It is often said that gamekeepers only persecute raptors because they are acting upon the orders of their employer, and fear losing their job and often a tied cottage if they refuse. Here is an example of an estate manager who refused.
Ian Thomas (42) had worked on the Fordie Estate near Comrie, Perthshire for 15 years, when the estate was bought by former banker Lord Anthony Tryon (former husband of Lady ‘Kanga’ Tryon). During an inspection of his newly-acquired grouse moor, Lord Tryon allegedly became irritated at finding piles of grouse feathers indicating kills by birds of prey. According to Ian Thomas, Lord Tryon allegedly said, “Eagles have no place on my grouse moor” and “I have bought an estate and I will do what I like”.
Thomas claims that he was instructed by Lord Tryon to shoot a golden eagle and use illegal poisons to rid the estate of other raptors. Thomas refused and reported him to the authorities, saying he felt “morally obliged” to blow the whistle. Thomas claimed he was constructively dismissed after being branded a trouble-maker by Tryon and took his claim to an employment tribunal.
To avoid giving evidence in court, Tryon made an undisclosed settlement to his former estate manager in 2004.
The Fordie Estate was bought from Lord Tryon in 2009 and is now owned by designer luggage tycoon, Luis Vuitton. The Fordie Estate is one of eight estates in Perthshire who have joined the Countrywatch Partnership, working to protect three key raptor species in the area (golden eagle, hen harrier and peregrine).
Thomas has gone on to establish his own forestry consultancy business. Here is a man with whom it’s worth doing business.