07
May
18

“Let’s have more trials [culls] whether it’s about ravens or other things”, says SNH

Every time Scottish Natural Heritage tries to take back control of the narrative surrounding its appalling decision to issue a raven-killing licence to a bunch of grouse moor owners and gamekeepers, ‘just to see what happens’, it digs itself deeper and deeper in to a disastrous PR hole.

Just when you thought SNH couldn’t cock this up any more than it already has, and with a public petition against the raven cull now standing at over 90,000 signatures, this happened:

On Saturday, BBC Radio Scotland’s Out of Doors programme aired an interview with Nick Halfhide, Director of Sustainable Development at SNH, whose briefing had obviously included the instructions ‘Make sure you talk about saving waders. Waders, waders, waders. Don’t worry about the science, because there isn’t any, just talk about saving waders’.

The programme is available on iPlayer for the next 27 days (here, starts at 35:33 mins).

Here’s the transcript:

Euan McIlwraith: ….Earlier this week I spoke to Nick Halfhide, Director of Sustainable Development for SNH on that decision to grant the licence.

NH: We’ve given a licence, a one-year licence, to control up to 69 ravens down in Strathbraan in Perthshire to remove ravens, but it’s actually about saving waders, that’s what this is about. Wader numbers have declined by more than 50% in the last 20 years and they’re a red-listed species. Ravens, taking 69 out of a population of over 15,000 won’t make a dent in that at all so this is about saving waders.

EM: How often do you issue a licence for the culling of raven?

NH: We’ve issued a number of licences in recent years to cull ravens for agricultural purposes, for lambing and that sort of thing, this is the first one we’ve issued specifically for waders. But we do issue under General Licence for control of other corvid birds so that’s crows as well as other birds that are having a strong impact on things like waders.

EM: We’re on a moor at the moment, a heather-clad moorland. What is the problem with ravens? What’s the impact they have?

NH: What they do, and you’ll have heard this from gamekeepers, in some areas they come as a flock and they will sweep down and they will take away either the eggs or slightly later the chicks from breeding waders and they’ll take out that year’s population of new birds. That’s essentially the problem here.

EM: There’s two levels of argument going on here. One it’s legitimate protection for wading birds. The other one is for grouse, because the ravens will take grouse chicks and grouse eggs as well, so the shooting estates will benefit.

NH: They will undoubtedly benefit from them although as I understand in that part of the world grouse are doing rather well, but what we’re concerned about as a conservation organisation are the waders and as I said, they’ve reduced by 50% in the last 20 years and that’s very significant. Red-listed, can you imagine going up into the hills and not hearing that distinctive curlew cry and seeing that wonderful display that you get from lapwings and that’s what, that’s our main focus here.

EM: Is it lapwing, curlew habitat, you know, because part of the problem is the circle that draws around this protection area or this cull area includes three rather large grouse moors.

[Map showing amount of grouse moor in the Strathbraan raven cull area, by RPUK]:

NH: Yeah but this is prime habitat we’re talking about here for lapwing and curlew. There are good populations there at the moment, we wanna make sure they remain good and they export birds out in the future. The fact it’s a grouse moor, it is a grouse moor but there’s also improved agricultural land, there are, these habitats are intertwined and that’s where the lapwing and curlew are strong at the moment and we want to keep it that way.

EM: So you don’t feel you’ve been duped then?

NH: No not at all. We’re delighted that we’ve got land managers helping us to save these birds and ultimately it’s great that we can maintain populations on small reserves but its the people out in the countryside, gamekeepers and farmers, we need to get them on board because they’re the future of these birds, not just keeping them on small reserves with fences around them, that isn’t the future.

EM: Were you surprised at the reaction from both sides of the argument?

NH: We were surprised that it got this high profile but we understand that there are passionate people in this field and we got lots of support for this action but we’ve also heard lots of people who find it difficult, and we understand killing things is difficult. But we also understand that if we’re gonna save these waders, we do need to kill some birds, whether they be ravens, and indeed the conservation NGOs regularly kill other birds, crows, on a much larger scale than we’re talking about here, so it’s a well-known tool to help our most endanagered birds.

EM: ‘Cos one of the criticisms that was suggested to me was why not study them in depth, do the science, before a cull, rather than seeing the impact after the cull?

