforcement branch whose jurisdiction and sole duty is wildlife crime prevention in national parks. Separate from the police and reporting along different channels entirely so that their success or failure can be easily measured and not obfuscated.

  3. 3 Doug Malpus
    May 10, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    The SSPCA is the likely enforcement body. But then we would be left with CPS corruption! Although that is one less when the police are taken out of the act.

  4. 4 Chris Roberts
    May 10, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    The certain way to stop any further killing of OUR wildlife within the national park is to BAN DRIVEN GROUSE MOORS. Let the uplands return to a more natural state, which is surely what a national park should be about.

  5. 5 Andrew
    May 10, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Does anyone know the income received by the CNP from grouse shooting leases? Is it that valuable to them?

    If they made leases renewable annually at their discretion they could refuse renewal based on land use / misuse, the state of wildlife numbers and the level of wildlife crime seen among other factors (No arguments, the CNP decision is final). I expect there would be a ready waiting list of new tenants and the poor old shooters might have to accept grouse numbers being down a bit. I doubt they would drop by more than 20% if only legitimate predator control was practised.

  6. 6 against feudalism
    May 10, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    The simple and straightforward answer, is to make grouse a protected species, and declare pheasant an invasive species, that is to say, stop hunting in the National Parks, the estates will not stop this crime. Deer control will be needed, possibly done by the park. They need armed park rangers, have they not looked at other world wide national parks ? and how they deal with wildlife crime.

    More meetings, more reports….. will do nothing, apart from ‘justify’ in their minds, the fat salary’s they get.

    On an aside, I was reading an old Andy Wightman blog, http://www.andywightman.com/archives/2911 and in the comments section, worth reading, found this link to alternative, small scale farming,

    Interesting look at a possible sustainable land usage. But then the Park planning dept. would have an apoplexy ? they seem to like ‘cookie cutter’ hoiusing estates…..

  7. 12 Alister J. Clunas
    May 10, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    Well done to the CNPA for condemning the shooting of this goshawk but that is not enough. We are all “incredibly frustrated” by the lack of progress on reducing raptor persecution in the national park and elsewhere. After all these birds have had legal protection since 1954. We need to monitor what action it takes and hold the national park authority to account. CNPA needs to apply pressure on estates to clean up their act.

  8. 13 Bob Taylor
    May 10, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    SSPCA would certainly help the situation, their track record speaks for itself.

    How frustrating is it to have to watch our rarest species being persecuted with impunity. And within the National Park…………!!

    Surely the goshawk has to be one of the most persecuted species of raptor in Scotland, certainly one of the rarest.

    CLUE……………………Anyone using a firearm to shoot a goshawk is not a poacher, they will have permission of the landowner and will be known to the police as shotgun/firearm certificate holder.
    Lets see how much support the landowner gives.

  9. 14 Paul
    May 10, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    On a different topic, did anyone see the astonishingly one-sided report on Ravens (complete with comedy footage of Rooks) on Reporting Scotland tonight? My complaint has already been sent to the BBC.

  10. 16 JK Cooper
    May 11, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Prosecute and remove the licence of estate owners where wildlife crime occurs. The impotent hand wringing from the CNP fools no one, money talks and the law is broken.Time and time again.
    Sth Uist, hen harriers, eagles and other raptors in abundance. What’s missing? Grouse moors. Co incidence?

  11. 17 merlin
    May 11, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Surely if the national park leases this land to someone who continually flouts the law then the national park is vicariously liable. Surely the incredibly frustrated CEO is were the buck stops, the CNPA are taking money from these criminals and to all and sundry seem to be turning a blind eye, how long will it be before we get another rendition of how increasingly frustrated we are?

    • 18 against feudalism
      May 11, 2016 at 11:41 am

      I do not believe the national park owns any of the land ? It is in private hands.

      They do however, receive lots and lots of our money ! I am not very sure what they do with it?

  12. 19 crypticmirror
    May 11, 2016 at 11:57 am

    In more upbeat news, a Dalmatian Pelican has been spotted in the UK for the first time since possibly the Bronze Age. In less upbeat news, I’ve already seen on an angling group some fisherman calling for measures to be taken to ensure that it doesn’t settle in case it eats all the fish. This country…

  13. 20 Colin McP
    May 11, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    “We encourage anyone with information relating to this incident to contact the police by calling 101”.

    I wonder if they actively encourage CNPA staff (over 50 of them) to call 101 and report an incident to the police, or would it be managed locally via ‘partnership meetings’?

  14. 21 Ian rogerson
    May 11, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    God i hope you dont give up the chase .imagine what would be going on if you didn’t bring all these sad storys to the appropriate bodys.great work.wish it was on at the end of the national news.wish.keep up the work.i screen shot samples from yous to my social media. 👍👊

  15. 22 H Mary Atkinson
    May 11, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    We all know what is going on
    We all know that the cnpa has land owners on the board and in control.
    We all know that these offences are illegal.
    I am angry and frustrated. I am feeling powerless.

  16. 23 mark
    May 12, 2016 at 6:47 am

    probably a member of the royal family again!!

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