We often hear from the grouse-shooting crowd about the economic value of their ‘sport’, and they use this argument a lot to justify their demands to be allowed to kill protected raptors. What they don’t seem to understand is (a) the general public’s fondness for our magnificent birds of prey and (b) what a financial trick they’re missing by not buying in to this public interest and providing raptor-viewing facilities and associated activities.
A new report has just revealed how the economic benefits delivered by the Isle of Mull’s white-tailed eagle project has tripled in just five years. These eagles bring in at least £5 million to the local economy every year, up from £1.4 million in 2005, according to an independent study by the Progressive Partnership. In addition, tourism generated by the birds supports the equivalent of 110 full-time jobs. The calculations were based on a survey of more than 1,200 people who visited the island in 2010. Almost a quarter of them said the eagles were an important factor in them choosing Mull as a destination.
The Scottish government has estimated that wildlife tourism is now worth £276 million per year to the country’s economy, supporting 2,763 jobs in the sector.
Interesting. Do you think these wildlife tourists would be happier to visit Scottish estates where raptors have been found poisoned, or Scottish estates known to be proactively involved with raptor conservation?
BBC news story here