Raven cull update & what you can do to help

There has been a phenomenal public reaction to the shocking news that Scottish Natural Heritage has issued a multi-year licence to allow the mass culling of ravens in Highland Perthshire just ‘to see what happens’ (see here).

A few updates for those who might have missed them:

Statement from Robbie Kernahan, Head of Wildlife at SNH:

“We understand the concerns over wildlife crime in Strathbraan, but we are also clear that the granting of this licence is wholly unconnected to the issues concerned.

This licence is about a pressing and complex conservation issue. It  is a large-scale collaborative trial which will help improve our understanding of factors affecting key wader species, populations of which are declining at an alarming rate. We are satisfied this licence will not affect the population of ravens overall, and is over a five year period.

The licence places significant responsibility and expectations on all those involved – to be able to show that this approach can work and will help deliver what are essentially shared objectives.

Trust is a key element of this and this presents a great opportunity to develop that trust and relationships with all involved. If it becomes apparent that actions are not being carried out in accordance with the terms of any licence then we will have no hesitation in removing the licence”.

UPDATE 23 April 2018: RSPB Scotland responds in full to raven cull licence (here)

[Thanks to Mr Carbo for this cartoon]

Statement from Duncan Orr-Ewing, Head of Species & Land Management at RSPB Scotland:

“We are extremely concerned about the likely scale on impact of this research licence on the local raven population in the Strathbraan area of Perthshire. We are also very surprised that SNH have issued such a research licence  in the vicinity of Strathbraan, which has an appalling and well documented track record of illegal persecution of raptors, noting also the very recent “suspicious” disappearance of a satellite tagged white-tailed eagle in this very same area.

We, together with local raptor workers who have been monitoring ravens in the area for decades, could have helped SNH with this background detail to the licence application if we had been consulted.

We will be seeking a high level meeting with SNH shortly to discuss. We will be pressing for the research licence to be revoked on the back of the white-tailed eagle incident, and instead consideration given by SNH to removing the use of the Open General Licence in this area, as is within their powers”.

Both RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Raptor Study Group are working hard behind the scenes to stop this licence in its tracks. We hope to have more news on that in due course.

It’s also worth noting here that, as we understand it, many SNH staff members are opposed to this licence on scientific and ethical grounds, but it seems their advice was ignored by the decision-makers.

In the meantime, please continue to send emails to the Chair of SNH, Mike Cantlay. It’s crucial that he/SNH understands the strength of public anger and opposition to this licence. Emails to: chair@snh.gov.uk 

A number of well-intentioned people have started a variety of petitions opposing the cull licence. Some are more accurate than others but all are helpful in raising awareness. We’d recommend signing this one: SIGN PETITION HERE

Thank you


71 Responses to “Raven cull update & what you can do to help”

  1. 1 Roberta Mouse
    April 22, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Oh that’s ok then, since it is a large scale collaberative trial, no worries. Mr Kernahan is clearly a trusting soul, if somewhat naive and fond of euphemism !

  2. 2 Stuart MacKay
    April 22, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Information on the breeding waders in the area, the impact that ravens have on breeding waders and the expected population changes that result from removing ravens would all appear to be central to this but so far I have not seen anything in the discussions so far.

    Some statements from wader experts would be a big help in this.

  3. 5 Mick
    April 22, 2018 at 10:01 am

    The statement from Robbie Kernahan is beyond a joke, he says “Trust is a key element of this and this presents a great opportunity to develop that trust and relationships with all involved.” Surely they’ve always had an opportunity to develop trust, simply by following the laws of the land relating to birds of prey and they’ve failed.

    If the gamekeepers in the same area can’t be trusted to not kill protected birds of prey, sat tag data suggests that they can’t be trusted, how can they be trusted to do anything?

    The raven cull on top of the failure to issue a General Licence restriction on the estate owned by Philip Astor leaves a bad taste.

    • 6 crypticmirror
      April 22, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      The shooting fraternity wants to trust the SNH will do as they are told, that is the only trust issue applicable. It certainly is not trust with any other groups, this just makes me not trust SNH to be fit for purpose.

  4. 7 Allison rae
    April 22, 2018 at 10:02 am

    There is no need for this a disgrace for humans to do this. Must be stopped.

  5. 8 Dave
    April 22, 2018 at 10:07 am

    He should receive the DCM.

