Over the weekend, there was some extraordinary media coverage centred on accusations that the RSPB is “openly ignoring” PAW Scotland protocols in relation to what should happen when a satellite tagged raptor ‘disappears’.
It all stemmed from a leaked letter about wildlife crime, written by the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee, addressed to Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham. That letter has now been published and you can read it here: ECCLR letter on Wildlife Crime to Environment Secretary_26March2017
This letter was leaked to the press last week, prior to being published on the Scottish Government’s website. That in itself is extraordinary – who leaked it, and why?
The press ran with this story and several pieces sought to portray RSPB Scotland in a poor light (e.g. BBC news article here). What was even more extraordinary was that this subject was also included in the BBC’s Sunday Politics show, with interviews from Graeme Dey MSP (convener of the Environment Committee) and Ian Thomson (Head of Investigations, RSPB Scotland). The programme is available on iPlayer for the next few weeks here.
Why was this extraordinary? Well, what with the imminent triggering of Article 50 for Brexit, and the SNP’s push for a second independence referendum, you might think that a political current affairs programme had slightly more pressing issues to discuss.
Ah, but wait a minute, the much anticipated review of raptor satellite tag data is due to be published in the very near future, and is expected to expose some pretty uncomfortable truths for our friends in the grouse shooting industry, which could (should!), finally, lead to some enforcement action by the Scottish Government.
May be the timing of these accusations against RSPB Scotland is purely coincidental, but may be it isn’t. We wouldn’t be so foolish as to underestimate the power and influence of the landowning grouse shooting brigade.
To cut to the chase, we thought it’d be interesting to ask blog readers whether they agreed that RSPB Scotland had “openly ignored” the PAW Scotland satellite tagged raptor protocol.
Here’s the scenario for you to consider:
A satellite-tagged golden eagle, whose tag had been functioning perfectly well, suddenly and inexplicably ‘disappears’ off the radar in an area where there is previous history of confirmed raptor persecution.
Follow the PAW Scotland protocol flow chart and decide whether the RSPB has breached the protocol by immediately contacting Police Scotland, but NOT the landowner, about the ‘missing’ eagle.