According to Tim (Kim) Baynes, Director of landowners’ lobby group Scottish Land & Estates, there is “very little evidence” of ongoing raptor persecution in Scotland.
It’s a bare-faced denial that Baynes and his grouse shooting pals have been making for years e.g. see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Deny everything, carry on and hope that nobody checks the actual facts, eh?
This most recent denial came in a podcast for Living Planet, a programme on the German International English Language Service, of all places! The seven minute programme also features Ian Thomson (RSPB Scotland) and Logan Steele (Scottish Raptor Study Group) talking about satellite-tagged golden eagles that suddenly ‘vanish’ from Scottish grouse moors and how last year the tag of one of those missing eagles was found with cut straps, wrapped in lead sheeting (to block the tag’s signal) and dumped in a river (see here); a clear indication of the lengths the eagle-killers will go to cover up their crimes.
[Golden eagle photo by Getty]
As well as denying the extent of ongoing raptor persecution, Baynes was asked about grouse moor licensing, due to be introduced by the Scottish Government because, er, last year Ministers accepted the indisputable evidence of ongoing raptor persecution on some driven grouse moors.
Here’s what he said:
“There needs to be a balanced approach to it, so if you have too many birds of prey there has to be some mechanism for managing them, to keep them in balance with the prey species. And that’s what we’re asking Government to address“.
Now, some might argue that this is not anything we need worry about because the probability of having “too many” (whatever that means) birds of prey on some driven grouse moors seems quite unlikely given the long-term absence of breeding species like hen harrier, golden eagle and peregrine on many of these moors, as a direct result of on-going persecution.
However, having seen how DEFRA and Natural England define a ‘high density’ population (two hen harrier nests within 10km of one another!) for the purposes of the insane hen harrier brood meddling trial, and knowing that Scottish Land & Estates has expressed an interest in having a hen harrier brood meddling scheme in Scotland (more on that shortly), we should all be alert to the very high probability that grouse shooting reps will be lobbying the Scottish Government hard when consultations open for views on what the grouse moor licensing scheme should look like.
To listen to the short podcast click here