SGA statement re: illegal traps found on Invercauld Estate

sgalogorevisedFollowing the news that illegally-set spring traps were found on a grouse moor on Invercauld Estate in the Cairngorms National Park (see here), the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association has issued a statement.

Are you ready for this?

A Spokesman for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said: “This is the first we, as an organisation, have heard about this so we will take time to make the appropriate inquiries. The SGA is an organisation which advocates best practice and condemns wildlife crime.”
Not exactly an unequivocal condemnation of this wildlife crime, is it? This case is a little bit awkward for the SGA, given their close ties to Invercauld Estate (SGA Vice Chair Peter Fraser worked on Invercauld Estate for 43 years).
Perhaps, like Invercauld Estate, the SGA is going to deny this crime ever happened, a bit like they did when they ‘investigated’ another disgusting wildlife crime (here is the crime, here is the SGA’s response) and another disgusting wildlife crime (here is the crime, here is the SGA’s response).
Or perhaps this time they will admit the crime happened but will suggest that the ‘evidence was planted’, a bit like SGA Vice Chairman Peter Fraser did in this interview when asked about the discovery of three poisoned buzzards and a poisoned raven that were found on Invercauld Estate in 2005 (no prosecutions, natch).
And talking of the SGA condemning wildlife crime, we’re still waiting for a statement from them about the conviction of Scottish gamekeeper William (Billy) Dick, successfully prosecuted for killing a buzzard on the Newlands Estate by throwing rocks at it and then repeatedly stamping on it (see here). At the time of Dick’s conviction, the SGA refused to comment until Dick’s appeal had been heard. As you know, Dick’s appeal was rejected a week ago and his conviction still stands (see here), so where’s the SGA’s condemnation of this gamekeeper’s crimes and where’s the information about Dick’s SGA membership status? Was he an SGA member? Is he still an SGA member?
The SGA’s commitment to condemning and tackling wildlife crime doesn’t look at all convincing, does it? And if it doesn’t look convincing to us, how does it look to the SGA’s membership? Will they think their great leaders are standing strong against illegal raptor persecution and doing all they can to apply peer pressure to eliminate it? On the above evidence, that’s unlikely.
More on the Invercauld Estate case to come….

12 thoughts on “SGA statement re: illegal traps found on Invercauld Estate”

  1. Is it possible from various data sources to work out the number if grouse moors in UK (or by country) and the location of all bird crime. Thus can get an estimate of proportion/% of grouse moors that have had a crime committed/ incident recorded. Might help dispel this notion of a few rotten apples. Maybe this type of analysis has been done?

    Great work as always R

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Not sure that a reliable estimate could be had as a lot of wildlife crime goes unrecorded on certain areas or the police may be complicit by their inaction or outright involvement. For example, the Forest of Bowland wildlife officers have not arrested anyone for wildlife crime (except a couple of ‘poaching’ incidents) between January 2014 and April 2016 (FOI information). Yet Hen Harriers and Peregrines have not nested in the area at all this year and there is a history of persecution.

      Meanwhile tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers money is being spent on a 3 week crown court trial for 5 people who may have allegedly ‘thought about’ damaging a few snares on Bowland shooting estates.

      The only way to get any kind of realistic picture of wildlife persecution on grouse moors is for people to constantly monitor and record everything, then expose what’s happening.

  2. I noticed an error in your account of the interview with Peter Fraser from Invercauld Estate, dated 11 May 2011. A slip of the keyboard on your part, but I was surprised the opposition didn’t leap on it at the time: “Government scientists have predicted that there should be 500 pairs of hen harriers on the UK’s grouse moors – there are actually only five.”

      1. Apart from the fact that you’re now qualifying the statement by adding the word “successful,” there must have been far more than five successful pairs in Scotland. In the Clyde area alone despite the breeding population having crashed that year, RSG monitoring recorded eight breeding pairs, six of which were successful, fledging 26 young. About half were on driven grouse moors. I don’t have the Scottish Raptor Monitoring Report to hand, but I know that there were more in Ayrshire, Arran and other western isles. Argyll alone had 60 breeding attempts, with 31 successful pairs fledging 97 young! Okay, most of these were not on driven grouse moors. Similarly on Orkney, where 23 successful nests reared 64 chicks. I was assuming the error had been referring to five pairs in England, not the whole UK. However I accept that you were referring only to driven grouse moors, so the 2008 paper is reasonably but not wholly accurate.

  3. Does anyone know if this information gets to reach the Scottish Government. Surely if Nicola Sturgeon wants Scotland to remain in the EU she should make a start in getting moor owners to stop breaking EU and UK law.

  4. The odd thing is that Bert Burnett seemed to have his finger on the pulse as soon as the statement came out?

    From what he was saying and his tone, it almost sounded like an old friend had let him down…..

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