  6. 9 Mandy Rees
    April 22, 2018 at 10:08 am

    I have a better idea. Based on my own experience of seeing how we degrade and exploit species perhaps a human cull would be in order? Seriously; this is wrong on so many levels. Follow the money here I think to the real reasons why. Disgusting! Stop this course of action now. Culling of intelligent and established species for a let’s just see approach? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

  7. April 22, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Statement from Robbie Kernahan, Head of Wildlife at SNH:

    “We understand the concerns over wildlife crime in Strathbraan, but we are also clear that the granting of this licence is wholly unconnected to the issues concerned.”

    Sorry but we expect a much higher standard from our public servants. In which parallel universe do you think the issues are unconnected? You are not being consistent in your portrayal of the licence issue as being separated from wildlife crime by clear blue water. Look at the wider STANDARDS applied in this area of adminstation. An incidence of wildlife crime or a breech of GAEC can lead to the reclaim of unrelated agri-environment grants- different issues or the wise application of public policy for the public good? There is a far more direct correlation between the litany of wildlife crime and this fake experiment…. you should not have considered this as a reasonable application in this situation.

    “This licence is about a pressing and complex conservation issue. It is a large-scale collaborative trial which will help improve our understanding of factors affecting key wader species, populations of which are declining at an alarming rate. We are satisfied this licence will not affect the population of ravens overall, and is over a five year period.”

    What sort of science is this? Answer its not science, its the culling of protected species to protect grouse populations based on prejudice. If you cant see this I really despair. If you do see this then simply acknowledge that you, or your board, or your minister, have made a political decision to allow this to go ahead.
    We know why wader populations are collapsing- the upland fringe populations are all that are left while all the more productive lowland populations have been lost to agricultural change.

    As for your fake experiment- If you shoot all the Ravens… no wader chicks will be eaten by ravens. So what are you going to do then?

    “The licence places significant responsibility and expectations on all those involved – to be able to show that this approach can work and will help deliver what are essentially shared objectives.”

    What on earth are the shared objectives- reduce the Raven population to an unspecified artificially low level and raise waders to an artificially high level? Levels set by who, for what reason? What are the agreed targets and outcomes? Impacts on all other species and habitats not recorded or assessed? So is the fake experiment about waders or is about trusting gamekeepers?

    “Trust is a key element of this and this presents a great opportunity to develop that trust and relationships with all involved. If it becomes apparent that actions are not being carried out in accordance with the terms of any licence then we will have no hesitation in removing the licence”.

    How dare you suggest that the public are not involved in this… its our wildlife and you work for us. This is the part where the disconnect between the fact that this is at the heart of a major wildlife crime black spot- highlighted in your own publication, and offering trust to the cause of the crime is at its greatest.
    There should be no trust in this hotspot until the crimes are stopped and the guilty are brought to book. Where there is a loss of trust… sadly its between SNH and the people you work for.

  8. 15 SOG
    April 22, 2018 at 10:15 am

    If there’s a need for a crowd-funded legal challenge, I’ll join. I assume many more will too.

    • April 22, 2018 at 10:22 am

      Thanks, SOG, that will definitely be a consideration if SNH refuses to revoke this licence.

      It looks like a clear cut case for judicial review, in our opinion.

    • 19 lizzybusy
      April 22, 2018 at 11:23 am

      I definitely would support that.

    • 20 Alan Cranston
      April 22, 2018 at 7:51 pm

      Me too. But let’s hope it will not come to that: SNH will lose least if they withdraw this license quickly. It seems that good folk are urging this upon them and let’s hope their lawyers are too. People who’ve made bad decisions are notoriously slow to abandon them, but when they all get to the office tomorrow they will realize they have lost already and just need to find their most dignified way out.

  9. 21 Bill Gilmour
    April 22, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Well, I believe in letter writing. So, have written to the Chair of SNH and to the Francesca Osowska,the CEO, SNH along with Roseanna Cunningham MSP, 
Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform. My recent letter writing, also got good responses from Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North to whom I started by explain that I was not a constituent and to Kezia Dugdale Regional MSP for Lothian, who had also replied, saying she had put down a question to the Minister. So, they just got emails. However, responses are not definitive, because I did not receive replies from either of my Lothian Greens, (who usually reply personally) or the two Tories either. They’re next. Get writing.

