Further to this morning’s blog about RSPB Scotland’s damning response to SNH’s General Licence consultation (see here), we said we’d write a separate blog about some of the other responses that SNH received.
SNH has now published all the responses, and they’re well worth a read: all-responses-to-snh-general-licence-consultation-2016
There are many organisations and individuals calling for ravens to be added to the General Licences (no surprise) and, yet again, there are a number of requests for buzzards and sparrowhawks to also be added, which would allow these species to be casually killed across Scotland without any monitoring or regulation, although some have suggested these raptors should be on ‘regional’ General Licences to limit the casual killing to a particular area. How thoughtful.
One of the reasons given for adding ravens and buzzards to the General Licences was this: “There are arguably too many of them around and they cloud the skies in our local area“.
Here’s a photograph of some ravens and buzzards clouding the skies:
Actually, this is a photograph (by Richard Barnes) of Dunlin flocking on the coast of North America but it could just as easily be a plague of swarming raptors over a Scottish grouse moor, if you happen to be a pathological raptor hater stuck with an 18th century attitude, that is.
Take a look at the consultation response from Garry MacLennan. Surely not the same Garry MacLennan, Head Gamekeeper at Invermark Estate? Aren’t raptors supposed to be ‘thriving’ there? Perhaps the headline should have read ‘Raptors are thriving on Scottish grouse moors and we want licences to kill them’.
Also have a look at the responses from Iain Hepburn (the same Iain Hepburn as the head gamekeeper at Dunmaglass Estate?), Duncan Mackenzie and Calum Kippen (the same Corrybrough Estate gamekeepers who attended the recent meeting between the Cairngorms National Park Authority & the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association?). Aren’t these the gamekeepers who want licences to monitor and ring raptors? Don’t they see a bit of a conflict of interest there if they also want licences to kill these raptors?
Best of all though, is the response from Bert Burnett (presumably of the SGA). Bert suggests that ravens should be added to the General Licences and argues that regional general licences “could be rolled out for various species that may start to cause problems like sea eagles and kites etc“. Ah yes, that very serious problem of sea eagles mistaking small children for prey.
Of course, these calls for licences to cull raptors are nothing new. Scottish (and English) gamekeepers and land owners have been asking for these for 20 years (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here). So far, SNH has resisted but given Natural England’s recent capitulation on buzzard-killing licences, how much longer before we see the same in Scotland?