NH: Yeah, there’s lots of science on this already and the science in 2010 showed there was maybe a weak link but still one that was worth, worth further investigation. So we had a choice, we can either do more science, which is always welcome, or, we can get on and do it. Science is partly about rigorous scientific studies but its also the knowledge of people who work on the land on a day to day basis, and what they’re telling us, the evidence they give us, is that ravens are causing a problem here, so let’s trial it, and this is just a trial, see what happens, and we’re gonna have some really comprehensive monitoring. Is there a link that says yep, we’ll carry on with the trial and we maybe need to do some more science to look at this in more detail alongside it.

EM: Has it got the potential to be rolled out across Scotland, across many grouse moors because as you say, it is waders’ habitat as well?

NH: We need to look and see what this trial comes up with first. I think rolling it out it’s far too early to say, this is fairly site-specific, but what we would welcome is other groups of land managers on a large scale coming forward and saying, you know, we’ve observed a particular problem in our land, can we trial it and see if we can get these waders, ‘cos this is about waders not about ravens.

EM: Yeah but would it not make more sense for all the groups to get together like the RSPB, the Raptor Study Groups, and the landowners, to put in a joint application? It seems to be folk either side of the fence which naturally leads to conflict.

NH: Yeah, we would welcome a joint application but I think we need to wind back a little bit here, 2016 we did get everyone around the table, Understanding Predation, and that was about bringing together that various different interests. The hard science, the experience of people on the ground, the conservation bodies, the public sector, to agree the way forward and one of the things that that agreed was we did need to do more trials to see what happens and we can learn from that as well as continuing with the hard science, the hard evidence gathering.

EM: You’re kind of piggy in the middle here, there’s some pretty heavy politics.

NH: That’s our role, we’ve here to help bring everyone together because, you know, we’re Scotland’s leading nature body, our role on behalf of Government and behalf of the people of Scotland, is to get some of these more polarised discussions in a safer place so that we can do difficult things, because, it’s all about the waders, and that was what Understanding Predation was about and our role is to push that through, get people to the table, but not also to shirk from making difficult decisions, when it’s in the interest of the waders.

EM: Is this going to happen, because lots of people are lobbying Ministers, from either side of the argument?

NH: Well that’s what we need to try and move this forward, we need to take the heat out of this, we need to take the personalities out of this, we need to stop people sending in some really vicious stuff to us about this, let’s cool it all down, let’s move forward, let’s bring the evidence together, and great, get everyone round the table, let’s have more trials whether it’s about ravens or other things so we can really test to see what we can learn from this kind of approach.

ENDS

Good grief.

What on earth is going on at SNH? Since when has this supposed scientific statutory agency ignored peer reviewed science, sidelined important stakeholders, and instead made policy decisions based solely on made up stories spewed out by an industry with a well-known reputation for its hatred and intolerance towards predators?

Well, since now, judging by Mr Halfhide’s comments.

What next? A cull of sea eagles because they might take small children and babies (see here)? A cull of goshawks because they’re “non-native” (see here)? A cull of red kites because they’re “annihilating sand martins” (see here)?

Please keep writing (politely) to Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, urging her to intervene and suspend the raven cull licence, even temporarily, while we await the findings of the SNH Scientific Advisory Committee’s licence review. Emails to: cabsececclr@gov.scot

And if you haven’t already signed the petition against the raven cull, please consider adding your voice to 90,000 others here.

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49 Responses to ““Let’s have more trials [culls] whether it’s about ravens or other things”, says SNH”


  1. 1 lothianrecorder
    May 7, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    “the knowledge of people who work on the land on a day to day basis, and what they’re telling us” All well and good in theory but shouldn’t someone in this kind of position of responsibility be aware of the potential for bias in this kind of contribution. He may say science is just one part of the picture but with studies like the eagle tracking review and Hen Harrier distribution papers conclusively demonstrating that systematic illegal persecution continues at an industrial scale, completely denied by all of the parties involved in these bids to control Ravens, it is bizarre that he hears no alarm bells are ringing. BTW, you can add Goosander to the list above – consistently and repeatedly labelled as “introduced”/”non-native” by pro-fishing types in pressure for escalating culls, despite being told otherwise – similar scenario, a blind eye to any science or fact that does not suit their agendas.