  10. 22 Linda morton
    April 22, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Do you think ONEKIND might be interesred?

  11. April 22, 2018 at 10:38 am

    [Ed: thanks, Chrissie, but we can’t see what your link is – the facebook page is private. We can’t post a link to it without knowing what it is we’re linking to]

    • 24 lizzybusy
      April 22, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      To bring a judicial review you need to demonstrate that you or your organisation has been impacted by the decision. The Scottish Raptor Study Group (SRSG) and the RSPB have been working in partnership with the SNH in the area specifically regarding Ravens. They can definitely demonstrate a clear interest in the decision. These groups may also have been studying wader populations or working in other relevant partnerships. If OneKind can demonstrate a similar negative impact on their activities then they too might be in a position to bring a judicial review.

  12. April 22, 2018 at 10:44 am

    I’d just like to highlight two critical quotes from Raptor Persecution UK’s excellent presentation of this calamitous decision by SNH, which speak volumes.


    ‘The licence has been issued to a consortium calling itself the Strathbraan Community Collaboration for Waders (SCCW) which, according to the licence application, ‘represents some of the local land management (farmers, gamekeepers) and private interests in the area who value wading birds for their biodiversity, social and economic value to the area and to Scotland more widely. The application is supported by the Scottish Gamekeepers Association and technical advice and support, notably data gathering and interpretation, is being provided by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT)‘.’

    Then this response:

    ‘Statement from Robbie Kernahan, Head of Wildlife at SNH:

    “We understand the concerns over wildlife crime in Strathbraan, but we are also clear that the granting of this licence is wholly unconnected to the issues concerned.’

    It’s just jaw dropping. Either the SNH hierarchy have got such incredibly poor judgement, that makes you wonder how they can see past the end of their nose, or they think we’re stupid.

    We’re being asked to believe that when it comes to waders, that farmers, landowners, gamekeepers, xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx are hardcore conservationists, with no other agenda. This being exactly the same industry behind massacring Mountain Hares, apparently with the aim of wiping them out on shooting estates, a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. The same very same industry that [is suspected of being] engaged in the widespread and orchestrated illegal persecution of protected birds of prey including Gold Eagles, White-tailed Sea Eagle and Hen Harriers. And who do absolutely nothing to tackle this problem, and just make denials lacking all credibility, blaming it on to natural factors or unknown rogues (you’d think they’d be concerned about armed trespassers perpetrating wildlife crime on their land, if their claims are to be believed).

    [Ed: thanks, steb1, a few minor edits to make sure this comment isn’t libellous]

    • 26 Bill Gilmour
      April 22, 2018 at 5:29 pm

      To steb1. Mr Kernahan also said, “Trust is a key element of this and this presents a great opportunity to develop that trust and relationships with all involved.” Well, in this day and age , we would hope so but has the opportunity been taken? The application is supported by the Scottish Gamekeepers Association and the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust. SNH has not dealt, “with all involved”. On the contrary. He says himself, the Strathbraan Community Collaboration for Waders, “represents some of the local etc.. Other local people and groups have not been involved and I understand many are opposed this slaughter taking place in their neighbourhood, while most or none (?) of the conservation movement has been consulted. In this case, both fact and the perception is that SNH has not taken, “a great opportunity to develop that trust and relationships with all involved”. That probably is grounds for Judicial Revue. However, besides other things, I have pointed it out, in letters to the cabinet Secretary, the Chair & CEO of SNH and 10% of MSPs.

  13. 27 James Thomson
    April 22, 2018 at 10:49 am

    This all about killing Raven to protect RED GROUSE the only thing these estates care about.

  14. 29 Alister J Clunas
    April 22, 2018 at 11:25 am

    What about encouraging one of our MSPs to become a Species Champion for Raven?

  15. April 22, 2018 at 11:55 am

    I commend those taking action against this decision by SNH to allow the extermination of Ravens Highland Perthshire. Writing letters, to politicians, SNH, the petitions etc. In no way is what I am about to say a criticism of this, or saying this approach is futile.

    However, reacting to each instance of poor decision making by the authorities (by this term I mean every tier of government, the politicians in it, statutory bodies, the police, courts and legal system etc) is ineffective. For a start it requires a huge effort by conservationists to explain why each instance is wrong and why the action or responses are inadequate. Unfortunately the response from the politicians, and all the others, plus vested interests varies from indifferent to shameless, and nothing general is achieved.

