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Scottish Government announces significant action in fight against raptor persecution

Today is an historic one in the fight against illegal raptor persecution in Scotland. This is the day that the Scottish Government has finally agreed to take bold, innovative action against a criminal sector of society that has got away with so much for so long. This afternoon, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Roseanna Cunningham, […]
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Gift of Grouse issues statement on game shoot licensing proposals

As you know, last week the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee voted to recommend that the Scottish Government undertakes further exploration for the introduction of a licensing system for driven grouse moors (see here). The game-shooting industry responded with a joint statement that included a set of proposals for ‘reform’ – none of which included licensing […]
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Letter from Environment Committee Convener to Cabinet Secretary re: game shoot licensing

Last week the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee voted in the majority to write to the Environment Secretary recommending a Government-led exploration, with stakeholders, in to the implementation of a licensing regime for game bird shooting (here). The Environment Committee’s Convener, Graeme Dey MSP, has wasted no time in getting on with it as the following […]
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Buzzard found shot dead in Yorkshire Dales National Park

North Yorkshire Police are appealing for information following the discovery of a dead buzzard. It was found by a farmer in a field off Hawthorns Lane, Gordale, near Malham in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. An x-ray revealed a shotgun pellet lodged in the bird’s head. Police appeal for information here The Grough website is […]
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Peregrine found shot in Ninfield, East Sussex

Press statement from Sussex Police, 25 May 2017: A protected peregrine falcon has been found shot in Ninfield, East Sussex, sparking an investigation by police and the RSPB. The bird – a female – was discovered alive but injured by woods at Lunsford Cross on 10 May, and staff from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance […]
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More suspected wildlife crimes on Raeshaw Estate: SNH revokes individual licence

As many of you will know, Raeshaw Estate in the Scottish Borders was one of the first in Scotland to be subjected to a General Licence Restriction Order, issued in 2015, based on clear police evidence that wildlife crimes had been committed although there was insufficient evidence to prosecute any individual (see here). The estate […]
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Conservationists issue joint statement on game shoot licensing proposals

Following the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee’s recent decision to recommend a Government-led inquiry in to the feasibility of a licensing system for game bird shooting (see here), a consortium of conservation organisations has now issued a response statement: WILDLIFE GROUPS CALL FOR PARTNERSHIP WITH SHOOTING COMMUNITY OVER LICENSING OF GAMEBIRD HUNTING Wildlife conservation organisations are […]
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GWCT wants ‘raptor management’ as part of game shoot licensing proposals

In the run up to the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee meeting last Tuesday to discuss options for progressing the petition to introduce a game shoot licensing scheme, several organisations from the game shooting industry submitted some last minute ‘evidence’ for consideration. Calling it ‘evidence’ is a bit of a stretch but anyway, we blogged about […]
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Shot peregrine successfully rehabilitated & returned to wild

In March we blogged about the discovery of a shot peregrine that had been found in Hampshire (see here). This was a bird that had hatched from a nest ledge on Salisbury Cathedral in 2014. Following the shooting in March, the peregrine, ‘Peter’, was taken to the Hawk Conservancy Trust near Andover where he began […]
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Richard Lochhead MSP to meet Environment Secretary today to discuss wildlife crime

Richard Lochhead MSP, who represents the SNP in Morayshire, continues to impress. Last night, he posted the following on his Facebook page: Richard Lochhead MSP will meet with Roseanna Cunningham tomorrow to discuss the need for more to be done to catch those who commit wildlife crime. Mr Lochhead’s meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for […]
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Two buzzards shot in separate incidents in West Sussex

An article in the West Sussex County Times is reporting is reporting the illegal shooting of a buzzard in West Sussex last week. The buzzard was found critically injured on Wednesday 17th May 2017 by two girls walking their dog in a field near Balcombe railway station. The buzzard was taken to the Rangers Lodge […]
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Game-shooting industry issues joint statement on licensing proposals

Following this morning’s fantastic news that the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee has voted to recommend further exploration of a licensing system for driven grouse shooting, the game-shooting industry has issued a joint statement: “We are disappointed that the committee voted narrowly in favour of a course of action which includes examining the possibility of a […]
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Environment Committee brings licensing for driven grouse shooting one step closer