    • May 7, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Can only speak from experience but following sent to Environment Secretary,

      I am concerned about the current situation regarding this Strathbraan collaboration; to the extent that I have signed the Raptors UK petition.

      Not that I am a member of any conservation body, or knowledgeable about the natural history of Scottish moors beyond the ordinary person’s everyday understanding of such matters.

      My interest relates to the cultural linkage of Ravens with Norse mythology. As a resident these past four years on Knoydart, the strong Viking image of the Raven sprang to mind when I read about this action of Scottish Natural Heritage.

      The continuing furore seems more akin to Viking predation by SNH than I would associate with an environmental body of scientific standing.

      I trust that your office will be able to cast a clear eye upon this unscientific proposal to cull ravens in the hope that waders will benefit. As matters stand, public perception of SNH credibility has taken a nose-dive. This government organisation is acting in a non-governmental manner by not speaking plainly and clearly on the issue before us, and I for one would gain a better understanding of the reasons for this culling were the Scottish Parliament to “call in” the collaborators and settle the minds of ordinary folk who smell a rat at the centre of SNH.

      Yours sincerely,

    • 3 heclasu
      May 8, 2018 at 1:02 am

      Mergansers too out here in the Hebs!

    • 4 crypticmirror
      May 8, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      Anglers in Ayrshire are doing the same, and a local “conservation” charity with an angling focus keeps on promoting images of how ducks are damaging fish parr, as if that were not a normal part of predation and also pictures of its staff going angling. Even if they are acting in good faith, they are still stoking the demands for a cull of wildlife and still contributing to an image of anglers as a group which is pro-culling.

      • 5 Iain Gibson
        May 8, 2018 at 7:04 pm

        Yes, SNH has granted a licence for killing Cormorants on an Ayrshire loch adjacent to the RSPB wetland reserve at Lochwinnoch. These birds form part of a cohort which use all three lochs and roost within the RSPB Reserve. This at a time when the Clyde area Cormorant population has declined by approximately 75% in the past decade (from circa 800 to only 200). Did SNH consult RSPB as a key stakeholder? Of course they didn’t. Licences to shoot Cormorants and Goosanders are handed out like sweeties, apparently to any applicant, without any consideration of the scientific justification or consulting local experts.

        • 6 Marco McGinty
          May 10, 2018 at 3:32 pm

          To make matters worse, this cull was taken to appease hobby fishermen. Kilbirnie Loch is not a commercial fishery, so it is yet another shameful episode when SNH has capitulated, and allowed our native wildlife to be culled to appease environmentally destructive hobbyists.

  2. 7 Ron Bury
    May 7, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    This appears more like a PR exercise on behalf of the grouse moors every time SNH makes a statement.

    Are there any scientific studies presently in progress regarding habitat degradation due to land use in the area?

    • 8 Paul V Irving
      May 7, 2018 at 5:57 pm

      Yes it does sound just like you describe, I read the transcript and though immediately of that other pro grouse shooting truth bender Andrew Gilruth. SNH is really scraping the barrel here and seems hell bent on wilful blindness when it comes to the science, the morality and the bias of this group of ” stakeholders.”
      Oh I fed my local ravens this week on a pheasant carcase ( minus the breast meat) and thoroughly grateful they were too.

  3. 9 Secret Squirrel
    May 7, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Interesting that this interview didn’t apopear in their podcast version of the show.

    Also interesting was what did appear, which was a ‘wildlife safari’ round the Angus Glens, lead by a gamekeepr who openly talked of shooting hen crows out of trees, and of massive mountain hare culls. When asked why kill the hares, he couldn’t really answer the question beyond ‘because they might eat tree seedlings’

  4. May 7, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Unbelievable nonsense from a spokesman at a statutory agency tasked with making conservation decisions based on scientific evidence. SNH, like Natural England, is no longer fit for purpose. It has become an anti-conservation, non-scientific, propaganda machine for the shooting, fishing and farming industries. It is no wonder that wildlife crime is out of control in this country.

  5. 12 Marco McGinty
    May 7, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Lepidopterists that run moth traps have noticed a reduction in catches in recent years, both in numbers and species, so does this now open the door for trial songbird culls wherever traps are operated?