    What is needed is a general approach. All these instances are contrary to a well understood code of ethics that conservationists, birders, naturalists, environmentalists, ethical scientists adhere to as regards the environment. Whilst well understood this code of ethics is generally not written down. What I mean is that there is a sort of ethical boundary that anyone with a functioning conservation moral compass perceives. In other words there is always going to be a grey area around this boundary, with competing interests. However, most of these instances featured on Raptor Persecution UK, by Mark Avery and everyone else, are so far over this ethical boundary, that it is difficult to understand why any official or politician thinks it acceptable.

    I’m suggesting that all conservation NGOs, conservationists, and naturalists need to get together to draw up a code of ethics on how we should treat the natural world. Something that can be understood by anyone. Part of this should be on how the authorities should react to wildlife crime, and lobbying from vested interests into taking actions harmful to the natural world. In other words, when a decision to allow damaging actions to conservation, like mass Raven culling go ahead, the anti-scientific Badger culling policy, licences for killing of Common Buzzards, brood meddling with Hen Harriers, culling Lesser Black-backed Gulls, the failure to respond properly to respond adequately to the persistent illegal killing of raptors, the failure to tackle the use of lead shot etc, then all concerned bodies, can simply say that this is a breach of this code of ethics. In other words some sort of red card approach, which says the authorities are in breach of this code. This would remain in place until there was a proper and adequate response.

    As I say there will always be some conflict of interests, human health, safety etc, but it could be framed in such a way as to say what sort of criteria must be met, In other words, not just some faceless bureaucrat just saying it’s fine because I say it is fine.

    Overall, what I’m trying to say, is that we all know why this Raven extermination programme is wrong and unethical, along with many of the other issues highlighted here. There is a well known ethical boundary, even if it is not codified. Yet in each of these instances, we are forced to explain why it is wrong, when it would be much easier if we could just say this is clearly contrary to this code of ethics or these defined principles.

    • 31 Bill Gilmour
      April 22, 2018 at 1:28 pm

      In the meantime, we what are you going to do? There are contributions here from nearly over 20 people, if each of us sent emails to SNH, our MSPs and Ministers, we would have some effect on this madness. don’t knock it until you have tried it.

      • April 22, 2018 at 5:00 pm

        I specifically explained in my opening paragraph:

        “I commend those taking action against this decision by SNH to allow the extermination of Ravens Highland Perthshire. Writing letters, to politicians, SNH, the petitions etc. In no way is what I am about to say a criticism of this, or saying this approach is futile.”

        My point is that criticising each specific incident puts undue pressure on conservationists to explain it. Firstly there are far more “incidents” that can possibly dealt with in this way. Secondly you have to explain in great detail, for each instance why this is a problem, why the rationalisations for it are invalid or disingenuous etc. This latter part is a difficulty, explain too much and what is written is skimmed over or ignored, explain too little, and the false justifications can seem more convincing than what you are trying to explain, often to someone with no ecological knowledge, and no interest in conservation. Often the failure to properly respond to these representations makes it very apparent that the recipients of these letters, emails and petitions have either not read them, totally misunderstand the issues, or just don’t care.

        Yet you see, often the representations to each of these incidents are just explaining the same basic principles which apply to all of these matters in general.

        The incidents and matters reported on Raptor Persecution UK alone would keep you working round the clock if you just make representations to the relevant bodies over each incident. And I can assure you that the reports here are just the tip of the iceberg as regards conservation issues, the authorities should have addressed and haven’t.

        There is a further difficulty. This plan has already been approved by SNH, they will already have developed rationalizations to deal with criticisms of it, as printed here. The only way they will back down is if the public furore reaches such a level as that it would damage their public standing. But that level of action would be far better focused on the general problem, and not this specific incident of stupidity. Far more of these stupid decisions, to brood meddling with Hen Harriers, numerous failed initiatives, that we can deal with one at a time. To have an effective strategy of dealing with this, conservationists need a singly overarching set of clearly written principles which can be evoked every time the authorities fail to deal with something in the proper way as regards conservation, conservation ethics, and impacts on the natural world.