It’s not often we can report good news on this blog but today is one of those rare occasions. This morning the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee considered various options for progressing the Scottish Raptor Study Group’s petition calling for the introduction of a licensing scheme for game bird hunting. In short, the Committee has agreed […]
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Environment Committee meeting this morning

The Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee will meet this morning to discuss the petition calling for the introduction of licensing for game bird shooting. The meeting begins at 10.15am and can be watched live on Scottish Parliament TV here A video archive and a full transcript will be posted later.
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Licensing: game shooting industry’s last ditch plea to maintain status quo

As many of you will know, tomorrow the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee will continue to consider the Scottish Raptor Study Group’s petition calling for the introduction of state-regulated licensing for game bird hunting. The Committee has been advised by the clerk of three potential options it may choose to pursue (see here). In response to […]
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Alleged buzzard poisoning Edradynate Estate: Crown rejects police plea to prosecute

In recent weeks the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service (the Scottish equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service) has abandoned three prosecutions for alleged raptor persecution: the shooting of a hen harrier on the Cabrach Estate (here), the setting of a pole trap on the Brewlands Estate (here) and the vicarious liability of a landowner […]
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Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association spits the dummy

According to an article in today’s Sunday Herald, the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association (SGA) has thrown a hissy fit and is refusing to attend meetings of the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW) because the SGA ‘doesn’t trust’ wildlife campaigners. Apparently the SGA hasn’t left PAW, but will not attend any more meetings until methods […]
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Environment Committee seeks clarity from prosecutors on use of video evidence

Following recent decisions by the Crown Office to abandon two prosecution cases for alleged raptor persecution because of so-called ‘inadmissible’ video evidence (see here and here), the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee has today written to the Crown Office to ask for clarity. Here is the letter from the Environment Committee to the Crown Office: We […]
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Game shoot licensing petition: Environment Committee to decide next steps

The Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee will meet next Tuesday to discuss how they wish to proceed with the Scottish Raptor Study Group’s petition calling for state-regulated licensing of game bird shooting. As you’ll recall, the Committee took evidence from a range of stakeholders last month (see here for our commentary) so now they have to […]
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Dear Cabinet Secretary

Dear Cabinet Secretary, For many years now, the Scottish Government has acknowledged that illegal raptor persecution is an issue that not only affects the distribution and abundance of several internationally protected raptor species, but that it also casts a long shadow over the environmental credentials of a country that attracts millions of visitors every year […]
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More on the shot hen harrier near Leadhills

RSPB Scotland has issued a press statement following this morning’s news that a hen harrier was shot near Leadhills on 4 May 2017: Following the issuing of a press statement by Police Scotland, RSPB Scotland has today added its voice to the appeal for information following the shooting of a protected hen harrier on a […]
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Suspected peregrine nest robbery: NWCU appeals for info one year on

The National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) and Cheshire Police are appealing for information about a suspected peregrine nest robbery in May 2016. The following press release was posted on the NWCU website yesterday: Peregrine falcons have regularly nested on property owned by Railtrack at Dutton Viaduct in Cheshire.  However, nesting attempts have failed for 9 […]
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Buzzard shot & injured in Yorkshire Dales National Park

Cumbria Police are appealing for information following the discovery of an injured buzzard in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, according to ITV news. The bird was found on 3rd May in Cowgill, Dentdale and was taken to Kendal College Animal Rescue Centre where an x-ray revealed it had been shot. There are no further details. […]
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Buzzard shot in Harewood, West Yorkshire suffers “massive trauma”

West Yorkshire Police are appealing for information after the discovery of a shot buzzard that has suffered “massive trauma”, according to an article in the Yorkshire Post. Police believe the bird was shot between 1st and 6th May in the area around Harewood Avenue, Harewood. It was found by staff from Harewood Speed Hillclimb, and […]
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Buzzard found with shotgun injuries in Norton, North Yorkshire

