The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (SOC) has joined the voices rising against raptor persecution in Scotland. In a significant move, the President of the SOC has written to Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse about the continuing levels of crime against raptors, despite all the ‘new measures’ designed to combat the killing, and has asked him to consider introducing further measures to regulate the game-shooting industry. Read his letter here. Why is this significant? Well, the SOC is a long-established organisation, well known and respected for its long-term bird monitoring activities and publications and for keeping its own counsel. It is not an organisation known for political campaigning on conservation policies.
The catalyst for change? The same catalyst that triggered similar recent moves by the RSPB, various MSPs, the Scottish Raptor Study Group, and hundreds of members of the public who wrote to the Minister over the Xmas period – the illegal poisoning of golden eagle Fearnan, found dead on a grouse moor in December. But not just the death of Fearnan – the SOC has recognised the other persecution incidents recorded during 2013, referring to them as ‘the catalogue of appalling wildlife crimes against birds of prey’. Indeed.
Last week we said we’d be blogging about the Minister’s response to all these calls for stronger action – that blog is coming shortly….