        • 33 Alan Cranston
          April 22, 2018 at 8:05 pm

          I think there is also a question of whether they have complied with the law. SNH are required to comply with the law – arguably pretty demanding law – when issuing a licence such as this. In my view they have not. The problem is that judicial review is expensive. However it’s also the case the public authorities in the environmental arena are not as used to their decisions being challenged as some others. One incidental advantage of seeking JR in this case would be to make them less cavalier in their interpretation of the law in future. JR is complicated but it does put the onus on the public authority to explain how they complied with the law, so ultimately it is they who have to do the explaining.

  16. April 22, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    There will be one or more prominent politicians, at least partly, behind this – let’s have some transparency. When experienced individuals within the SNH aren’t listened to that’s usually what’s likely to have happened. There will have been someone behind the scenes lobbying on behalf of the applicant and will now attempt to conceal themselves behind the “decision makers” within the SNH.

    These same decision makers within the SNH should know better – why wouldn’t they want to consult the RSPB and local groups on these matters. Applicants for this type of licence application should remain applicants with their proposals considered objectively in the public domain – they have a vested interest – and they’re hiding behind the wader argument.
    There should be outside consultation with third parties who have no commercial interests and know a bit about the subject matter. The objective of this application is to create a smokescreen to conduct predator control alright, but not to control the predation of livestock as was the intention of the legislation. Any variance from the intended use of the legislation, at the very least, should be advertised for public comment – ravens now, what next ?

    • April 22, 2018 at 5:06 pm

      I fully agree. There are far too many of these inexplicable decisions by public bodies and the authorities, where it is not at all clear how they got the go ahead, and what sort of lobbying resulted in these bizarre decisions. Natural England’s licences for Hen Harrier brood meddling is another good example. You wonder how such bodies made such terrible decisions.

      In my opinion, in the whole process, all communication from all bodies concerned must be recorded and available for public scrutiny afterwards. In other words all approaches from lobbyists should be on the record. All their discussions with these public bodies should be logged, so that if terrible decisions like this are made, it can be seen exactly how these decisions were derived.

      • 36 Bill Gilmour
        April 22, 2018 at 6:02 pm

        Steb1. These consultations are recorded and you can make a Freedom of Information request to SNH to see them. They ought deliver in 20 days. Google “SNH FOI” and you will find on a page of “WhatDoTheyKnow” a request has already been made, which you can click on to “Follow”. In the meantime, I do wish you would put all this great material you have written, in an email to the Cabinet Sec, the Chair and CEO of SNH.

  17. April 22, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    What a total load of bullshit. You people can see the outcry from the population. Petitions all over the place. So far thousands have signed and I’m sure thousands more will also. If these people ar SNH have an ounce of brain cell, they will revoke all licences and listen to the people. And I’ll tell you this… this won’t go away or be pushed under the carpet.

    • 38 Jonathan
      April 22, 2018 at 2:34 pm

      Correct, 3rays, we mustn’t allow this one to pass by us. SNH and all those connected with driven grouse shooting have crossed a moral and ethical red line. Raven and waders and everything else in the natural world have lived just fine in a balanced predator/prey relationship for millions of years. There is no scientific justification for it whatsoever. Does anyone think this might make the papers in any significant way?

  18. 39 crypticmirror
    April 22, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    If you are emailing, make sure to add in a couple of completely separate issues to the ravens. That way they cannot use a mass emailed form letter, and have to write an individual reply on each issue. Well, in theory anyway.

    • 40 Bill Gilmour
      April 22, 2018 at 1:51 pm

      Crypticmirror – That is wrong. You should sick to one issue – stay on script. Try it – see what you get back.

      • 41 SOG
        April 22, 2018 at 6:29 pm

        I’m a cynic. From that viewpoint they won’t read the emails, they’ll count them.

        • 42 Bill Gilmour
          April 22, 2018 at 8:20 pm

          They do indeed count them, so for instance you should never get two people to sign one email. Alway send one each. But that count can matter. But they do more than count them. I have closely argued letters to and from a CEO of SNH, who then changed many parts of the Access Code.

      • 43 Alan Cranston
        April 22, 2018 at 8:17 pm

        I agree. The aim is to force an individual and considered reply – because they serve us, and if you don’t get an answer to your points or question you can press further or escalate. But to get to that point you need to write an individual letter – personal and informed. Not a carbon copy with the dots filled in, I never send such letters. Also, writing to your own MP or MSP is important, and if you want them to take you seriously as distinct from merely courteously you should write your own letters. Adding separate issues is never helpful, you might just as well add the new issues in green ink.