  6. 14 Iain Gibson
    May 7, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    These words coming from Mr Halfhide (how ironic and appropriate) display a quite astonishing degree of ineptitude, and we cannot allow SNH to enter into collaboration with such an undesirable element of society. Halfhide comes across like a puppet spokesperson for the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, a sinister organisation whose true objectives are hidden behind a facade of “caring about waders.” They have clearly been working on this XXXXXXX for years, and have now reached a stage to boldly go where no shooting body has gone before. They are a serious treat to what little progress has been made in the field of raptor and predator conservation, with a very real danger of returning to the dark ages or at least Victorian times. It’s quite astonishing, surreal and almost unbelievable that Scottish Natural Heritage is providing them with a route down this way, apparently supporting deep-rooted mythology and XXXXXXX. It’s as if SNH at the top has been infiltrated by the enemies of conservation, and certainly we seem to be experiencing a huge backward step for a body we have respected since the days of The Nature Conservancy.

    I dread to think how their field staff of dedicated employees feels right now. Does SNH actually not realise that there are several anthropogenic factors which are causing the decline in breeding waders, which fundamentally need to be tackled, not ignored for political reasons? Predation is if anything only a marginal factor, and certainly not worth the persecution of a scapegoat like the Raven. Mr Halfhide romantically evokes the mournful cry of the Curlew across the grouse moors, and talks of the Ravens which… “come as a flock and they will sweep down [sic] and they will take away either the eggs or slightly later the chicks from breeding waders and they’ll take out that year’s population of new birds.” What a load of utter tosh and bullshit! Back to school, Mr Halfhide.

    Instead of attempting to entwine us in a sentimental fantasy, perhaps SNH might like to provide us with a few FACTS. According to Mr Halfhide, the population of Ravens is healthy, standing at over 15,000 birds, but within what area is he referring? Perthshire? Indeed not. In year 2000, the Raven population of the UK was estimated at 12,900 pairs, including 6,200 pairs in Scotland (BTO). So the figure of 15,000 presumably refers to the Scottish population, taking into account non-breeding birds. This is nowhere near the true potential, due to centuries of pernicious persecution. Even more importantly, has SNH taken into account the studies which have shown that Ravens are not the rapacious predators that Halfhide describes, but are primarily scavengers? No-one would deny that they take some eggs and chicks incidentally, but my own research has shown that the itinerant flocks of non-breeding birds “swooping down” are foraging mainly for field voles and probably also invertebrates. They also associate with lambing ewes, taking advantage of the by-products of birthing, mainly placental and natural fatalities. I provided SNH with a summary of my findings, in the light of this licence application, but received no reply.

    Has a basic impact assessment been undertaken into the effect on the local Raven population in Perthshire? In fact have they even carried out a census of the current population? That alone tells us little about the contribution made by Ravens, and rather than believing the usual anecdotes, surely more detailed scientific research is required to even start understanding any potential or actual impact? My own knowledge of Ravens suggests that they are not the demons as depicted by the shooting and farming interests. Has SNH identified other, more significant factors which have caused the decline in breeding waders, some of which have already been revealed by research? As these factors are far more significant, why not address them? I think we know the answer to that question.

    • 15 lothianrecorder
      May 7, 2018 at 3:17 pm

      Well said.

      >> have they even carried out a census of the current population

      They won’t have done, but SRSG have, 42 prs of Raven in Perth & Kinross in 2016 (* page 34). In SE Scotland all known territories are monitored on an annual basis, the population estimate due to be published the Birds in SE Scotland 2007-13** is 55-65 prs.

      * http://raptormonitoring.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/All-SRMS-Species_2016.pdf
      ** https://www.the-soc.org.uk/birds-in-south-east-scotland-2007-13

      • 16 Iain Gibson
        May 7, 2018 at 3:34 pm

        Thanks for that revealing information lothianrecorder. So there are only 42 breeding pairs of Raven in Perth & Kinross, and SNH deems it appropriate to cull 300 in five years! Even more outrageous than I thought. Our statutory nature conservation body appear to have completely lost the plot. Methinks resignations are called for.

        • 17 Michael Watts
          May 8, 2018 at 11:05 am

          Mr Halfhide seems to be reading from an entirely unknown hymen sheet, over fifteen thousand Raven in Scotland, or was that the entire UK. According to the late Dr Derek Ratcliffe, the total number of Ravens for the whole of the UK (The Raven, A Natural History in Britain and Ireland. The University Press, Cambridge. 1997) was no more than 3,300 as a conservative estimate, with an additional 1,000 in Ireland. But as the old adage goes, there are lies, damn lies and statics.

