Raven cull: a few updates

It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve blogged and a number of people have expressed concern; thanks, but nothing to worry about, just a few personal issues being dealt with.

So, back to business. There have been a few developments on the Strathbraan raven cull licence since we last blogged.

Last Friday (15th June), SNH finally released its delayed response to the FoIs submitted in April, providing some background detail to the decision behind the raven cull licence. The documents can be accessed here.

It makes for a very interesting read, detailing at least some of the internal SNH correspondence about the licence application dating back to June 2017, and reveals staff concerns about the scientific evidence in support of the licence, the robustness of the scientific monitoring proposed for the duration of the cull, the issue of trust given the history of illegal raptor persecution in the cull area, and the issue of some agricultural practices (potentially illegal) in the area that could be impacting on wader populations. There were also concerns that information about the licence application may be leaked by this blog – gosh, heaven forbid that the activities of a public body might be subject to public scrutiny, despite SNH’s claims of a ‘commitment to high standards of openess and transparency’!

We don’t intend to comment further on these documents at this stage so as not to prejudice the Scottish Raptor Study Group’s intention to launch a legal challenge in the form of a judicial review.

And on the subject of the legal challenge, work has continued apace behind the scenes with the collation of evidence and a QC has now been instructed. The SRSG awaits his formal advice about various technicalities (that have little to do with the actual challenge but more to do with legal procedure) before deciding how best to proceed with an application for judicial review.

The crowdfunder set up to help pay for this legal advice and costs is doing very well, currently standing at over £17k. The initital target of £10k (required for lawyers to be instructed) was smashed on the first day and there are now two weeks remaining to reach the stretch target of £25k. Thanks to the 746 people who have donated so generously to this appeal; the response has been fantastic.

If you’d like to make a contribution to the crowdfunder please CLICK HERE

In other fundraising news the ever-creative @YoloBirder has designed some fantastic t-shirts and other merchandise and all sales profits will be put towards the crowdfunder. What a star! We’ll blog with details of how to order these as soon as the information is available (imminently).

Meanwhile, in England there is news that Natural England has, or will be (it’s not quite clear which) issued licences to cull ravens in several counties. The details of the scale of these culls are scant but there are two useful blogs to read on this subject: Dr Rob Sheldon’s blog (here) and RSPB Martin Harper’s blog (here). We understand enquries are being made of Natural England to clarify some details.


9 Responses to “Raven cull: a few updates”

  1. 1 Ann
    June 19, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    The idea of a raven cull is disgusting
    Wasn’t that long ago there numbers were low. Now if this goes ahead. They will go down again what right do humans think they have to cull everything.

  2. June 19, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    ” If you tolerate this……. then your Ravens will be next …… ” with thanks to Manic Street Preachers …..

    Keep up the pressure !

  3. June 19, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    More money will be donated when the next pension payment is in the bank.

    I have spent the last two days trying to unpick the e-mail chains… lots of chat, lots of descent and some folk strangely determined to issue the licence….

    Would it be helpful to have comments by email rather than in the public domain?

  4. 4 lizzybusy
    June 19, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Methods of control include sound recordings as a lure and semi-automatic weapons and the usual multiple bird catching cage traps.  You’d think with those methods killing 69 Ravens would be a quick job not needing from 4 April to 31December to complete!

    • 5 Iain Gibson
      June 27, 2018 at 12:03 am

      lizzybusy, sorry to contact you through RPUK as I can’t verify your email address, but I’ve received a suspicious private email purporting to be from yourself. I’m wary about opening it or replying, so would appreciate your confirmation of its authenticity. Please email or PM me.

  5. 6 Petra Schumacher
    June 20, 2018 at 9:39 am


  6. 7 Petra Schumacher
    June 20, 2018 at 9:42 am


  7. 8 James Thomson
    June 20, 2018 at 11:35 am

    I have just noticed on the ganekeeping facebook site the are advertising for jobs under the title of Shepard /gamekeeper. I think they are doing this so the one man can be a gamekeeper but also apply for the right to control predators as a shepard. What do you think?

  8. 9 Alick Simmons
    June 26, 2018 at 9:32 am

    A useful update, thank you. I have received a formal response to my 2nd letter to Mr Cantlay. SNH treated this as a complaint (which it was!) . The response is short on detail but at least, unlike the 1st letter, attempts to cover the points I raised and includes links to the papers that have been released under FoI. I believe there s nothing to be gained by following up on this as all of the points that concern me are covered in the JR, to which I have contributed. Good luck. We are behind you.

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