  19. 44 Secret Squirrel
    April 22, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    I’d love to see the science used to justify this, and something independent to the discredited GWCT. Or is it now scientific to say ‘Let’s remove this species and see what happens?”

  20. 45 Jennifer wilkinson
    April 22, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Do not approve of any form of a cull. What next will they decide to control. Worries me this trend.

  21. 46 Patricia Miller
    April 22, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    I live close to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania. Although not Ravens, many years back, farmers killed/culled the redtailed hawks. Mass casualities of redtails. Sadly, they soon found out that the balance of rodents like mice and rats increased because of this imbalance. Nature takes care of itself. They are now watched and studied and enjoyed for their beauty.

  22. 47 Margaret Worrall
    April 22, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Could we have a cull of Scottish National Heritage,please?

  23. 48 Brian Robertson
    April 22, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    The only reason Kernahan can say, “this presents a great opportunity to develop that trust and relationships with all involved” is due the fact he didn’t trust RSPB & other conservation bodies to be involved!

    Shameful decision by our Scottish Government which puts us in the same category as the whaling nations of the world that continue to kill, allegedly in the name of science, when we all know it’s for profit.

  24. 49 Michael k watson
    April 22, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    What happens when all the ravens are culled and there is no increase in waders? The approach seems like the middle ages when supposed witches where burned. If they lived it proved they were a witch. Of course they all died. Will SNH say sorry we got it wrong,like the people that were burned it’s too late.

  25. 50 Paul V Irving
    April 22, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Develop trust!!! the man if a numbwit the reason we don’t trust the landowners and managers of this area is it is a black hole for birds of prey which disappear in wholly suspicious circumstances. The wider public and conservationists surprisingly weren’t consulted ( sounds very much like the Orchel/Lovel Merlin monitoring scheme in Swaledale and Wensleydale) It is in both cases total bollocks and designed to help the grouse shooters be seen as conservationists rather than hauling them over the coals due to both areas being persecution hotspots. GWCT ceased to have any scientific credibility on upland issues long ago and essentially do the bidding of their benefactors wrapped in a “scientific” coat. Surely the first thing to do if waders are doing badly is use less intrusive means to find out why nest cameras for example. this smacks of anti corvid prejudice and nothing more pandering to those who want rid of ravens and nothing to do with waders.

  26. 51 Heidi Karlsen
    April 22, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Stop this.
    Leave the ravens alone.
    Wathc over your livestock.

  27. 52 Merlin
    April 22, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Petition signed, would have preferred to sign one calling for the dismissal of Robbie Kernahan.
    Driven grouse shooting ends in December
    Driven Hare shooting ends in February
    Raven shooting will fill the void from February to August if they get the chance

    • 53 Merlin
      April 22, 2018 at 8:39 pm

      oh and by the way, the first step to increase wader numbers would be to stop shooting them, Woodcock, Snipe and Golden Plover are still on the quarry list as is the Curlew in parts of Europe

    April 22, 2018 at 11:58 pm


  29. 55 Ged Morley
    April 23, 2018 at 7:32 am

    I have just returned from a bird watching trip in Scotland. The hardest raptor to spot was the Raven. Beautiful bird. Please get the facts right before any decision is made.

  30. April 23, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Well, if all else fails then we’re left with only one option – direct action.

  31. 57 Matt
    April 23, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Sent to chair@snh.gov.uk

    Dear Sir,

    I am emailing to ask you to revoke the licence recently granted for control of Ravens in the Strathbraan area.

    It is entirely inappropriate to issue a ‘research’ licence of this type to a group operating in an area of known wildlife crime and raptor persecution. What kind of message does that send to law-abiding estates in Scotland, when you (appear to) reward wrong-doing? To argue that the two issues are unconnected simply doesn’t hold.

    Secondly, the reasons for the issuing of this licence are deeply questionable. What scientific basis is underpinning this licence? What monitoring regimen is being implemented to assess the impacts of the cull? What monitoring regimen is being implemented to oversee the cull itself? What, precisely, does this hope to achieve? The overriding reason for wader declines in the UK is the loss of lowland habitat due to agricultural intensification. We already know this.