      • May 8, 2018 at 10:54 am

        Thanks lothianrecorder, that is going straight to Cunningham!
        By the way my MSP Mike Russell, a previous Environmental Minister is very sympathetic to our concerns and has written to Cunningham.

    • 19 Secret Squirrel
      May 7, 2018 at 5:25 pm

      The ‘swooping flock of non-breeding birds’ has turned up in a couple of places in this fiasco – almost as if it’s in a list of pet phrases to use. I wonder if FOIs into discussions between the various bodies would turn up a briefing note, and if so who wrote it.

      • 20 heclasu
        May 7, 2018 at 8:20 pm

        I think we can all guess where that kind of rhetoric came from Secret Squirrel! And I bet we’re not wrong either!

      • 21 Iain Gibson
        May 8, 2018 at 2:07 am

        It depresses me, but I try to keep in touch with how the shooting community is thinking by reading their blogs, websites and subscribing to their newsletters. A common theme which has been running through these for years is “we are the true conservationists and we care passionately about waders.” They carry out and report on the flimsiest “scientific research” imaginable, despite employing personnel with academic qualifications. For example, the GWCT’s “research” into the declining population of Woodcock in the UK seems to consist mostly of radio tagging individuals and tracing their movements across central Europe to their breeding grounds. Apart from the usual map graphics, I have yet to read of any aspect of this “research” which is designed to answer the fundamental question. It appears on the surface at least to be pseudo-science. They also boast about their farmland bird projects on sample farmland sites, often focusing on enhancing Curlew or Lapwing breeding success. Their results are far from spectacular, and of course the so-called conservation measures consist almost exclusively of single-mindedly wiping out predators. It just so happens that other species they are “conserving” on these “wader plots” are game birds like introduced Red-legged Partridges. As for Ravens, they just love referring ominously to vast flocks “swooping down from the skies” and devouring either lambs or wader chicks. It’s pure fantasy, and SNH believes it without a shred of scientific proof. It’s time we seriously considered giving equal protection to all natural predators, and put an end to such out-dated prejudices.

        • 22 heclasu
          May 8, 2018 at 8:27 pm

          Perhaps attempt to get all licence applications placed in the public domain before being approved – like planning permission. As an aside, does anyone know anything about Halfhide? Is he a shooter? He certainly seems to dress the part. If this was found to be the case, I would venture that there is a serious conflict of interest there!

          • 23 Iain Gibson
            May 8, 2018 at 10:31 pm

            You could be onto something, heclasu. The language and certain terminologies he uses is strikingly similar to that often heard from the shooting community. If he’s not one of them, he’s certainly been taken in by their propaganda.

      • 25 Gerard
        May 8, 2018 at 10:00 pm

        I wondered about this, is it true or are they getting mixed up with Caracara?

  7. 26 amadan
    May 7, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    1)
    “Science is partly about rigorous scientific studies but its also the knowledge of people who work on the land on a day to day basis, and what they’re telling us…” Very basic misunderstanding of science by a public body.

    Maybe the Met Office should include what people reckon the temperature is, rather than just using their standardised weather stations. Maybe LIGO should retract their findings, because my mate Dave has never felt a gravitational wave.

    No. There’s a reason we carry out science: human perception and intuition are fallible.

    2)
    When we set off down the road of removing native predators of red-listed species, rather than conserving their habitat (who here has driven down Strathbraan lately and seen farmers blocking their field drains?), we move into a totally different paradigm of conservation – one where everything is predator (baddies) or prey (goodies).

    Crucially, waders do not have a bright future in that paradigm. Our invertebrates are of considerably worse conservation status than our birds (which is why – mediated by habitat – we have so few waders), and waders are devastating predators of invertebrates. We need to move beyond the land manager’s fairytale-inspired yearning for a wholly vegetarian Scottish fauna, and work on restoring our wrecked land for the benefit of ALL nature.

    • 27 Secret Squirrel
      May 7, 2018 at 5:23 pm

      Anyone who has studied wildlife will know that the three threats are lack of food, habitat and predation, in that order. If waders are declining it is far more likely that food or habitat loses are to blame. Witness House Sparrows, their decline is in line with us turning our houses into hermetically sealed boxes. Same for Swifts.

