Conservationists are deeply concerned about the safety of birds of prey, particularly on grouse moors, during the Coronavirus lockdown as many nest sites will be unmonitored for the first time in almost two decades.
In an article on The Ferret website yesterday Scottish Raptor Study Group (SRSG) communications secretary Logan Steele is quoted:
“SRSG is very concerned about the probable increase in incidents of raptor persecution during the lockdown. In particular on driven grouse moors, gamekeepers will be under less scrutiny from raptor workers and recreational visitors and so will effectively have a free hand.
The two species most at risk are hen harriers and golden eagles which are perceived to pose the greatest risk to grouse stocks and are routinely shot, trapped or poisoned“.
[Two golden eagle chicks at a Scottish nest site. Photo by Dan Kitwood]
The RSPB is also concerned. Head of Species and Land, Duncan Orr-Ewing said:
“Raptor persecution has continued unabated with numerous well-publicised cases of shootings, illegal trap use and other crimes both north and south of the border despite the driven grouse shooting industry being under intense scrutiny – particularly in Scotland where the government has just published the findings of a three year review of grouse moor management.
We don’t believe that under the current circumstances of significantly reduced public access to our uplands, anyone is naive enough to think that wildlife criminals won’t be making the most of this opportunity to kill any species they perceive to be a threat, with a minimal chance of their crimes being witnessed or detected“.
The full article can be read here: http://theferret.scot/birds-of-prey-monitoring-coronavirus/