    Thirdly, the ‘justification’ provided by Robbie Kernahan is woefully inadequate. He talks about trust, but the issuing of this licence undermines this. What message does it send to the Raptor Study Groups, who monitor this species and work with SNH through the provision of licence returns? What impact does he think this will have on the public’s trust in SNH and the Scottish Government, custodians of our wildlife and environment?

    To the eyes of the public, this looks like a decision taken based on political, rather than scientific, grounds. It deeply misjudges the current mood, and will cause irreversible damage to SNH both amongst the public and also amongst the specialists who work with them on a daily basis. I don’t doubt that this decision is also controversial within SNH.

    On a personal level, I have nothing but good experiences of the SNH licensing team, who do a sometimes difficult job effectively and professionally. This decision is a great disappointment.

    Kind regards,

  32. 59 Paul Fisher
    April 23, 2018 at 10:08 am

    [Ed: comment deleted. The individual you write about is not an SNH staff member – he serves on the SNH Scientific Advisory Board. There is no conflict of interest with SNH’s decision to issue the raven culling licence]

    • 60 Paul Fisher
      April 23, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      My apologies. The website shows him as a board member and the accounts show that as a paid position. I naturally thought he would have had a say in the decision at board level.

      • April 23, 2018 at 1:01 pm

        Thanks, Paul. It’s not known whether the decision to issue this licence ever reached Board level (although it probably will now if SNH doesn’t revoke it & a threat of legal action looms).

        But even if it did reach Board level, we don’t know what position each Board member took (remember, many within SNH are opposed to this cull) so it’s unfair to single out this individual.

  33. April 23, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    This wader protection group should inform BirdLife International that they have got it all wrong, they forgot to mention that Ravens are to blame for extinction threats.

    In fact in this whole report they failed to use the word ‘predator’ even once.
    Luckily we have these gamekeepers, farmers, their landowners and the SNH to set the record straight.

    • April 23, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      PS. Correction. When i tried a second search i did find a mention of predators but it was either introduced predators particularly on island or climate change effecting predator-prey cycles.

  34. April 23, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    I have overlaid the proposed cull area onto the RSPB map of confirmed raptor crimes between 1994 and 2014.
    This is a huge area covering almost the entire area between Abefeldy, Perth, Crieff, Comrie and Ardeonaig on Loch Tay.
    It not exact but it gives an idea.

  35. 65 Donalda Ducky
    April 23, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    I wonder how Robbie’s day went today ?

  36. 66 David Mcnee
    April 23, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    It’s just like Japan culling a quota of whales for “scientific research”

  37. 67 Raptor rights
    April 24, 2018 at 1:37 am

    The real reason for wader numbers falling dramatically is quite plain for anyone to see. It is modern farming practices that are having a devastating effect on populations of waders. I passed a farm only today where the tractors were out in the fields ploughing and rolling just at the critical nesting time of many waders including lapwing and curlew. Farming practices were much more sympathetic in the not too distant past and wader numbers flourished on farmland. Sort out this issue and voilà there will be no problem for raven (or any other predator), to take the odd wader chick as food.

    I know the area in question well and I also know that landowners with grouse moor care little for anything other than grouse bag numbers. They often use the ‘look at the benefit managing grouse moors has for waders’, card but we all know any benefit is simply a by product of the management carried out on these moors to artificially increase grouse numbers so that they can be blasted from the sky.

    Driven grouse moors are having a detrimental effect to much of upland Scotland and giving a licence to kill a protected species will only increase that detriment. I have seen raven in the Strathbrann area but certainly not in the numbers that the grouse shooting fraternity would have us think.

    Not to mention the ‘not so little’, record of raptor persecution in the area with the very recent disappearance of a very important young Fife born white tailed eagle so, one could be forgiven to assume that control of ‘all predators’, already takes place there. At the very least SNH have very poor judgment and timing, at worst some within the SNH hierarchy could be accused of having ‘vested interests’.

  38. 68 Ali Shotton
    April 24, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    Why are we doing this we seem to be really making/made a total mess of this beautiful country to both the landscape and wildlife shame

  39. 69 Ali Shotton
    April 25, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    Very sad

  40. 70 Lisa fink
    April 26, 2018 at 5:19 am

    This is disgusting. Ravens are as smart as children and are sentient beings. My opinion of Scotland has been forever changed. Stop this barbaric, brutal madness!

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