  8. 28 Dylanben
    May 7, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Are you sure that this is for real and not a spoof? If it is genuine then SNH must be so deep in the hole that they can’t see out. Noted in particular is the bit about it being their role to ‘bring everyone together’ – like the RSPB and SRG for example! Unbelievable stuff.

    • 29 Mike
      May 7, 2018 at 5:34 pm

      Yes, read it that way too. It is just way over the top and too far fetched to be taken seriously – ex cept it is deadly serious!

  9. 30 Ken Brown
    May 7, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    There is only one cull that will help wildlife near grouse moors and that is a cull of badly behaved gamekeepers (so, about 99% of them)

    [Ed: To be clear, before we’re accused of inciting murder (yes, that’s how desperate the game-shooting industry has become), we assume a cull in this case refers to a cull of jobs, not of actual people!]

    • 31 heclasu
      May 7, 2018 at 8:25 pm

      What a great idea! Let’s have a ‘cull’ of gamekeepers jobs over the next ten years or so – to see what happens!

      • 32 crypticmirror
        May 7, 2018 at 9:42 pm

        Can we not have a “cull” of grouse moors as they get nationalised and turned into actual natural national parks, and then we can retrain the gamekeepers as rangers and wildlife tour guides to enable them to not only stay employed but to boost the numbers working in the sector seeing as wildlife tourism needs more staff than a keeper or two and some beaters on casual labour. Sure, the ex-keepers wouldn’t get that thrill of vicarious power and would have to be nice to the public instead of threatening them, but their jobs would be more secure and no longer rely on illegals acts.

  10. May 7, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Ok so having carried out 2-3 years of baseline study(aye right), they have concluded…
    ” There are good populations there at the moment, we wanna make sure they remain good and they export birds out in the future. ”
    So he is saying ….. THERE IS NO PROBLEM!

    I suppose all will become clearer when they finally release some background data and the detail of the monitoring… if it exists.

  11. May 7, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    There are so many problems with this spin that it is difficult to know where to start but here would be as good as any.
    ‘Ravens, taking 69 out of a population of over 15,000 won’t make a dent.’
    Apart from accidentally forgetting to mention that is is 69 PER YEAR, he later says there is no plan to ‘roll this out’. If they aren’t going to extend this cull then there is no point in doing it. Killing Ravens all over the uplands is obviously what this is all about otherwise why bother, after all they want to ‘save waders’ right. If it is extended all over the uplands then he is bullshitting when he says it won’t make a dent.

    I sincerely hope that the RSPB and the BTO have learnt their lesson putting their name to nonsense like Understanding Predation and the HH Action Plan. They have to wake up to the fact that these guys (grouse lobby which now apparently includes SNH) are totally underhand and manipulate the science to their own agenda. You can’t do deals with them, they have been manipulating all their lives to get where they are, they are experts. Playing nice doesn’t work. The Understanding Predation report brought anecdotal evidence into science and SNH are running with it. ‘Fake Science’ was born in America and is now having offspring in Scotland. Hopefully Cunningham will step in before this gets even more embarrassing.

    • May 8, 2018 at 11:54 am

      Actually he even contradicts himself and admits it will be extended.
      ‘Is there a link that says yep, we’ll carry on with the trial’.
      I have heard better and more coherent answers from Keith Richards in his most drug hazed interviews.

  12. 36 John Cantelo
    May 7, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    I don’t know Nick Halfhide’s academic background but even I, a Social Science/History graduate, know that “the knowledge of people who work on the land on a day to day basis, and what they’re telling us, the evidence they give us” is called anecdote, not science. Then again, those disciplines do help me recognise both bias and poorly designed research proposals when I see them.

  13. 37 Jimmy
    May 7, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    The only conclusion one can come to after hearing that is that the SNH are very much in the pocket of the grouse botherers

  14. 38 Dylanben
    May 7, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    69 this year means that they’re always going to be on 68 with 1 to go!

  15. 39 crypticmirror
    May 7, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    Anglers in Ayrshire are pushing hard hard hard for a cull of water birds and fish eating birds, including some duck species. Culling wildlife is definitely a popular topic right now.

  16. 40 sam old sam old
    May 7, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    SNH,s decision is proving to be very devisive and polarising.