A critically injured buzzard has been found near Malton, North Yorkshire and is now in the care of specialist raptor rehabilitator Jean Thorpe. The adult female bird was found “down, shocked and injured” on Beverley Road, Norton on 9 May 2017. She has severe lacerations to her head and feet, believed to have been caused […]
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Brewlands Estate gamekeeper ‘cries with laughter’ at discontinued prosecution

Following this morning’s publication of an RSPB video showing footage of an alleged gamekeeper setting then re-setting an illegal pole trap on the Brewlands Estate in July 2015, which has been deemed ‘inadmissible evidence’ by the Crown Office (see here), we’ve been interested to see the response from the gamekeeping community. Bert Burnett (an apparently […]
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Brewlands Estate “inadmissible” pole trapping video released

A week after RSPB Scotland published the “inadmissible” video evidence of a hen harrier being shot on Cabrach Estate in Moray (see here), this morning they have released another video from another case that prosecutors decided to drop without explanation. This case concerned gamekeeper Craig Graham, who was accused of allegedly setting and re-setting an […]
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Cabrach hen harrier shooting reaches First Minister’s Question Time

Today at First Minister’s Question Time, Richard Lochhead MSP (Moray, SNP) asked the following question: The First Minister may be aware that there is huge disappointment and some shock following the decision by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service after a prolonged police investigation—and I am told, nine separate court hearings—to drop the case […]
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No further General Licence restrictions in pipeline because Police Scotland sitting on evidence

The ability for SNH to impose a General Licence restriction order on land where there is evidence of raptor persecution taking place came in to force on 1 January 2014. This measure, based on a civil burden of proof, was introduced by then Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse in response to the continuing difficulties of meeting […]
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Sparrowhawk shot dead in North Yorkshire: police appeal for info

North Yorkshire’s shameful catalogue of raptor killing crimes just got a bit longer. North Yorkshire Police are appealing for information after the discovery of a shot sparrowhawk at Feldom, Richmond. The bird is believed to have been shot some time during the last week of April in the area of High Waitgate, close to the […]
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Head of National Wildlife Crime Unit still talking about ‘rogue’ gamekeepers

We’ve been sent some fascinating correspondence from one of our blog readers. Following the news in February 2017 of the ‘non suspicious’ death of a tagged goshawk on the royal Sandringham Estate in Norfolk (see here), a blog reader wrote to Norfolk Constabulary as follows: “I write in reference to the Mail on Sunday’s coverage […]
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Some more thoughts on the shot hen harrier video

Three days on and our anger has not subsided. If anything, it’s grown. The more we’ve watched that video, and the more we’ve tried to comprehend the reasoning behind the Crown’s decision to drop all criminal proceedings, and the more we’ve contemplated the injustice and wider implications of the Crown’s decision to drop all criminal […]
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Hen harrier shooting: fury at decision to drop prosecution

Two weeks ago, the public prosecutors in Scotland (Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service) decided to discontinue criminal proceedings against a (now former) gamekeeper who was alleged to have shot a hen harrier on a grouse moor at Cabrach Estate in June 2013 (see here). No explanation was given for this decision. Earlier this morning, […]
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Hen harrier shooting on Cabrach Estate: RSPB releases video footage

Two weeks ago we blogged about the Crown Office dropping all proceedings against a gamekeeper who was alleged to have shot a hen harrier on the Cabrach Estate in June 2013. At the time, the Crown Office did not offer any explanation for their decision to discontinue the case (see here). Today, RSPB Scotland has […]
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Three dead peregrines in Forest of Dean

In March 2017, news emerged of two dead peregrine falcons that had been found dead near the Devil’s Pulpit in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. We didn’t blog about these birds as we were waiting for the Police to publish the findings of a post mortem examination. We are still awaiting those results. However, yesterday […]
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Crowdfunder target extended to help Andy Wightman fight defamation case

Two weeks ago we blogged about a new crowdfunding initiative that had been set up to help Andy Wightman fight accusations of alleged defamation (see here). The response to his fundraiser was quite remarkable. Andy’s initial fundraising target was set at £10k, and this target was met within hours. Given the clear swell of public […]
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