    What a complete PR blunder and questions have to be asked as to their impartiality and ability to carry out there core function appropriately.

    I seem to remember them allowing clam traps to become legal under the general licence without testing them first.

    A very unhealthy pattern is developing which is undoubtedly very damaging to SNH.

    I’m very interested to watch this mess unfold and see just how deep a hole SNH are prepared to go dig before conceding they got this wrong.

    It’s obvious to all they cannot justify their position.

  17. 41 nirofo
    May 7, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Stop the Mass Culling of 300 Ravens in Scotland petition is now well over 125,000 and is still going strong. Surely SNH or someone in the Scottish Parliament will have to react now, if not just what will it take to get them to do the right thing for once.

  18. 42 Jennie sainsbury
    May 8, 2018 at 12:23 am

    can’t you just let nature take its course and stop the human intervention we are not God and nature would be a lot better if you just left it to it’s own devices. all the problems nature has now is because of us.as for shooting Ravens as a trial is a bit like Hitler and the Jews. time to wake up .

  19. 43 Michael Watts
    May 8, 2018 at 11:15 am

    I would like to make a correction to my ‘Reply’, it should read ‘statistics’.

  20. 44 david
    May 8, 2018 at 11:47 am

    I couldn’t believe he actually said:
    ‘these habitats are intertwined and that’s where the lapwing and curlew are strong at the moment and we want to keep it that way’

  21. 45 Les Wallace
    May 8, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    This was shocking Nick Halfhide could have been speaking for GWCT as others have pointed out. The reference to ‘Understanding Predation’ made my stomach churn, how can anyone take it or now Nick Halfhide seriously?

  22. 46 Gerard
    May 8, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    God forbid a few of the calories entering the system, not being converted directly to cash.

  23. 47 SOG
    May 9, 2018 at 8:56 am

    It’s good to know that SNH and the ordinary folk of Strathbraan are concerned about wader numbers. The recent Brit Wildlife Mag has an article (April ’18, 273 – ) on modern farming and its effects, including those on bird numbers. One would hope SNH will take note of this, and ask the Strathbraan farmers to moderate some of their activities. Along with reducing the affects of land management for Driven Grouse Shooting, of course.

  24. 48 Roderick Leslie
    May 15, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Actually, we already know the results of a trial cull of gamekeepers – Hen Harrier returned to the Scottish mainland after the gamekeepers went off to war in 1914, and tragically many never returned.

    If there is any certainty in all this it is that were keepering removed from grouse moors most of the issues addressed by RPUK would disappear over night. I’d estimate it would take little more than a decade for England’s Hen harriers to bounce back.

  25. 49 Dougoutcanoe
    June 6, 2018 at 11:46 am

    I have written to Roseanna:

    Roseanna,

    It is a well known fact that the grouse moor management do not want corvids or raptors that may eat their precious gun fodder. Add to this the killing of mammalian predators that gamekeepers eradicate and we have a sterile, unnatural, destroyed environment. On top of this the grouse moor management, destroy habitat, invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals with their burning programme and draining of bogs.

    The grouse moor management seem to be able to break the laws by killing protected species with impunity. Many cases have failed because of a weak judicial system where clever barristers and weak or cooperative judges have made conclusive evidence inadmissible. Is money speaking here instead of justice?

    The SNH issue of a licence to kill ravens without solid scientific evidence but they are complying to here-say from vested interests. Then giving the excuse that it is to protect “waders”. Who are they trying to kid?

    Killing ravens to see what happens is not scientific or founded in reliable testing. A reduction of grouse moor ownership would be our best chance of restoring a natural habitat.

    Nick Halfhide (or should he be called halfwit?) seems to have fallen for the here-say from the grouse moor management and his interview on BBC Radio Scotland is appalling.

    Or is the SNH that have succumb to the power of money and are happy with the excuse of protecting waders with no scientific evidence to back it up. I have heard the here-say from gamekeepers and farmers and anything that in their mind set that has passed down from less informed times becomes “FACT”.

    The kowtowing to the whims of an industry that is still in the Victorian attitudes to raptors, corvids and predatory mammals is not the role of the SNH.

    Stop money and old wives tales, taking over the SNH and destroying our natural heritage, it is ours to thrive, not the grouse moor management to destroy.

    ————————————————————–

    I will report any response to you.

    Doug


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